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Scott Painter of TrueCar Discusses Data Sources, Car Dealers and Automotive Marketing

This video was produced in December 2011 and features Scott Painter, Founder and CEO of TrueCar, responding to auto industry complaints and allegations regarding TrueCar's sources and uses of Data. Scott also presents his perspectives on why dealers should use TrueCar to enhance their marketing strategy.

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Comment by Jim Maxfield on December 18, 2011 at 5:45am

I am confused...understand the DMS has the data...but how else does this "data trail" "out there" get created outside of the DMS?  Does Captive Finance really sell what cars book out at (absent add-ons in financing?)  Does DMS release what cars sell for?  

Comment by Gil Morris on December 17, 2011 at 3:15pm

Just out of curiosity, why is it that I can't find many complaints when I type TrueCar into my search engine?  Considering the number of customers that I have dealt with that were unhappy with the service, I find this extremely odd.  Of course, this might be an isolated event but I did come across one link that I found most intriguing.

  1. shopped using true car pricing, didnt work at 3 dealers so far

Nov 11, 2011 – i have shopped for nissan altima and vw jetta,,so far visited 3 dealers..almost always told the priced model(took the price quote with me) is not ...


-when I clicked on the link to read what was actually said, I was taken to a site that had been erased.  Correct me if I am wrong, but erasing a customer's reviews does not seem very transparent to me.

Comment by Joseph B Antley; JB ANTLEY on December 17, 2011 at 10:13am

So they're buying "...aggregated, anonymized data from DMS providers..."I wonder which DMS providers are selling them the data? DealerTrack/Arkona?

But dealers within the TrueCar Network will PAY $300 to give them access to all their DMS data (not just the sold unit data) in exchange for a mini-deal and the hopes that the customer will service the car at their dealership.

Sounds like a great deal-NOT.

Comment by Mike theCarGuy Correra on December 17, 2011 at 10:03am

Scott really thinks that by constantly throwing the word 'transparency' around he can cloud the real issue and create many, many side conversations that pull attention from his real evil. For him to arrogantly state the he wishes for a time when 'the mystery of price has left' is a complete joke. There is NO mystery about the PRICE of a car; it is clearly marked on the window from the folks who built it. When a customer comes in, allows me the time to fully show, explain and demonstrate all there is about a new Honda they usually see that the MSRP is a great value HOWEVER; if they feel that they should pay less I AM OK WITH NEGOTIATING TO A FAIR DEAL! I

We have all heard the phrase, “a good deal is not a number, it’s a feeling you get when you buy a car from someone you feel is trustworthy and works for a company that will be there for you after the sale as well” and it’s the truest statement out there. I train my own sales staff that the best response to the question of price is this; “Mr customer, as you can see the price of the car is clearly marked, I appreciate that you would like to pay less and I will do all I can to earn your business. We will not lose your business over a few dollars…”

What Scott is continues to confuse consumers idea of price with cost and by doing so completely validates the existing negative fears and stereotypes they have about car sales and the professionals that work in this industry. Perhaps he should ask jewelers how they would feel when he starts showing the cost of a watch and then recommending a price less than cost as a ‘good deal’. Maybe Scott could take his expertise into the world of real estate, he could have his expert team find out what a homeowner actually paid for his home and then tell folks to offer less for a ‘good deal’. The only thing that is really transparent about ZAG/TrueCar is that Scott has always wanted to eliminate sales people and have his company act as brokers for all car deals.

Comment by Tom Drommond on December 17, 2011 at 9:39am

Michael - didn't you listen to the video?  Painter is clear, TrueCar is not relying on DMS data for pricing.  He makes an accurate statement in that all of this data is already available through other sources.  Because they are affiliated with several of the biggest auto insurers and auto lenders, they have access to this information in near-realtime.  State DMVs have the transaction data, too.  Otherwise, how would they levie excise tax? RL Polk sells this data and several other data agregators, do too.  His stated purpose in accessing the DMS is to verify sales to referrals and I believe it. 


All this paranoia is rediculous.  I agree with Grant Cardone in that this is just one more wrinkle in the fabric of selling cars.  Adapt or die.  Never forget, every buyers order is signed by a desk manager in the dealership.  If he's taking stupid deals, that's a dealership issue, not a TrueCar issue.  If, on the other hand, I've found a way to get more to the bottom line on less sheet gross, it sure sucks to be my competition.  That is what's we've been doing throughout the recession.  We have looked harder than ever at expenses.  Two ways to make money:  Earn more or Spend Less.  If I can reduce my advertising and lead cost by eliminating vendors that don't help me sell more cars, it's the same.  I generate more profit per unit sold, often more than I've given up on the front side of the car deal.  In the end, at least at my store, we have not reduced PVR and in many cases it's been better on the TrueCar Deals than it is on a GM Supplier or GM Employee deal.  Speaking of which, I don't hear anybody whining about GM offering Supplier Pricing, which is below invoice, to every credit union member in the country.  Those deals can be ugly, too, even with the memo money.  Where's the hew and cry over those?  If I look at individual car deals, I hate many of them.  If I look at the big picture and see where we want to be a year or two from now, I'm not giving any of those deals back.  I'll be damned if I'm letting those customers go to my competitors.

Comment by Michael on December 17, 2011 at 8:32am

Why doesn't Scott just continue this endeavour with boats, motorcycles, appliances...? Without the accessibility by dealers allowing Scott to access their DMS systems, this discussion obviously would not be at hand.

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