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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: 5328

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


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Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 28, 2012 at 2:47pm

Sorry, I have been a little absent from this thread recently. 

This coming week I am speaking at Brian Pasch's DMSC  Boot Camp in Las Vegas and Then, the following week, I am a featured speaker at The NADA Convention.

We have some really great surprises scheduled for the TrueCar Folks at the Convention... Right now, they are flailing about in their death throes and I predict they'll be experiencing a lot more pain after the convention. 

They're bravely trying to act publicly as if TrueCar is viable and alive when everyone can see it's dying.  Painter's been here before and he can feel it coming. I am amazed that anyone would back him on any business project considering his track record. 

The way I see it, the Investment World appears to be backing off of TrueCar because of all the negatives brought to light and the magnification of the company's apparent inane mismanagement.

Speaking of mismanagement, I believe GRP Partners is also looking really-really bad here, at least that's the way I perceive it to be. After all they are the financial backers that raised the money to bring this circus sideshow into the market with TrueCar Management and GRP Partners' Investment Advice resembling the antics of the crazy midgets in "Clown Cars" under the Big Top. 

They (GRP Partners) and particularly TrueCar must be rapidly becoming a ridiculous joke in the financial community... and GRP Partners, a long time respected firm must be getting their fair share of ridicule because of this train wreck, which I am assuming was probably Steven Dietz's brainchild. I am picturing the possibility that he's likely to have been the butt of more than a few jokes around the water coolers in the financial community. Needham LLC must have been an embarrassment to GRP Partners and TrueCar as well. Go to and check it out.

I am just wondering how AMEX and USAA are feeling about being associated with the tarnished reputation TrueCar is bringing to them as well? 

I don't know about GRP Partners command structure, maybe Steve Dietz is the man there BUT I am wondering if the board of directors or the other partners are seeing him as a liability? Just conjecture, mind you, but if it was my company, his position might be standing on a banana peel. When it it was revealed that TrueCar's basic business model violated a number of states' laws, doesn't that smack of total incompetency of all concerned considering it was a $200 Million-dollar crap-shoot? Where was the high-school level due diligence?

It seems to me that if someone in their right mind had millions to invest how could they possibly consider this farce?

How can Scott Painter and Steven Dietz possibility save face considering the continuing series of apparently conspicuous screw-ups they've committed in their business plan reminiscent of a Three Stooges Slapstick comedy. ? Of course I could be totally off track in my thinking here, maybe I'm wrong. I am just thinking out loud about possibilities and possible scenarios. 

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 25, 2012 at 4:49am

A Toyota Dealer Writes to me...

 Jim, Thanks for stepping up concerning not only Truecar but all these other Internet pirates  who have figured out a way to become car dealers without a franchise or any other of the costs involved in being a brick and mortar retailer.To me it is the electronic equivalent of just lurking around my dealership and greeting My customers when they arrive and then coming into the store with them under the pretense of protecting them from us in case we were going to try and make a profit.

They claim to have facilitated 235,000 car sales last year as if those cars wouldn't have been sold without them,and at least $299 per car ,they cost dealers over 70 million dollars in income.It seems that they find weak dealers who are incapable of selling cars in their own market and convince them by selling cars into everyone Else's at fire sale pricing that they will become more profitable.

I am a single point dealer who started as a car wash kid almost 50 years ago and have earned and built my store by the old fashioned way but I am not blind to the opportunities provided by the Internet and we use it everyday.

Paying these people a blackmail fee to keep them from directing my customers to a store who has "signed" up to be their delivery service is bullshit and then demanding customers proprietary information is just the tip of the iceberg.

Next they will be offering Financing services,extended warranty,certification for Pre-owned,and other sources of our income.I think the dealers that are signed up with these people should just add the 299 to the transaction price  and pay their sales staff what they have earned.

In many cases the customer will show up here with the "TrueCar Deal" anyway and we will match it if we have to and I won't be paying them a nickel but I am sure that just helping the customer will be enough of a reward to them.

First the Manufacturers should get enough balls to stand up for the guys that invested millions of dollars in facilities and improvements to service their products.Some of the manufacturers and dealers are convinced that this the new way and we had better get on the wagon or be left behind but I am a car guy, we are successful because we have spent years developing relationships with our customers and I am not going to pay the overhead for people that intercept my Internet customers and then demand payment from us for negotiating "No Profit" transactions.

The customer can research invoice cost on any car without the TrueCar and like companies.Take back your store and stand up for yourself and the income of the employees that have helped build your companies.

Dealer Name Withheld

Comment by Jason Manning on January 23, 2012 at 4:21pm
Dealers, don't forget to email Jim Ziegler a copy of your vendor contracts (all contracts). We have to revisit these contracts to safeguard our data. We have to put the puzzle pieces together to show dealers each vendor partner, affiliate or subsidiary that is obtaining our data from our Dealer Leaks. What is your data worth? Apparently $299 a unit on a minimum. Get the picture yet? We're losing this data war. We've had enemies/vendors pilfering our data for years now. Send your contracts to Jim and and lets find out who they are and how we can protect our industry's future. Be prepared for more attacks as we expose these threats. Their profits are on the line as much as ours are. That's why this is referred to as a Data War. Someone will win, someone will lose. Dealers have the greatest power with their data. They just have to make the right choice to lock it down.
Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 22, 2012 at 4:09am

I am speaking today to a group of more than 90 dealers and managers. It is an all day event, I am the only speaker. Last night at dinner, the dealers asked me to have lunch with the dealers only, without the managers present, to discuss TrueCar and Data Pilfering by our vendors. The overwhelming sentiment among these dealers is hostile toward TrueCar, even the few who are using them apparently hate them. Where they get all of these supposed happy dealers is rapidly beginning to look like BullCrap to me. Before I leave here tonight I feel I may have another 15 or 20 dealers ready to cancel and tell their friends to do the same. There is a growing trend as dealers get angry and get rid of these people. I am hearing that even in states they get their model reinstated, nobody (relatively) is going to participate as dealers who do business with them are becoming isolated by other dealers. I am hearing that some dealers won't even do dealer trades with them.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on January 22, 2012 at 3:50am

A Dealer Friend of Mine sent me this message on Facebook...Jim, I just received 7 invoices from TrueCar for vehicles we did not sell. I was already in the process of cancelling, when they arrive this morning. I'm done with TrueCar in both my stores. Just wanted to get the word out to your followers to double check all invoices from TrueCar.

Comment by Jason Manning on January 21, 2012 at 12:09pm
Zach, you don't have to apologize. At least you're not wreckless with your career, like some folks.
Comment by Zach Ziegler on January 20, 2012 at 4:01pm

I'm older now and a lot more responsible. I really wish this didn't have to be posted here but I can see why Dad did it. Mr. Dietz was trying to blackmail us and use what I did years ago against my family. 

I haven't had any more tickets in years, I work every day and love my family. Sorry this had to come out this way but it is better than my Dad being secretive.  ZACH ZIEGLER

Comment by David T. Gould on January 20, 2012 at 1:57pm

Steven Dietz of GRP Partners, the financial Backers of TrueCar is out of control.

Comment by David T. Gould on January 20, 2012 at 1:53pm

I can not believe what I just saw @ No holds barred here gentlepeople. I feel for Jim and his family. 

Comment by David T. Gould on January 20, 2012 at 1:39pm

Welcome to the third party automotive lead procurement "price" landing pages of the future (if data is not contained). KILL THE BEAST, DO NOT FEED IT! PROTECT YOUR DEALERSHIP's CUSTOMER DATA. (after all, consumer data protection is required by law...) powered by a partnership of 

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