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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 Thomas A. Kelly on January 31, 2012 at 3:19am

You brought new meaning to that classic film Jim....very appropriate indeed...and funny as hell!

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 31, 2012 at 3:00am

The TrueCar people are terrible liars, changing their story continually. It is truly like the Martians in the Movie "Mars Attacks" as they kill everyone in sight as they keep saying "Don't Run Away, We Are Your Friends."

AND that guy Steven Dietz? When he sent me a message after he dug up my son's arrest record, it doesn't get any lower than that.  These people have no decency. JIM

Comment by Jason Manning on January 30, 2012 at 9:28pm
@ Jim, your Follow Through and Execution on Dealer Data control and security will cause our whole industry to turn, yet another corner and place us in the right direction for future growth and profit, as we head towards the biggest profit run in automotive history, with the next generation of buyers. Only the True Alpha Dawg can lead this timely event.
Comment by David DeSantis on January 30, 2012 at 8:44pm

@James Ziegler, As I'm sure others are, I'm looking forward to the bloodbath for TC post NADA convention.  Mr Painter has done a terrible job of trying to do damage control the last two months.  He's actually hurt his case because now, there's so many articles/videos that you can reference his lies.  As a founder of TC, his message should be consistent across the board, and it's not.  When someone is telling the truth, their story never changes.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 30, 2012 at 8:08pm

Jason, always a pleasure.

Comment by Jason Manning on January 30, 2012 at 8:02pm
Straight and to the point. Dealers Truly have to study their actions before they agree to a service in their future marketing endeavors. They really, also, need to know the value of their data being shared. If they cannot put a $ figure on it, they don't have the ability to be the decision maker on the vendor agreement...or they can be that manager who is giving away their dealer business power and market, piece by piece. It's Truly happening...
Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 30, 2012 at 11:08am

I'm sorry, let me put my Wards article in here the right way:  Wards: My Business Case Against TrueCar.  "...there are dealers who ask if TrueCar can help them increase car sales. Here’s why I think it doesn’t."

Comment by Criss Castle on January 30, 2012 at 9:54am

Let the difference be that TrueCar has no survivors!

Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 30, 2012 at 9:46am
Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 30, 2012 at 9:13am

Which one sank faster?
a) Titanic 
b) TrueCar

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