Back to Basics – Writing vehicle descriptions

After reading literally 1000’s of vehicle display descriptions on automotive classified sites Trader and Kijiji, it is apparent to me the art of writing comments is dead.  At the bare minimum, I would expect a dealer to put a little effort on their comments at least on their own dealer website.  During the Auto Re marketing conference in Toronto, Kijiji’s Chris Harris spoke of the importance of vehicle descriptions.  While the majority of the panel were talking about technology and flashy videos, Harris is telling us to go back to basics and write good descriptions.

There was an ad on Kijiji that went super viral after this joker spiced up his 1998 Subaru ad into a work of art with a Chuck Norris Twist.  This ad has been duplicated many times but the original funny guy was from Barrie, ON.  The ad is no longer live but I was able to find the description to share.

1998 Subaru Impreza Wagon
Ad ID 268172820

Date Listed 18-Mar-11
Last Edited 02-Apr-11
Price $2,000.00
Address Ambler Bay, Barrie, ON L4M, Canada
For Sale By Owner
Make Subaru
Model Impreza
Year 1998
Kilometers 183000
Body Type Wagon
Transmission Manual
Colour Green
Drivetrain All-wheel drive (AWD)
Type Used

OK, let me start off by saying this Impreza is only available for purchase by the manliest of men (or women). My friend, if it was possible for a vehicle to sprout chest hair and a five o’clock shadow, this Subaru would look like Tom Selleck. It is just that manly.

It was never intended to drive to the mall so you can pick up that adorable shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch that you had your eye on. It wasn’t meant to transport you to yoga class or Bed Bath and Beyond. No, that’s what your Prius is for. If that’s the kind of car you’re looking for, then just do us all a favor and stop reading right now. This car has been to hell and back, twice, and has the scars to prove it. So if you can’t handle being seen behind the wheel of this biblical, fire breathing, dragon slaying, nazi killing hero because it has a few purple hearts, move on.

This wagon was engineered by 3rd degree ninja pirate super-warriors in the highest mountains of Japan to serve the needs of the man that cheats death on a daily basis. They didn’t even consider superfluous nancy boy amenities like navigation systems (real men don’t get lost), heated leather seats (a real man doesn’t let anything warm his butt), or On Star (real men don’t even know what On Star is).

No, this brute comes with the things us testosterone-fueled super action junkies need. It has a 137 HP engine to outrun the cops and a 5 speed tranmission so you know grandma wont be taking off with it when your not looking. It’s saved my bacon more than once. It’s got special blood/gore resistant upholstery. It even has a first-aid kit in the back. You know what the first aid kit has in it? A pint of whiskey, a stitch-your-own-wound kit and a hunk of leather to bite down on when you’re operating on yourself.

My price on this bad boy is an incredibly low $2000 but I’ll entertain reasonable offers. And by reasonable, I mean don’t walk up and tell me you’ll give me $500 for it. That’s liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Hell yeah. Let’s just say you won’t be the prettiest guy at the Coldplay concert anymore.

There’s only 183 000 km’s on this all-wheel drive hellcat from Planet Kickass. Trust me, it will outlive you and the offspring that will carry your name. It will live on as a monument to your machismo.

Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what you see. If it’s a rugged, no holds barred, super brute he-man macho Chuck Norris stunt double, then reply to this ad. I might be out hang-gliding or BASE jumping or just chilling with my lady, but leave a message and I’ll get back to you. And when I do, we’ll talk about a price over a nice glass of Schmidt while we listen to Johnny Cash.

It passed its last e-test and safety with flying colours but is being sold as-is.

God bless

Now obviously that ad is probably a little over the top for a car dealer.  After reading a thread on DealerRefresh I had found my new favourite author.   Please visit this New York Audi dealers website and you will see each vehicle with a personalized biography.  I would love to see the Analytics on this website. The vehicle display page views must be through the roof because I think I read  this 15 times this morning and here I am in Toronto, Canada.

Audi A6

So everyone who’s anyone at Audi is at the New York Auto Show. Mr. Barry, our esteemed dealer principal was invited to the Auto Show in Manhattan to receive his Magna Society Award as one of the top 50 Audi Dealers in the country. Well any half normal person would be delighted to go and get the plague.. the rubber chicken dinner and a toast of cheap champagne. But Mr. Barry says, “If I don’t go… there won’t be any Audi dealers around to bid on cars… they”ll all be busy at Javits Center and I can get first dibs on anything.” Well we think Mr. Barry is a first class jerk for blowing off this honor, but hey we now have a virtually new 2010 factory executive driven A-6 Quattro. Black on Black this is the Premium PLus model with Navigation. With only 17,000 miles, it’s a whale of a deal at $46,995. But now it’s a whale and a half of a deal with Audi Certification at $43,995. So while we all know what Mr. Barry is like, because we have to endure him, we also know that there is a fine line between brilliance and lunacy. This time.. for the first itme, Mr. Barry was on the side of the former. And now to make this even a better deal… the price is $43,995 WITH AUDI CERTIFICATION…

Audi A-6 Avant

We say this A-6 Avant is virtually new… but we’re dealers. Audi says it’s the closest to new… and THEY SHOULD KNOW. Audi reconditioned this A-6 Avant and went through the car with a 300 tooth comb… actually a 300pt . check. The A-6 Avant is the most elegant, luxurious wagon you can buy… but they are as rare as a New York Mets victory… We have an Oyster Gray with unique Amaretto leather, navigation, technology package….. basically everything you could want in a wagon that stickered for North of $58,000. It’s $37,995 with Audi Certification… it’s flawless… …. It’s impossible to find and now because Mr. Paul, our CPO(big Shot)Used Car Manager can win two tickets to a Yankee game, he legitimately wacked the price $2,000 ..yup… $2,000.

I hope this blog post inspired my readers to at least take a stab at writing some creative descriptions.  Maybe one of the guys chugging their third Tim Hortons double double while having a smoke out back could spare a few minutes to pitch in.

If you find any great examples of vehicle descriptions please leave them in the comment box below.

Do not forget to enter your email address below.  I only send you content that will help your business grow.  Receive special deals and exclusive content not available on the blog.


Ryan Thompson



General Manager at Ernie Dean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Alliston, ON. Sharing with you everything I can about the car business.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

12 thoughts on “Back to Basics – Writing vehicle descriptions

  1. Ryan, thanks for this post. It’s all about having a personality and letting the customer see it. In the UK we’re even starchier than you guys. Where’s the fun, where’s the humour; you’ve got to make a difference and most can’t be bothered or they’re too thick to write English (Canadian).

    It’s the same with video. When we do an install of our live video presentation service, we always look for personalities who we know are going to get it and do it justice. They’re few and far between.

    Great post, thanks for sharing

  2. @Andrew – It would be great if you could share some links of dealers in the U.K. that are doing this description thing right.

  3. Ryan, thanks for this post. It’s all about having a personality and letting the customer see it. In the UK we’re even starchier than you guys.

  4. This is absolutely hilarious. Definitely going to give more effort into creative description writing thanks to this post….

Comments are closed.