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Edmunds Launches Another "Price Transparency" Solution for Car Dealers

In a presentation to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit on Tuesday June 4th, Edmunds.com unveiled its new "Price Promise" program, which responds to the #1 unmet need of car shoppers:  getting an actual price for a car. Price Promise delivers an instant locked-in price that the dealer will honor.

More details are included in the release below, and the Edmunds team encourages you to give Price Promise a try at http://www.edmunds.com/price-promise.html

If you have any questions about Price Promise or any of Edmunds.com's products and services, please contact Aaron, Jeanine or Stephanie any time at pr@edmunds.com or 310-309-4900.

EDMUNDS PRESS RELEASE:

Edmunds.com Resolves Biggest Unmet Need of Car Shoppers, Announces New “Price Promise” Program


SANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 5, 2013 — Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information, today presented to the Automotive Press Association its new Price PromiseSM program, which is designed to give shoppers a convenient and reliable way to know exactlywhat price they'll pay at the dealership.

 

“According to our research, which included talking with over 10,000 car shoppers, the biggest unmet need of car shoppers has been getting an actual price for a car. Edmunds.com's Price Promise resolves that issue by offering an instant, locked-in price that the dealer will honor,” stated Edmunds.com President and Chief Operating Officer Seth Berkowitz in his presentation to Detroit-based media.

 

Berkowitz went on to explain that a car shopper who is interested in a car listed on the Edmunds.com Web site can instantly receive the dealer’s guaranteed price for that car by simply entering three basic pieces of information: name, phone number and email address.

 

“This is about a feel-good car shopper experience. It’s about high satisfaction, no stress – making things smoother at the dealership for both shopper and salesperson,” said Berkowitz.

 

Dealers who participated in the Price Promise pilot earlier this year reported impressive engagement among car shoppers. They also noted that these consumers seemed more interested in saving time in the process than getting the rock-bottom price, unlike consumers who request multiple price quotes.

 

“Since signing up for the Edmunds Price Promise program I have received 10 times the number of [inventory] prospects and have closed them twice as often as other prospects,” noted Michael Bailey, E-Commerce Director at Portland, Oregon’s Town & Country Auto Group.

 

Edmunds.com plans to roll out a national television advertising campaign in the fourth quarter of this year to raise further awareness of the program.

Car buyers and dealers can learn more about Price Promise at http://www.edmunds.com/price-promise.html.

About Edmunds.com, Inc. 
Edmunds.com is a car-shopping Web site committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you’re at the dealership or on the go, we’re always by your side with our acclaimed Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We’re based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.

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Tags: Edmunds, Price Promise, Price Quotes, car dealer, car sales, dealer website, pricing

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Is it just me or does this seem like a fantastic way to market something absolutely unimaginative and slightly offensive to both consumer...and dealer?

Who are we kidding with the statement "Price Promise delivers an instant locked-in price that the dealer will honor." This sentence reads to me like: "Hey customer...the dealer may bump the price if it doesn't say 'price promise' next to it. To me it comes across like the CarFax commercials telling consumers to 'show me the CarFax' because it basically makes every dealer who isn't on 'Price Promise' appear to be willing to do something funny with the numbers.

Do people honestly have a problem with seeing the price published online and then going in and having the price be higher? Of course not. Most folks see the price, then go in and ask for a discount anyway right don't they.

As for the statement "“Since signing up for the Edmunds Price Promise program I have received 10 times the number of [inventory] prospects..."

Obviously if you're one of the dealers in the Pilot program and you have 'Price Promise' and the other dealers around you do not have it you will get more leads. It's common sense. If there are 20 dealers that all look the same and there is one with a big thing that says: "SPECIAL" the SPECIAL dealer will get more leads...duh. Look below...which one would you click on?


When you publish a price online, that is the price. If you discount it, that's your call because you're the dealer right?

It's a Gimmick, and it works, but my OPINION is that it works at the detriment to every dealer who ISN'T paying for price promise.

That's my 2¢ :)

Doesn't this feel like a giant step backward?   I just don't get it.   Dealerships pay for the vehicle, pay to have them photographed, pay for the feed and then stop right there and go it's too hard for us to take final step and market online?  While every other small or much smaller business can do it.

 You are so right Matt, it's Cars.Com meets CarFax.   Where is the upside to the dealerships in this ?   It's not passing the smell test, but I need to see the entire program.  How are dealers loading the pricing in the Edmunds back end?  What factors are weighted the most in the algorithm to determine which dealership gets the lead.   Where is the compete point between competitors with price promise?  I'll get in on one their presentations and let you know.

From what I see so far it looks like TrueCar certificates without any of the corporate buying programs behind it.  We need to hear so much more. 

  

Mathew -

I agree this is another way for the automotive marketing companies to have to be creative is making good on the promise of being at the "top of their page"  Another Gimmick that requires the dealer to PAY for them to get listed at the top...

Lets HOPE that dealers will finally realize that all these companies are doing are taking our MONEY and our INVENTORY that we have the hard money invested in and sticking it to the DEALER.

ONce everyone is signed up as a PREMIER dealer then not everyone can be at the top of the page.

Take your Money - Re-Invest in your community, employees and customers. That is how you will get Loyal Customers that REFER people to you......

In My Opinion - someone looking for the CHEAPEST price doesn't want to be loyal to anyone.

Dealers - Sales Staff - Service PRofessionals are about building relationships.

The banks tried all of this years ago - although technology is good to stay with  and helps offer the opportunity for their customers to do business with them easier and more convenient -

They have also realized people want to talk to people -

If the consumer knew where all these automotive companies shared their information - they would be as upset as the dealer is when an interested customer views their VDP and because they are not Price PRomise dealers it goes to a competitor.

Just one's opinion.

I hear you Christi. I dont hate them for their prisogram but it takes some commom sense on the part of dealers.

Automotive ckassifieds wont ever go away but it can be done with a more reasonable price point for dealers and less Gimmicks right?

Everyone who knows me also knows that my company is launching an automotive classified site but we are doing things that none of the other sites offer and we are doing it for $699/ Mo instead of $6000 / MO.

The Edmunds pp will work until the market has over 50% of the dealers on it because it will no longer feel "special"
Matt
Exactly the summary That is simple.
Eventually none of the dealers will be special
First in reaps and the followers are just part of the many other fish in the sea.

Just take care of your customers they will feel special and then call you when looking for a vehicle not search the web

Basics basics basics.

We don't sell a product that is easily obtained and or the right fit without relationships and human interaction
U said it girl!
Why can't we all just sell for sticker? I mean isn't "sticker just quicker"? LOL

There are positives and negatives to this. The importance is how to use it positively. The buyer has changed in their habits. We need to also.
Manny that video is funny. Stan, we so need to change our thinking in some areas but PP isn't really a product for change or thought leadership is it?

Again, nothing wrong with it, but it's simply Edmunds version of the "special offers" button and it doesn't do anything better for the consumer. Whats so special about not being able to ask for adiscount?

Good commentary, but every dealer I know who is on the TrueCar program is telling me that it is both profitable and the business generated incremental, that is, above and beyond what they normally see... I have a dealer client who just signed up for the Edmunds lead program, including the Price Promise feature. Over the next few months, I will let you know if they sell more cars because of it.

But, there is something else going on that I want to comment on and hopefully get some feedback... The issues regarding inventory data feeds and online pricing are VERY OLD ISSUES. They are not newsworthy in that these issues with vendors have existed for over a decade, yet there seems to be a lot of grandstanding and soap boxing on these matters as if they were something new. Now, if this were being done by people new to the industry, I would suggest they need to get a little more experience marketing and selling cars. However, the loudest and most vocal objections are coming from industry veterans... This bothers me and, in my opinion, adversely effects the perception of objectivity and credibility of those climbing aboard the "Let's beat up on vendors" bus... If you are so offended by these business models then:

1. Why did you NOT speak out ten years ago when it started and you were there?

2. Why have you encouraged dealers to participate in such programs until recently?

I have done plenty of beating up on suppliers in the past, and certainly have done so right here on ADM... And, you will see me doing it again whenever I find something that just ain't right... But it sure seems funny to me that people in the car business who had no problem with data distribution, displaying of a dealer's inventory and showing "Special Offer" pricing online in the past, have now been so quick to join the lynch mob for a supplier hanging...

Am I missing something? Is it OK to be promoting a supplier in one year and then the next year cheer those who want them to be put out of business?

Great questions Ralph and I'll share a few things on my end.

1. regarding Price Promise. I said it on my blog and in a video I did but I do believe it will add business for Dealers. I just think that like every product on the market, something only stays special until everyone has it, then you have to find a new way to be special. I'm not anti-Edmunds, heck, I launched their direct to dealer program in 2010. That said, I think that it's great marketing, not some ground breaking idea. That's not bashing, that's just my opinion.

2. I'm a vendor, so I'm not on a beat up the vendor bus. As far as data sharing, I have said many times in various posts that my concerns are in the area of transparency. Any vendor, my company included, would be doing a disservice to their clients if the client says: "I want to know where you're sending my cars" and the vendor says "Nah, we're not going to provide you with that." In regard to Cars.com, I've said it before and I'll say it again - I do believe that they make the dealer more than the dealer is spending - but personally, I wouldn't spend my money with a company if they won't give me access to my own inventory sharing data. And I believe it's less than honorable to say "we stopped emailing customers with competitor choices" when in actuality, they're feeding the dealer leads from CarGurus (masked as Cars.com leads) and then those consumers are in fact getting emails with competitor vehicles. NOTE: With CarGurus I was told that the consumer will only get those emails if they click the box to opt-in for them. None the less, there are dealers that may not want to let their inventory be used on that site if that's going on.

I personally am not a fan of the CarGurus model, but that doesn't matter because I'm not the one spending the money for it. Some dealers like it. As I said in another post, one of my clients said "I don't mind that it shows me as over market price because I think someone will call and negotiate with me" and if that's something they like then it's up to them where they spend their money. 

I view ADM, dE and AIS as places where Dealer and Vendor alike can share honest opinions. We don't all agree, and that's ok, but each person brings a different perspective to the table. I don't have any people on here that back my events, give me funding for sponsorships or anything of the like so my opinion is purely my own. 

As to the where were you 10 years ago question I can only speak for myself and say that 10 years ago I was working for an Automotive Group here in the midwest. Then I worked for Cars.com, selling the product then training their sales staff and dealers. After that, I worked for Edmunds, launching their product.

When I worked at Cars.com they had a different culture than what I hear from their people these days. Back then when I was a trainer for them we were working to help our reps understand the dealership world because many of them had never worked in the dealership, none of Cars.com senior management had ever worked in a dealership, and myself, Ralph Ebersole and Kathy Kimmel were among the few who had that experience.

Back then, I felt like (again, just my opinion), Cars.com was truly different than the other guys we competed with. I felt like I was part of something new, exciting and something where we were really trying to serve the dealers because at that time, our competition was just charging a lot more and we had the impression that they were the arrogant ones who thought the dealer couldn't live without them.

Now, as I have followed the dialogue, on this site and others, and as I've asked dealer opinions, the perception has changed.

I'll wrap this very long post up with this. I believe that if Cars.com would just give dealers the ability to opt-out/opt-in to whatever sharing they want - this issue would go away. I know that people can scrape inventory wherever they want to and inventory sharing won't ever stop and heck, in many cases the added exposure helps dealers. The dealer just needs to know what is going on with their property and they need the right to decide whether or not they participate in it.

Thanks for all you do Ralph, I appreciate your blog and your direct, hard hitting questions :)

Great insights Ralph! Have you noticed how the "Let's beat up on vendors" bus has been driven mainly by Consultants and other vendors rather than dealers?

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