This article is for you if you are new to the automotive industry and getting your feet wet with the terminology! Whether you’re deciphering acronyms for GMC, exploring the abbreviation for Toyota, or diving into an automotive abbreviations list, you’re in the right place.

Auto Acronyms and Car Dealer Terminology

Automotive terms and abbreviations are everywhere in the industry, from auto auction abbreviations to OEM acronyms. It’s enough to make anyone feel lost and confused. Below are the top five automotive acronyms commonly used in the Automotive industry:

  1. DMS or Dealer Management System: A database system, the backbone of a dealership, includes everything from accounting dealer acronym options to dealer advertising meaning and more. The DMS system integrates with the dealer’s CRM, Parts, and Service Department, Accounting, Sales, Inventory, etc. The DMS is one of the most challenging systems to change or set up in a Dealership.
  2. IMS or Inventory Management System: A dealership’s IMS, an essential inventory acronym, and DMS work hand-in-hand. The IMS allows communication on inventory Allocation, production, and shipment from the OEM.
  3. OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer: This one, typically encapsulated in OEM acronym business, may be the most essential term out of the entire list of automotive terminology – this is the brand! Toyota, Honda, GMC, Ford, Acura – the list goes on. If you don’t remember any other acronym, remember this one.
  4. VDP or Vehicle Description Page: VDP, a key term in VDP marketing, refers to the specific page on your site that provides specific details about that vehicle. Because each car comes with a Vin and Stock number, each vehicle needs its descriptive page.
  5. VRP/SRP or Vehicle Search Results Page: Much like a search result in Google, a dealership website also has Vehicle results pages listing multiple vehicles depending on your inquiry. Updating these pages to ensure the most relative information is displayed to entice customers to click and learn more about a specific vehicle.

Automotive Digital Marketing Acronyms

Now let’s explore key marketing acronyms, from the definition of car sales abbreviations to understanding the depth of car dealership terminology, all designed to aid in your automotive success online:

  1. CPC or Cost-Per-Click: Describes the variable cost it takes to generate a click. For example, Google Adwords is the bid cost for a given keyword or campaign. These metrics are valuable to measure and understand any paid advertising to calculate ROI.
  2. CTA or Call to Action: The ultimate action you wish your customer to take. These actions can be any number of activities such as a phone call, lead form submissions, or signing up for a newsletter. CTA’s help to create Conversions.
  3. Conv. or Conversion: A conversion occurs when a visitor to your website completes a desired goal, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. The percentage of total visitors that convert is called your conversion rate. You will see this metric pop up throughout digital marketing, no matter what industry.
  4. CTR or Click-Through Rate: is the rate of traffic clicking on a link from a digital ad to your website. You can calculate this rate by taking the number of clicks divided by impressions helps you know if your ads or content are compelling enough to make your customer want to learn more.
  5. KPI or Key Performance Indicators: KPIs are measured through your website’s Google Analytics. They let you know what is working by showing you what drives traffic to your website. Once these indicators have been identified, you can focus your attention (and budget) on those specific keywords, collateral, artwork, or ads that are working well.
  6. SEO or Search Engine Optimization: SEO consists of multiple ongoing efforts to get your site a better listing on Google’s search results pages through adding content and backlinks to your website.
  7. ROI – Return on Investment: this is a KPI measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of your marketing efforts or compare the efficiency of several different marketing avenues. ROI tries to directly measure the return on a particular investment relative to the investment’s cost.
  8. PPC – Pay-Per-Click: sometimes referred to as SEM, Search Engine Marketing, or Paid advertising, Is the bid network on a search engine like Google. These ads are at the top of most search results pages and use an auction-like bidding strategy to determine who gets listed and in what order for that specific keyword or keyword Term. Paid advertising can also include Youtube and Display network.

Digital Marketing KPIs for Car Dealers

The list provided is merely the beginning. Click below to dive deeper into our extensive compilation of digital marketing KPIs and supercharge your insights!

Now that we’ve covered the top auto acronyms and automotive abbreviations, it’s time to shift gears and focus on the automotive industry acronyms that define the uniqueness of various manufacturers, also known as OEMs. Every single OEM auto acronym represents the technologically advanced and the identity of its brand.

BMW logo


OEM-Specific Acronyms


  • DSC (Dynamic Stability Control): A safety feature that enhances vehicle stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction.
  • VANOS (Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung or Variable Camshaft Timing): Improves engine performance by adjusting the timing of the camshaft.

Ford Acronym List

  • EcoBoost: A term that represents turbocharged direct injection technology for improved efficiency and power.
  • SYNC: Ford’s integrated in-car connectivity system allows users to make calls, control music, and much more through voice commands.

GM and GMC Acronyms

  • OnStar: An in-vehicle safety and security system designed to provide emergency services, vehicle diagnostics, and more.
  • MagneRide: A suspension technology utilizing magnetic fluids to adjust the suspension’s damping rates for a smoother ride.

Honda Acronyms List

  • VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control): A system that adjusts the timing of the valve lift for optimal engine performance.
  • i-VTEC (Intelligent VTEC): Combines VTEC with Variable Timing Control (VTC) for even greater efficiency and power.

Toyota Acronyms List

  • VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence): Enhances performance and fuel efficiency by altering the timing of the valve lift.
  • TRD (Toyota Racing Development): Represents Toyota’s performance tuning division, which develops high-performance OEM parts.

Mercedes-Benz Car Brand Acronyms

  • 4MATIC: Mercedes-Benz’s all-wheel-drive system providing increased traction and handling.
  • AMG: The performance division of Mercedes-Benz, known for high-performance luxury cars.

Volkswagen Car Brand Acronym List

  • TSI (Turbocharged Stratified Injection): A technology that combines turbocharging with direct injection for higher power output and lower fuel consumption.
  • DSG (Direct-Shift Gearbox): A type of dual-clutch automatic gearbox that provides fast and smooth gear changes.

The Hidden Meanings Behind Car Acronyms

Understanding what these acronyms stand for goes beyond merely understanding the technical abilities of these automotive giants; it also brings an understanding of the innovative approach that these brands embody. For instance, the VDP meaning (Vehicle Description Page) and SRP acronym (Search Results Page) become even more relevant when considering the depth of creativity and detail in each vehicle. When exploring a car’s VDP, you might appreciate the VDP meaning-marketing strategy behind highlighting features like Ford’s EcoBoost or Honda’s VTEC system.

An automotive abbreviation can extend beyond an OEM’s innovations. For example, car sales acronyms play a significant role in the dealership experience, influencing everything from customer conversations to marketing materials. Understanding terms like BDC (Business Development Center) is crucial for anyone in the automotive sector, emphasizing the importance of customer relationship management in driving sales.

As you explore car acronyms and abbreviations, you see that these terms are not just shorthand for complex technologies or concepts but symbols of progress and identity.

Appreciating the full spectrum of automotive acronyms, from OEM acronym details to the significance behind car maker acronyms, we equip ourselves with the knowledge to navigate the automotive industry more effectively. Whether you’re discussing car dealership terminology or exploring acronyms for Honda, each term provides a little more depth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Automotive Acronyms and Abbreviations

What does VDP mean in automotive terms?

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is VPD?” It stands for Vehicle Description Page. A VPD is a dedicated webpage for a specific vehicle in a dealership’s inventory, including detailed information such as specifications, features, photos, and pricing. This page plays a crucial role in the online car buying process, offering potential buyers a comprehensive overview of the vehicle.

What does ABC mean in a car?

In automotive terms, ABC usually refers to Active Body Control, a suspension system technology used by certain car manufacturers. This system minimizes body roll, pitch, and squat during driving maneuvers, enhancing ride comfort and vehicle stability.

What is the significance of the IMS acronym in the automotive industry?

IMS stands for Inventory Management System. It’s a crucial tool for dealerships, enabling them to track and manage their vehicle inventory efficiently. An effective IMS ensures that dealers have the right mix of vehicles on hand to meet customer demand while preventing overstock or shortages.

What does the dealer acronym DMS represent?

DMS stands for Dealer Management System. It’s a comprehensive software platform used by automotive dealerships to manage their operations, including sales, finance, parts, inventory, and customer relationships. A DMS helps dealerships streamline their processes, improve efficiency, and enhance customer service.

What does dealer accounting acronym stand for?

In the context of automotive dealerships, a dealer accounting acronym could refer to specific terms used in dealership accounting and finance operations, such as COS (Cost of Sale) or LIFO (Last In, First Out). However, the dealer acronym might vary depending on the dealership’s specific accounting practices and software.

Dash lights on a car.

Comprehensive General Car Acronyms List

While no list of vehicle acronyms could cover every possible vehicle acronym or abbreviation, here are the ones you are most likely to encounter:

  • AB: Air Bleed
  • ABDC: After Bottom Dead Center
  • ABS: Anti-lock Brake System
  • AC: Alternating Current
  • ACC: Adaptive Cruise Control
  • ACCV: Air Conditioning Control Valve
  • ACL: Air Cleaner
  • ACM: Airbag Control Module
  • A/C: Air Conditioning
  • ACT: Air Charge Temperature
  • ADB: Automatic Differential Braking
  • AFS: Adaptive Front-lighting System
  • AGM: Absorbed Glass Mat (battery type)
  • AHC: Active Height Control
  • AHS: Active Handling System
  • A/T: Automatic Transmission
  • AWD: All-Wheel Drive
  • BHP: Brake Horsepower
  • CAN: Controller Area Network
  • CCS: Climate Control System
  • CDI: Capacitor Discharge Ignition
  • CFI: Central Fuel Injection
  • CVT: Continuously Variable Transmission
  • DAB: Digital Audio Broadcasting
  • DI: Direct Injection
  • DME: Digital Motor Electronics
  • DOHC: Dual Overhead Camshaft
  • DPF: Diesel Particulate Filter
  • DRL: Daytime Running Lights
  • DSG: Direct-Shift Gearbox
  • DTC: Diagnostic Trouble Code
  • EBD: Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • ECM: Engine Control Module
  • EDC: Electronic Damper Control
  • EFI: Electronic Fuel Injection
  • EGT: Exhaust Gas Temperature
  • EGR: Exhaust Gas Recirculation
  • EMI: Electromagnetic Interference
  • EPS: Electric Power Steering
  • ESC: Electronic Stability Control
  • ETC: Electronic Throttle Control
  • EV: Electric Vehicle
  • FWD: Front-Wheel Drive
  • GPS: Global Positioning System
  • HID: High-Intensity Discharge (lights)
  • HVAC: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • ICE: Internal Combustion Engine
  • IFS: Independent Front Suspension
  • IMRC: Intake Manifold Runner Control
  • IP: Instrument Panel
  • IRS: Independent Rear Suspension
  • LSD: Limited Slip Differential
  • MFI: Multiport Fuel Injection
  • MPG: Miles Per Gallon
  • OBD: On-Board Diagnostics
  • OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • PAS: Power Assisted Steering
  • PCV: Positive Crankcase Ventilation
  • PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • RPM: Revolutions Per Minute
  • SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers
  • SRS: Supplemental Restraint System
  • SUV: Sport Utility Vehicle
  • TCS: Traction Control System
  • TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • TURBO: Turbocharger
  • VIN: Vehicle Identification Number
  • VVT: Variable Valve Timing
  • 4WD: Four-Wheel Drive
Woman at car dealership

Car Dealership Acronyms List

Imagine being a fly on the wall in any car dealership nationwide. It might sound like the service techs, sales team, and management are speaking an entirely made-up language. In some ways, they are. Every dealership develops its own car acronyms list to quickly and succinctly talk about their business. Everything seems to get a dealer acronym: accounting, software, parts, and beyond. While many dealerships use the same terminology, you’ll find that the Ford acronyms list varies wildly from the abbreviations used in a GMC dealership.

That being said, here are the most common dealership acronyms you may encounter:

General Dealership Acronyms

  • APR: Annual Percentage Rate
  • BDC: Business Development Center
  • BHP: Brake Horsepower
  • CPO: Certified Pre-Owned
  • CRM: Customer Relationship Management
  • CSI: Consumer Satisfaction Index
  • DMS: Dealer Management System
  • F&I: Finance and Insurance
  • MSRP: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
  • OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • PDI: Pre-Delivery Inspection
  • RWD: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • VIN: Vehicle Identification Number

Sales and Financing Acronyms

ACV: Actual Cash Value
  • ALG: Automotive Lease Guide
  • CapEx: Capital Expenditures
  • LTV: Loan to Value
  • NADA: National Automobile Dealers Association
  • OTD: Out The Door (total price)
  • PTI: Payment to Income Ratio
  • RTO: Rent to Own
  • Service Department Acronyms

    • ASE: Automotive Service Excellence
    • CPS: Customer Pay Service
    • RO: Repair Order
    • TSB: Technical Service Bulletin
    • WIP: Work In Progress

    The More You Know

    From dealership management systems to basic information about a vehicle’s specs, people in and out of the auto industry will run across an acronym for car terms they’ve never heard before. That’s because the language is constantly evolving to keep up with the advances in the industry.

    Understanding the many automotive abbreviations and acronyms helps create better communication while providing a deeper look at industry trends. Keeping up with the industry means keeping up with its terminology. If you hear or run across a term you’ve never seen before, take the time to look it up and understand it.

    Level Up with Dealer Authority

    Whether you are versed in automotive industry acronyms or just learning your first abbreviation for automotive options, being aggressive with your dealership’s digital marketing is essential to achieving monthly sales success. Please know that being aggressive doesn’t always mean spending more, but being fully educated on what is and isn’t working for your dealership in the digital space and aligning your budget to those KPIs leads to higher returns.

    If your dealership has been looking for a digital partner, consider Dealer Authority. Our team holds an average of 11 years in the automotive industry and takes great pride in building custom digital strategies for our clients to provide them with a competitive edge in their market. Let us help you and your marketing team, from digital newbies to marketing masterminds. Let us handle the terminology so you can focus on running a successful dealership.