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Challenging Charles Kim From And His Oedipus Complex

I've been watching the debate involving on many automotive forums, but today I was pushed to action by comments from Charles Kim on ADM who is employed by  

Here is what Charles said today on the very popular ADM Blog Post on started by Dealer Advocate James Ziegler:


Answer this simple question:  Would you let your loved one (who was not a car expert, like my mom) go into a dealership in the area and buy a car on his/her own unassisted by you in any way?  The answer is obviously "no."  My mom would get raked over the coals as would your loved one too (or at least thoroughly taken-advantage of.).  In fact, I have never met a dealer principal or employee that would tell their best friend or next door neighbor to just stroll into any of their dealerships unannounced and buy a car WITHOUT a) first setting up the deal in advance or b) telling the friend/neighbor to name-drop to then set up a deal in advance. 

I have never worked in a car dealership but I serve car dealers as a trusted advisor.  Since 2005, I have had the pleasure of working with car dealers across the US and Canada.  I have met many great men and women that have a passion for their automotive industry.  

They treat customers like family. Yes, I would send my Mom to buy a car from them.  Alone.

The fact that Charles Kim, representing, characterizes all dealers as predatory is just flat out wrong.  It's false on so many levels that I could not sit on the sidelines.

So I will start a list.  Will you add to my list?


This list is automotive professionals that I would have NO PROBLEM sending my MOTHER to purchase a car from without ANY advance notice.  


I hope that you will add to my list to make a clear statement.  There are THOUSANDS of honest dealer principals that love their local community and operate their business for the long haul.


Are there short term opportunists?  Yes!  


They exist in all business industries but for to paint a broad stroke against all car dealers is unbelievable from a company that wants to partner with dealers in a sales process?


Mommy Proof Shopping List

There are so many dealers that I have met that I know will treat my Mom correctly, but here are few that come to the top of my mind.  

I am referencing people below, at these dealerships, but I know the type of organization that they run and their team are FIRST CLASS acts.  Leadership creates an excellent customer experience.  Bravo to those dealers that my MOM can shop without a "Charles Kim body guard"!

  • Debbie Crispin - Bill Crispin Chevrolet
  • Matt Haiken - Prestige Volvo
  • Steve Rudkin - Shelly BMW
  • MaryJo Wheelers - Wheelers GM
  • Andrew DiFeo - Hyundai of St. Augustine
  • Alex Jefferson - Proctor Honda
  • Alex Andreus - Brickell Honda
  • Jim Flint - John Eagle Group
  • Joel Sporn - Westbury Jeep
  • Scott Falcone - World Hyundai
  • Kevin Leigh - West Herr
  • Karl Schmidt - Morries Auto Group
  • Bob Nouri - Norman JCD
  • Ken Schatzberg - Infiniti of Scottsale
  • Joey Abna - Peltier Chevrolet
  • Dale Harrison - RBM of Atlanta
  • Christine Knowles - Checkered Flag Group
  • Bill Simmons - Haley Automotive 



So, ADM members, can you add to the Mommy Proof list that I started.  It's time to BITCH SLAP anyone from that says that it is UNSAFE to send your "loved ones" to buy a car with someone holding their hand.




Charles Kim is either an embarrassment to or just another representation of what the company is truly all about.




I look forward to seeing my fellow automotive professionals in Las Vegas in a few weeks at DMSC and NADA.



Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing

Views: 5254

Tags: charles kim truecar, list, mommy, safe, truecar,


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Comment by Charles Kim on January 16, 2012 at 11:02pm

And for the record William, I'm actually a fan of AIM, so just wanted to put that out guys do good work...just being honest...

Comment by Jason Manning on January 16, 2012 at 10:58pm
Make no mistake about it, this about a rally run on Wall Street, during the biggest profit run in automotive history, with the next generation of buyers. Their buying power dwarfs the Baby Boomers. Investor groups are chomping at the bit to use the automotive industry to build their portfolios. Vendors will mow down dealers and their valuable data to get their huge piece of the buying power pie. Wake up dealers! Have your customers sign forms that say they don't want their personal or transactional data shared past the deal itself. We can start privacy at dealer levels. Its our responsibility to handle our customer's privacy. Stop everything at the bank's approval.
Comment by Charles Kim on January 16, 2012 at 10:57pm

@William...if you want to compare resumes, and retail/OEM/franchising/marketing/e-commerce/business experience, I'm up for that comparison any day.

But with respect to some of these other comments, if a dealer can knock it out of the park without TrueCar, great.  If a dealer wants to use TrueCar to be successful, great (why is it any of your business to tell him/her to stop?)?  If a dealer wants to use Edmunds only, go for it.  If a dealer wants to use AutoTrader, but not, fine too.  If a dealer wants to shut everyone out of DMS, stop inventory feeds, and go it alone through SEO without help from anyone?  Knock yourself out and good luck with that plan.  That is what competition and the free market is all about...survival of the fittest, survival of the best ideas, and survival of the best business models that best serve consumers and businesses alike.

But since when is it up to a vocal minority of people (most of whom have never even remotely run a dealership in their lives, while some have never even worked in a dealership, nor have not stepped up to my consulting challenge either), to arbitrarily decide in a forum as to what's best for dealers, their entire dealership business, and their customers?  Explain that one to me. 

And how about SOMEONE stepping up to my consulting challenge?!  I've mentioned the challenge a half dozen times over the last couple months and no one has stepped up, or even mentioned it.  Brian?  Thomas?  Jason?  Matt?  Anyone?  Need 5 guys here to make it interesting and lucrative for the winner.  Why is this so difficult for such a vocal group that believes they know what's best for dealers to not even acknowledge that simple challenge?  If you think you know what's best for a dealership as a whole, and know it better than someone like me, step up and prove it by walking the talk.  Am I the best dealer ops consultant out there?  Of course not...I know guys (some of whom are my good friends) WAY better than me.  But am I better than most.  I believe so, and I'm willing to put up or shut up.  Are you?  Or, if you are afraid of that challenge, how about actually running a store yourself FIRST to prove your points and gain that firsthand operational perspective.  After you do, then let's have an intelligent discussion about TrueCar and how it did or didn't impact the store as a whole (whether you were on the program or not).  Or better yet, some of you should get together, invent a new business or company that helps dealers overcome the challenges they face in a rapidly changing marketplace and shifting consumer demand, and go head-to-head with TrueCar, Edmunds, AutoTrader, Costco, CarWoo!, AutoNation Direct, and all the others in that space, and put a bunch of us out of business via the competitive marketplace because you actually had the better idea and helped more customers and dealers than the rest of us?  That would be much more impressive than armchair quarterbacking and taking cheap (and misinformed) potshots.

Or, like I said in my post that was taken totally out of context, we could work collaboratively together to solve some serious cultural and process issues that are commonplace within the industry that no one has solved for to-date...

Comment by William Phillips on January 16, 2012 at 10:35pm

I ask again, will these coward's have a booth at NADA?  If they really are here to help the dealers, they surely will. 

How can someone comment or be respected in an industry they have NEVER work directly in?

Comment by Doug Davis on January 16, 2012 at 9:45pm

And TrueCar's only interest is to be a consumer advocate?  Their sole purpose is to protect and serve?  They want to protect our Mothers against the evil car dealers?  They are in this for a profit at the dealerships expense.

Comment by Gerald Hand on January 16, 2012 at 9:43pm

ADM is biased. Hmmm. It's kinda like when my first dealer accused me of lying to him. Since he has lied he expected me to do the same. Here you have someone representing what appears to me to be a snake in the grass organization, hell-bent on destroying an industry long on tradition, not without its faults, whose founder would like to do away with sales people altogether. You are dead on Ralph- talk is cheap as action speak louder than words. Charles is striking out like a cornered animal- that tells me ALL I need to know about his experience in the market, perception of automotive sales professionals, and what True Car is trying to do surreptitiously.

Comment by Eric Miltsch on January 16, 2012 at 9:29pm
Biased forums? What a terrible generalization. You should have stopped digging at point #5.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 16, 2012 at 9:23pm

Brian - I have sent several friends and family members to Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix, without any direct help on my part, and they each were well treated and received very good deals on both new and used vehicles.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 16, 2012 at 9:16pm

Charles - The ADM Professional Community is an open forum where you are free to express your opinions, present your recommendations and either agree or disagree with anything else that has been posted... Where you get off on debasing the ADM Professional Community is in many ways more telling about you than anything TrueCar represents as your employer.  I have consistently promoted your posts and those of other TrueCar employees in an effort to provide some balance to the discussions, yet you continue to denigrate and insult the community.

This is pure ignorance on your part... The ADM professional Community is YOU as much as it is any other member.  You claim to be comfortable in engaging debate... So, prove it, like you did in responding to this post... However, any allegations you make that ADM is somehow biased or prejudiced are, as you would say, simply not supported by the facts. 

Comment by Charles Kim on January 16, 2012 at 8:21pm

And actually, I believe Scott Falcone does a nice job too...I give you that one as well.

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