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True Car and ZAG - Cyber Bandits or Good for the Business?

Jim Ziegler asks...

I am hearing a lot of discussion about True Car and ZAG.  I continually scratch my head and wonder if  desperate dealers are doing the marketing limbo "How Low Can You Go?" 

Are we so bad at what we do that we have to line up and pay vendors to lose money? AND, who is giving these people access to your data that is used against you? 


Who owns these companies and what might be their ulterior motive?  Sometimes I ask questions to which I already know the answer. 


Am I wrong?

What do you think... JIM







EDITOR'S NOTE: The ADM Professional Community has assigned a short-cut domain name to this blog post by Jim Ziegler to make it very easy for ADM members and readers to refer others to this web page. Please use the following URL:


Jim Ziegler's Guidance and Recommended Action Plan:

Ten Areas We Need to Concentrate on to Bring This Monster to It's Knees...

  1. Government investigation of ALL Data Aggregators taking consumer information from dealers' DMS. Sadly enough, dealers who do business with TrueCar are exposed to  liability charges. Cut off all access to unecessary data, no matter who takes it from the dealers DMS and make it illegal to "resell identifiable consumer data" and "transactional data".
  2. Educate Your Fellow Dealers; If anyone takes financial transactional data, they expose the dealer that allowed it to violations, especially if it is passed on to other vendors or shared.
  3. Educate Consumers to what they're doing with their information...
    a. You buy a car from a dealer, do you really want your personal information, and maybe even your financial information, passed along and sold and shared by "God knows who?"
    b. These People Charge the Dealer $300 which the dealers have to build into the deal
    c. Your Privacy and the Security of your Information could theoretically compromise your identity if you do business a company that takes data from the dealership.
  4. Educate Investors and potential investors they could possibly be mislead if anyone is telling them this is a safe investment because of all of the dealers pushing back, associations pushing back, and government regulators in many states coming after TrueCar's business model as NOT compliant, in some cases they're saying it is Not Legal.
  5. AMEX, USAA and all of their affiliates do not want the bad consumer relations this push back is creating with their members and customers.
  6. Cancel your dealership's Affilation with TrueCar. Tell people with TrueCar certificates that YOU don't honor TrueCar and you feel the company is NOT reputable. Educate consumers as to perceived data exposure if they buy from a TrueCar dealer. Make sure that each consumer knows that using TrueCar actually increases their vehicle cost by $300 to $400.
  7. Make the dealers selling at huge losses take all of those deals. Big problem right now is too many Nissan Dealers and others are taking huge losers to get the factory money. The TrueCar reverse-auction business model will continually push those numbers down until the factory money is non-existent. Consumers need to hear from many dealers, "We don't do TrueCar"
  8. Keep calling your National and State Dealer Associations demanding they get involved and stay involved... No excuses.
  9. Get the Manufacturers into the game. If GM, Ford, Toyota, and other majors change the rules about how we advertise and do business to protect the dealers, we can cut off their ability to set pricing. So keep it up at every dealer meeting. Call your Dealer Council Members and protest to your factory reps. Tell the manufacturers, if they want showroom and facility improvements, we need the ability to make fair profits.
  10. Tell everyone you know. Educate other dealers and industry people. Watch the Painter interviews... I believe this is the first time a vendor has publicly announced they intend to bring down the dealers and hijack our business, taking our profits and starving us out with our own data. Painter has said manufacturers and dealers should go bankrupt and he, in his God-like way "will control distribution..."
    When the TrueCar-Yahoo Deal kicks in we need to stand firm and "Just Say No" we don't honor TrueCar deals.

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Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 2:38pm

Who on this thread doesn't believe Steven's clever personal message to me of my son's arrest record wasn't an overt Blackmail? By posting it publicly I took all of his leverage out of it. He's got nothing to hold over me...or Zachary...Exposing Mr. Steven Dietz esquire as the lowlife. If he really is an attorney as some of you have indicated, he must be a really bad attorney because no competent attorney would now be in the position he's put himself  in. 

Now, my challenge is figuring out how to make sure all of his friends, family and neighbors know what he did.

Comment by Randy Holt on January 20, 2012 at 2:35pm

Mr. Steven Dietz,

You must have thought Jim would be too ashamed to share that message of yours with anyone ... I am certain that Jim is NOT ashamed of his son and that he is NOT throwing him under the bus.


It appears that you were making a thinly disguised threat. You miscalculated.


Is this what psychologists refer to as passive-agressive behavior?

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on January 20, 2012 at 2:35pm

Please do attempt to twist my words Mr. is not going to fly here. For the record, I have fired attorneys with much more ability than you for incompetence.....Try your now favorite, trite worn out, childish, response "just saying" on the playground or in the bar with your peers where it may have some meaning.

Comment by Steven Dietz on January 20, 2012 at 2:31pm

Larry:  I feel for Zachary and I do not know him.  Why do you think Jim brought him into this discussion?  Posting your son's mugshot across the web to further your own agenda?  That's really selfish.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 20, 2012 at 2:29pm

@ Larry:  NO.  It's time to respond to the personal attacks in a different way.  This needs to be seen by every TrueCar investor, every dealership, every vendor, and every "data partner" (that's YOU, and DealerTrack, to start, many others to mention).  They've hitched their wagon to a man going over the cliff, to a company operated by folks who couldn't pass "smarter than a 5th grader" on public relations.  This is now officially a debacle.

For those who want the official "Deitzing!" TrueCar t-shirt for NADA, email me ;)  It'll be a doozy.

@ Jim:  I'm very sorry this happened.  I realize they had no idea how you have spoken about it before to several and that it was no real secret, but it's a difference between secret and private.

Comment by Steven Dietz on January 20, 2012 at 2:25pm

Thomas:  I agree with you.  How could Jim throw his son to the wolves to further his own agenda.  I have to assume he would even lie to achieve his goals... just saying.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 2:22pm

No Steven, It's not a secret, but in your low life way you thought it was worthy of blackmailing me using my family. Well now , everyone you know is going to know what a load you really are.

You see, I have told others many times my son was caught drag racing lost his license and was later arrested for driving without a license. I love my son and that has been out in the open for a long time. Anyone who wanted to know was told. BUT YOU thought in your grimy arrogant way you had a piece of blackmail to hold over me about my family. Now I've turned it on you and exposed you to the light of day... and cockroaches always run when you shine a light on them. 

You haven't phased me in the least with all your babbling BUT we all sense you and your friends are UNRaveling rapidly. I will not respond to you again on any of these threads. BUT I promise you'll be hearing about this at your country club, and they're not going to like it. 

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 20, 2012 at 2:22pm

WOW! I have sat here for 30 min just trying to think of what to say to this… I have no idea! This was turning ugly now it’s fallen off the ugly cliff!

@Steven I known Zach Ziegler personally since he was 10, he’s a good kid who has been through some typical kid stuff growing up, nothing I haven’t been through or probably anyone on this thread hasn’t been through. For you to even send a private email like that is reprehensible. Zach has nothing to do with this debate.    

Passionate is one thing but digging up peoples past and family history…Steven you just crossed the line big time.

Time for the personal attacks to cease and stick to the issues this is very wrong. 

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 2:21pm

I will keep this near the top of the blogs until everyone has seen it.

Comment by Steven Dietz on January 20, 2012 at 2:17pm

I did not bring it up.  Jim posted it.

I simply sent Jim a private email saying that his personal attacks on me and my business were inappropriate.  We all have personal issues but it is inappropriate to use a public forum for  personal attacks.

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