Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

An Open Letter to the Automotive Industry from Scott Painter, Found...

Our world is changing. Unprecedented access to information and a massive shift in consumer behavior has resulted in a challenging new automotive retail landscape. It has also enabled a consumer appetite for data transparency. To hide from evolving consumer behavior is to deny change. At TrueCar, we embrace this opportunity. We also believe that transparency is the centerpiece of trusting relationships. Some in the industry disagree. We would like to make our position clear.

Our goal at TrueCar is to foster healthier relationships between manufacturers, dealers and consumers through data transparency. To deliver on this promise, we require a high standard from our 5,800 dealer partners – an upfront competitive price and a commitment to a great customer experience. A discoverable upfront price is the cost of getting noticed. Contrary to popular concerns this does not create a “race to the bottom.” The lowest price only secures the sale 19.2% of the time within the TrueCar network. The sale is still won by location, selection and good old-fashioned customer service.

At TrueCar, we believe that upfront price is at the core of a good buying experience for dealer and consumer. Informed consumers buy more confidently and are more satisfied. At TrueCar, we publish the most accurate reflection of the retail market that has ever been available. The goal is to establish an objective, credible and transparent baseline for fairness – both for the customer and the dealer. That being said, TrueCar does not set this market. Our dealer partners set their own prices 100% of the time.

Dealers earn their business every day and we believe that their marketing programs should too. TrueCar is the only fully accountable source of new business where our dealer partners only pay when they sell a car. Gone are the days when dealers have to assume all of the marketing risk and pay for advertising and for leads as a primary way to secure new customers.

TrueCar requires DMS integration for tracking of this accountable model, the core of what makes us unique. We use DMS feeds from our dealer partners for tracking and optimization of introductions made to the dealership. We don’t use our dealer partners’ information to populate the TrueCar pricing curve. That information comes from entirely separate sources of anonymized data that represent nearly 90% of all vehicle transactions in the U.S.

At TrueCar, data integrity, security and privacy are job #1. Our policies, systems and technology have passed the scrutiny of partners like USAA, Consumer Reports, American Express, AAA and many others. TrueCar has never, and will never, sell or repurpose DMS data for any reason.

In spite of all this, we recognize that change is threatening for some. Ours will always be a high-touch industry. The service of our dealer partners and highly-trained sales professionals becomes increasingly important the more consumers know. At TrueCar, our commitment is to relieve those professionals from needing to resort to high-pressure sales tactics or misdirection. These tactics have been an albatross for our industry and they are at the heart of why consumers have become generally mistrustful of the car shopping experience in the first place.

Is TrueCar good for all dealers? There will always be those that resist change. To our dealer partners, we applaud your understanding that truth, transparency, and customer service is at the center of success in our changing market. And, to those that still have questions, we invite an open dialogue. One of the great virtues of transparency is that we have nothing to hide.

Scott Painter


Tags: Automotive, Founder-CEO, Inc., Industry, Message, Painter, Scott, TrueCar, from, of

Views: 2627

Reply to This

Replies to This ADM Discussion

Additional content relevant to the TrueCar discussion can be viewed at:


Sounds like more bullcrap... and double -talk from a man who says whatever he needs to say to whatever group of people he's speaking to. Painter is a master of saying whatever appeals to the audience he's targeting. 

This guy and his company are crashing hard ... we're bringing him down and he knows it. You can smell it in the air.  Don't suck up now... There are several bloggers and  suck ups that have sold out...don't do it!

Click to view this email in a browser

Please add as a safe sender to ensure you receive FADA emails.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Attention All FADA Dealer Members

Important Information related to dealers and their use of True Car/ZAG

From: Ted L. Smith, CAE, President  (DD) 850-224-2580

True Car/ZAG is definitely in the news across the country and you should take immediate steps to educate yourself fully on all of the legal and business issues involved in your contract with this vendor.

Most states are focusing on the potential or alleged violations of their state advertising laws and laws concerning brokerage or “bird dog” fees.  Please remember that under Florida law you as the licensee are responsible for any violations with respect displaying and advertising vehicles.  (F.S. 320.27(9)(b)3 -  Misrepresentation or false, deceptive, or misleading statements with regard to the sale or financing of motor vehicles which any motor vehicle dealer has, or causes to have, advertised, printed, displayed, published, distributed, broadcast, televised, or made in any manner with regard to the sale or financing of motor vehicles.)

As important are the issues surrounding the collection of data from a dealer’s DMS system and the issues involving privacy and security of that data.

With so many issues being discussed and the potential for concerns we would urge you to contact your attorney to discuss your options and the impact of Florida law on your dealership’s advertising practices associated with this or any other vendor that you employ to display pricing scenarios.

Florida law requires that the advertised price include dealer pre-delivery service charges and it appears that the True Car web pricing excludes these charges and adds them later on the pricing page.  The Attorney General’s office has not yet, to our knowledge, ruled on whether this methodology is a violation of S.501.976 of Florida statutes.

The states of Kansas and Colorado have issued warnings to dealers about per se violations of brokering and advertising laws.

Please be aware that there are legal issues of privacy, data use and ownership, as well as data access, when you allow an unrelated third party to access your DMS system.

You should pay specific attention to what information is being mined from your DMS system and how that data is being used and/or controlled. Does your new Privacy statement take this sharing into account?   If you are an open portal for data mining, you may also find yourself drawn into a complaint about data misuse.  You must decide for your store(s) whether it is a good idea to give any vendor or business partner access to your DMS.

CLICK HERE to access Florida Advertising Guidelines (login required)

FADA is pleased to provide the advertising guidelines (not all inclusive) to FADA dealers as a means of assisting you as you place advertisements in paper formats and in electronic sources throughout the state and on the Internet.

The regulatory authority for dealer advertising in Florida is the Office of the Florida Attorney General and various others, such as municipal governments that may have local ordinances governing dealer ads.  Our industry has some specific statutes (Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act  – FDUTPA) and a body of opinions from the AG’s office and localities to guide our practices.


For more information on FADA, visit or contact FADA, 400 N. Meridian Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301. This email may contain an advertisement of FADA services. Any opinions or statements contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of FADA. Questions, comments, or corrections for this content may be directed to

Cockroaches always run when you shine a light on them... I don't know the answer BUT "what is worth more right now...TrueCar Stock or toilet paper?"

Toilet paper may prove more useful?

Should we assume that this is the start of that open dialogue?  Other than a few rants by Charles Kim and others, the dialogue has been absent.  Let me start our dialogue with a simple question - if you are not fostering a race to the bottom as you claim, why do you only show the top three lowest priced dealers?  Why not show all of the dealers on the program within a certain geographic distance that the customer can either contract or expand based on where they would like to shop?  By only showing the three lowest prices, you guarantee that dealers are going to cannibalize each other to be in those three top positions.

If TrueCar was to put a rule into place that dealers could not set prices below invoice, wouldn't that solve all the issues?  We canceled because we were competing against dealers that were pricing Toyotas $1,000 under invoice. It just didn't make sense to for us to sell a Toyota for $1,000 under and then pay a $300 fee to do so. What's wrong with giving the customer a fair price, at invoice or invoice plus, and then having the dealers compete on service, location, selection, and value creation?

Your suggestion would be well received by a company like Truecar if their "true" goal was something less than the race to the bottom.  The problem for Truecar is that if there was a reasonable bottom placed on the pricing it would be considered price fixing and there would be Anti trust issues.  Aside from that sticking point, there's the fact that if their model didn't create the lowest prices in the market for their customers it wouldn't have enough benefit for the average customer to warrant using them versus the other information that's already available.

They claim the lowest price doesn't always get the deal in the propaganda they put out.  I'd say what they don't share is that this is likely the result of having fewer dealers in a market willing got deal with them and the lowest price dealer being hundreds of miles away.  

I don't fault Painter for being a good pitch guy.  the Ire should be directed toward the dealers that are participating and helping the guy further cripple a department that all too often is already in red ink.

This is a parody, I think.



Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

William B. Terry
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

Please Consider Automotive Marketing Professional Community Sponsors

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......



ADM Professional Services
Phone Consultation
Topic or Issue:

Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

1. BDC or Virtual BDC

Posted by Peter Stratton on February 26, 2020

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2020   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service