The way people communicate today…has changed, especially when texting. It’s almost a
new language: “TTFN” “IMHO” “SMH” “AFAIK.” We may pretend we understand, but secretly we’re making a mental note to look up those abbreviations later. All those capital letters, numbers and abbreviations— it makes one long for the days of handwritten correspondence when we actually took the time to spell out words.
Little is more confusing than acronyms. You know what an acronym is, right? That would be an abbreviation formed from the first letter of other words and pronounced as a word, as in OMVIC [ohhm-vic] the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council—not to be confused with an initialism—an abbreviation consisting of the first letter of other words, but pronounced separately as in MTO, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.
Sitting down to speak with a car salesperson or dealer can also present linguistic challenges, especially when certain abbreviations, initialisms and acronyms are bandied around without explanation. PDI? SR5? LDS? Is the salesperson talking about trim levels or fees? In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s ‘Talk Turkey’ about some of the most commonly used vehicle sales related initialisms and acronyms.
APR – (initialism): Annual Percentage Rate. The yearly cost of a loan expressed as a percent, includes any finance fees.
CAMVAP – (acronym): Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan. CAMVAP is a program that allows disputes between consumers and vehicle manufacturers to be resolved through binding arbitration. This is the place you contact if you think your vehicle has a manufacturing defect—provided it meets certain eligibility requirements. For more information, visit their website: CAMVAP
CPA – (initialism): the Consumer Protection Act. These are your rights and protections available to you as a consumer in Ontario. OMVIC enforces the CPA on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
F & I – (abbreviation): Finance and Insurance. A dealer’s F & I staff usually handle credit applications and sell additional products and services, for example extended warranty, rust proofing etc.
IDS – (initialism): Initial Disclosure Statement, a statement required by the CPA that must be given to a consumer when the dealer has agreed to assist the consumer with financing arrangements.
LDS – (initialism): Lease Disclosure Statement. Required by the CPA; it must be given to a person leasing a vehicle before the lease is entered into or any money paid.
MSRP – (initialism): Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. This is the price, excluding fees that the manufacturer suggests that the dealer should ask for a car.
MVDA – (initialism): Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. This is the legislation governing motor vehicle dealers and salespeople. OMVIC enforces the MVDA for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.
PDI – (initialism): Pre-Delivery Inspection. Before a vehicle is ready for a customer to take delivery, a Pre Delivery Inspection must be performed on the vehicle, ensuring that it is in perfect condition.
SSC – (initialism) Safety Standards Certificate: This is issued when a used vehicle has been inspected by a licensed facility and meets the minimal safety standards set the Ministry of Transportation.
UVIP – (acronym) Used Vehicle Information Package: This is a report that includes the description of the vehicle, names of previous owners and a list of liens (in Ontario only) against the car. Private sellers MUST provide a UVIP to a buyer; dealers do not have to provide UVIPs.
VIN – (acronym) Vehicle Identification Number: A unique 17-digit code assigned to all vehicles in North America. VINs are used to register the vehicle, search for liens or research the vehicle’s history.
Dealers and salespeople may use abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms because they’re used to it. It’s the language of the car dealer and not because they’re intentionally trying to confuse. However, if a salesperson is using any terms you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation! In other words, TYT.