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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

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Are you sure?

Another parody for you, AJ, I think.

Excuse me while I puke!!!!!


Please continue the campaign to undue this guy, who, while appearing to beat the drum for the consumers, is really only trying to cut into the profit margins of dealers to line his own pockets at the expense of sales people trying to provide for their families via 6+ day weeks, dealing with tire kickers with no credit, and grinders who will trade loyalty for $100.00. His arrogance is appalling. Perhaps when he discusses transparency he would offer his financial statements. 

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!

Damn straight, Alpha Dawg!

In Scott's own video he says that the data for the TrueCar pricing model comes from several sources and he lists them.  At just 27 seconds into the video he lists the dealers DMS.  Those are his unedited words, I think I will believe those.

George, perhaps he is using a clintonism

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....”

I noticed he keeps pointing out that you only pay for the lead if it only produces a sale, I don't think that anybody has ever had a problem with that, that part of the program is great for the dealers.  The problem is the pricing component of his operation, he keeps saying it is not a race to the bottom, but when you have to be one of three lowest priced dealers to even show up, what do you think will happen in our ultra competitive market place?  And once you can't go any lower then people start kinking the system.  Has anybody else noticed he keeps sidestepping this issue?


Yep, he sidestepped it in the call I had with him.  Sorry folks have to endure the intro 3min of confusion.  I was allowed to record it but not to edit it.

Mr Painter,
As a former ZAG fan and one who personally brought ZAG into at least 4 prior dealerships I ask you a simple question. Using your own model, I currently have MTD 63 leads from 3rd party lead provider A at a cost of $1102.50 and have closed 8 of them for a per lead amount of $137.81. From 3rd party lead provider B I have 36 for a cost of $612 and closed 5, so thats $122.40 each, again by your practices. My question is this, at an average of $130.10 per closed lead why do you rape car dealers for $299 for your leads while portraying yourself to consumers as the savior of the car buyer and pandering to the beliefs that car dealer are bad and you will disclose all the secret profits they dont want everyone to know about? It seems that the difference between the actual market average of $130.10 and your (unlicensed broker fee) cost of $299 is QUITE some profit margain when compared to even the % of profit in the window sticker of most automobiles.
So Scott, would you sell your leads for $130 per? Oh wait, you dont have a brokers license and charging a finders fee for an individual transaction would be illegal.... nevermind.

I love how he continues speaking to us like we are petulant children who need to get on board or we will be left behind.  Here's a newsflash - WE HAVE BEEN TRANSPARENT FOR A LONG TIME.  Customers can get the invoice price and an accurate price quote on any car, from any dealer, without leaving their home.  We are one of the most transparent industries in the country.  What's the markup on an iPad?  Ask someone in the Apple store to see an invoice.  I get a kick out of a software guy telling the auto industry that we aren't transparent.  What are the margins in the software industry? What other industry besides automotive do people invest millions of dollars for single digit margins?  Prior to the car business I worked in real estate development and developers expect and demand returns of 35-40% or a project is not worth doing. We have become so transparent that we have actually convinced ourselves and our salespeople that we don't deserve to make a profit and they don't deserve a decent commission selling a $30,000 vehicle. 


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