Yes, Those Are Real Cars Poking Out Of This Dumpster

Car dealerships are always looking for the next great way to get potential customers to look in their direction and think about maybe buying a shiny new car. They employ balloons, air dancers, signs: anything that might catch the eye of someone driving by. One way to get some attention is to toss some cars in a dumpster. That’s what Pacific Nissan in San Diego did, and the promotion is working out for them.

Reader Ashi in San Diego spotted a striking display outside of a local Nissan dealership and had to stop and take a picture. “Only in America do we throw cars in the trash,” he observed. Is that what the display is meant to say? Where did this thing come from? Are those cars even real? We had to find out.


First, we had to track down the dealership where this was. Ashi identified the dealership as Mossy Nissan, and so did Redditors when a photo of the same display was posted to /r/mildlyinteresting, a popular subreddit, a few months ago. It’s not. We used the street signs visible in the photo to track down the identity of the dealership. The display is at Pacific Nissan, not Mossy. VP of Marketing Andrew Hagstrom cleared up some things about the car dumpster for us.

“We were trying to think of a way to get some eyeballs on us and and attract attention,” he says. The dealership is on a strip surrounded by other car dealerships, and Mossy dominates the Nissan market in that area. They aren’t the first dealership to ever put together a display like this, but they did make it themselves. The cars, Hagstrom says, are real cars that were traded in but that didn’t pass safety inspections and wouldn’t sell for much at auction. The team removed the oil, water, and other fluids so they wouldn’t leak when the cars were turned sideways. For the record, the cars in the dumpster aren’t old Nissans.

The display is meant to get attention, and to make people think about trading their old cars in (if not necessarily tossing them in the trash.) “We’ve had people ask about it, and ask if they can have the cars in it,” Hagstrom told Consumerist. You know, because they’re just throwing them out anyway.

The display will probably stay out there for another few months. They will probably not give you the cars when its run is complete.

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