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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 7:01pm

Despite all of my flamboyance and tendency to show off... Debbie and Zach and I are actually very decent people living by a pretty high moral code. Why Dietz thought it would be so cool to attack my son and hold it over me...who knows. I must say, Scott Painter had the decency to to call and say this was not his company or him, personally, Dietz speaks for himself and  maybe GRP Partners. We are basically good people and this guy Dietz, I think he showed us his moral values. 

Comment by Jason Manning on January 20, 2012 at 6:20pm
These attacks are TrueMeasures of their failures.
Comment by Ken Dugas on January 20, 2012 at 6:18pm

Good thing I'm not the one in the Spotlight, he'd have a field day! At 17 I had 11 major moving violations (Superbee 440 Magnum 4 speed pistol grip)

If this is all he can dig up on your family....He must really be desperate! Hopefully Mr Dietz will loose his entire investment :)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 20, 2012 at 6:01pm
Since it seems that our checkered pasts may be brought to bear against any of us who have criticized TrueCar, let me just come clean right now... I was arrested twice in the 1970's for illegal street racing (Unlawful Display of Speed). The first time was in my 1968 Plymouth Road Runner (ticket showed 112 MPH on VASCAR) and the second time was in my 1968 Dodge Super Bee (110 MPH on ticket). I paid my debt to society (fines) and my most sincere regret was selling each car to cover those fines and pay legal fees. I wish I still had either or both of those Mopar street fighters!
Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 5:50pm

My son said...

Comment by Zach Ziegler 1 hour ago

I'm older now and a lot more responsible. I really wish this didn't have to be posted here but I can see why Dad did it. Mr. Dietz was trying to blackmail us and use what I did years ago against my family. 

I haven't had any more tickets in years, I work every day and love my family. Sorry this had to come out this way but it is better than my Dad being secretive.  ZACH ZIEGLER

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 5:45pm

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 David DeSantis on January 20, 2012 at 4:51pm

Here's the 11 companies that were part of the $200 million funding of Truecar.  Also, I don't know if anyone is aware that Steve Dietz is a board member on Dealertrack as of the beginning of this month.  Damn, all the more reason why he's really put himself in the fire...

Capricorn Investment Group
GRP Partners
Silicon Valley Bank
Keating Capital
GSV Capital
Passport Capital
McCombs Enterprises
Allen & Company
International Investment House

Comment by David T. Gould on January 20, 2012 at 4:29pm

Wow, sorry for this Zach. You do not owe anyone here an apology. I respect your taking responsibility for your actions and your father's efforts here on behalf of automotive professionals through out the country. Please note: This is not typical, at all, of what service these automotive forums serve.

@Jim and your family. With all sincerity, from my family to yours. Thank You and God Bless.


Comment by Jerry Thibeau on January 20, 2012 at 4:12pm

That just goes to show you what scum these people are.  Despicable!  Pretty sad they had to attack your family, you don't deserve this!

Comment by Zach Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 3:54pm

I'm older now and a lot more responsible. I really wish this didn't have to be posted here but I can see why Dad did it. Mr. Dietz was trying to blackmail us and use what I did years ago against my family. 

I haven't had any more tickets in years, I work every day and love my family. Sorry this had to come out this way but it is better than my Dad being secretive.  ZACH ZIEGLER

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