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TrueCar.com is on its way out. That's not to say that it's back to business as usual.
Consumer information regarding vehicle prices, for car shoppers in the purchase funnel, is a valuable thing. It's why TrueCar, Edmunds, KBB are still in business, and why dealer-facing sites like vAuto are equally valuable to us. The OEMs also want us to be clear and upfront regarding pricing in our responses to sales leads.
It's a process that can be easily warped, because, in a "race to the bottom" (which isn't over), traditional dealers can use online channels to promise lower and lower prices, then employ strategies to recover profit once the customer is in the showroom and the deal is in motion.
Advertising that omits or simply places on separated web pages destination charges, that subtracts hypothetical dealer incentives, regardless of how applicable or stackable they are, means that regardless of the prices listed online, a customer still needs to go through a showroom process to really find out how much he or she has to pay. Whether TrueCar stays or goes, online advertising is likely to undergo a new level of regulatory scrutiny. As is vendor access to transactional data.
Transparency is good thing, but not when we're talking about protecting the privacy of customer data. The fallacy of TrueCar was in supporting the old school advertising model, pretending to be the new school, and bragging about how a sales transaction leaves a footprint of data "a mile wide."
Others are hoping to be flying under the radar and/or tightening up their disclosures. How's that going to work out?