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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: 5151

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


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Comment by Keith Shetterly on January 18, 2012 at 7:12am

@ Larry:  Charles gets what he gives.  He's as condescending as they come.

That said, I'd want everyone to take the higher road, including Charles.  Personally, I'd not have started this thread and didn't like seeing it at all, but it didn't come because Charles was in any way really professional.  And I mean from the first things he wrote.  He's a very talented and experienced person--but he and TrueCar are no way, no how in this century any kind of victim here or elsewhere except of themselves.

The dealers are their customers, and if anything these threads seem to have successfully reminded TC of that fact.  They only ones paying TC are the dealers--if I had a salesperson who treated their customer on a sales floor the derisive, condescending, and self-important ways that TC has on these forums, I'd fire them on the spot.

Essentially, TC has treated their dealer customer on these forums--and in their classic videos from their CEO--in the same manner they say they are saving car shoppers from with their service!

None so blind as those who will not see.  Ego and hubris so often eclipse success, and if that eclipse lasts long enough the work starts to die.

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 18, 2012 at 7:07am

@Brian and other in this tread

It is not fair or right to personally attack Charles for doing all he can to stick up for his company. Anyone of you would expect the same from your employed team mates and I can say I have been personally involved in conversations with PCG employees who did the same thing Charles is doing sticking up for things I didn’t like about PCG products or services and in many of those cases I didn’t have all the facts and when I got them I did change my mind with respect to most.

Now, it’s not fair for Charles to blanket throw all car dealers into the bad apple pile either.

All that being said, we need to all step back and take a breath… do that now… Just breathe.

Look at this objectively,

TrueCar is not going away…period. I have talked to too many dealers that see value in the program and an equal amount of dealers that do not… they can survive and thrive on even less than half of the dealer body.

Edmunds and KBB will continue with what they are doing as well, bottom line the data is out we let it out and we can’t get it back and it will continue, more to come on that later.

  Time to say, “How can we help these companies help us sell more cars” instead of seeking to try and destroy them or “Bitch Slap” anyone. No one should make this personal, its not, keep it professional.

I have never been a fan of ANY company being between the customer and the dealer and I still am not, but I do recognize that these companies are providing a perceived valuable service to consumers and if the consumers value it we must find a way to work with it, just like you work your payplan in the store.

When I met with the TureCar executive team they were courteous, respectful and very much willing to listen. I was extremely impressed with their data security methods, there is no doubt they are one of the best I have seen since the security methods at Reynolds, so I am not worried there.

I still think they have a responsibility to be plain with its dealers on what they will do with their data and be transparent on where they are getting their data, as I think KBB and Edmunds need to do as well. I will be writing an updated post on Edmunds soon as I have some additional facts that need to be brought to the dealer body’s attention there.

I hope this clears up my views, if there was ever any confusion. Let’s work to make this a win…win for all involved and NOT let this very important topic get tainted with personal attacks that dilute the message and its importance. 

Comment by Joseph Noviello on January 18, 2012 at 6:58am

Okay Mr Kim, I assumed that you had no real life dealership experience because of your rant earlier about sending your Mother into a dealership alone. With all your experience why would you ever think that lambasting all the Dealers on this blog would help you in anyway grow your business at Truecar? Even though I only have 25 years experience in every aspect of automotive dealership operations I at least have enough common sense not to insult potential future customers! Anyway, best luck to you in your future endeavors at True Car.

Comment by Brian Pasch on January 18, 2012 at 6:58am


We have to have a drink at NADA for sure!  Your list has many names that I recognize and add a double "AMEN".  Thank you for sharing your A-List!

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 18, 2012 at 6:51am

Larry, you still have sort of avoided the key issue here... You and I have a long and historied relationship. The question is... Charles, somewhere deep in his fragmented ridiculous rant said you were an advocate of TrueCar, implying your endorsement of TrueCar and their business methods.

In conversations between you and I you have repeatedly said TrueCar was wrong and that you told Charles that. FOR THE RECORD, Is Charles right... Does Larry Bruce Endorse TrueCar and their business methods and model? This requires a short answer if you choose.

Comment by Larry Bruce on January 18, 2012 at 6:33am


Thank you for a really high compliment, but I have to say there are a lot of really smart people on ADM and I think that number is way too high. Again though THANK YOU!

That said…

2012 may really be the year for the apocalypse because this is the 2nd time in as many weeks I have agreed with Brian. There are a great many car dealers I would trust any one of my loved one with and the list Brian put up here is a good one. I know most of these people on this list personally and would trust my mother with any one of them, and I will add a few more to this list…

Andy Wright – Lehigh Valley Auto Group

Kevin Frye – Wyler Auto Family

Kenn & Jenn Volz – Volz Auto Group

Nicki Allen – Classic Dodge of Denton

Hagen Durant – Classic of Grapevine

A J Maida – Pappas Dodge

Rob Campbell – Harnish Auto Group

Alan Krutsch – Walser Auto Group

Gary Dodson – Asbury Automotive

Dan Bosimier – Suburban Auto Group

Richard Fisler – The Car Group

Bob Pagan – Sand Dollar Auto Group

Allan Hall – Ron Carter Auto Land

Carroll Smith – Monument Chevrolet

Steve Prather – Freeway Ford

These are just a just a few off the top of my head I have had the privilege to know and work with in my 29 years in the car business. The vast majority of dealers are tremendously honest hard working people who very much know the value of their customers, and Charles I know there are a few bad apples but that doesn’t spoil the bunch. 

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on January 18, 2012 at 3:34am

Mr. Kim spewing hatred for the dealer community, ADM members and followers....while his marketing team does a  disingenuous, public suck up to regulators and dealers certainly does TC no I say let him spew!......and most importantly, we make sure the dealer principals and owners understand the hatred that is directed towards them by these life sucking characters.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on January 18, 2012 at 3:14am

I'd hate to think that Mr. Kim used his private exchanges on this or any other forum without first getting permission. To say Larry "thinks this" or Larry "believes that" would be wrong without Larry's permission.

Comment by Jason Manning on January 17, 2012 at 11:22pm
@ Charles, you are no Walmart or Netflix, or Carmax, or Amazon or Travelocity. Your company is Arrogant and destructive at its core. You even think you are on the same scale as more humble giants. You make me LOL. Your thoughts are humorous and entertaining to say the least. I can't wait to hear more of your rants as you "build" your company. I've never heard so much B.S. from the Walmarts of the world. Your hopelessness is heard loud and clear. Hang in there. I feel your pain. I can see it between the lines...
Comment by Brian Pasch on January 17, 2012 at 7:32pm

Bravo Michael!!

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