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It's 9:00 AM - Do You Know Where Your Inventory Is?


5:00 AM and the Alpha Dawg is on the Point. Actually been awake since 4:00 AM. Did you ever have so much on your mind you couldn't sleep because you were thinking so hard? Well, a lot of side issues that came out of this battle that are bothering me and I intend to pursue them.

First of all many people reported on the blogs and on Facebook and in Private Chats and Messages. That your inventory was showing up on TrueCar and CarGurus. 

Well, that is troubling. One participant in the blogs emailed a statement that ALL of our vendors, or at least most them, are brokering off our inventory to other websites you didn't subscribe to. OR, perhaps buying and selling your inventory to brokers and listing services where other websites pick up your cars and put them on their own sites. The example they used in the email to me was a listing site the sender claimed to me was brokering your inventory back and forth between these lead generator vendors buying and selling inventory to each other... your inventory, for $6.00 to $12.00 each. I have not investigated fully but I believe there's got to be some truth to that in essence. 

I think their model revisions are as in line with dealers' best interests as any of the others.

BUT, I have a severe problem with CarGurus. I believe they are anti-dealer and NOT good for us or the consumer... my opinion based on what I have seen. 

CarGurus is an alleged lead generation service that Tells The Consumer whether or Not Your Unit Pricing is a Good Deal or a Bad Deal (in their opinion?) During the course of all of this, one of my dealers discovered his Chevrolet Tahoes listed on CarGurus and labeled as a Bad Deal. The rub is He never gave any inventory listing to CarGurus. According to him, the only vendor he was aware of with his inventory was Have you checked, CarGurus to see if your cars are listed there when you don't do business with them???? 

I am not sure if, AutoByTel, AutoTrader, or any of your vendors have the right contractually to do this. I am also researching that. They may be acting strictly within the rights you have signed away somewhere in the deep paragraphs buried in the text of your agreement with them. We will find out.

Here is the questionable language in the contract you probably signed that allows them the right to ship out and export your inventory to God knows where to websites with questionable reputations?

4. Content. Customer grants a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable, license to access, edit, store, enhance, modify, adapt, translate, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, publish, perform and display publicly, prepare derivative works of, and otherwise use Content, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers. reserves the right to modify the Sites and Products, and to edit or reject any Content or portion thereof from use on the Sites or Products in its sole discretion and without notice."

You and your dealer need to get this renegotiated OUT of the contract completely for your protection.

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Tags: Alpha, BDC, Dawg, Generation, Internet, James, Jim, Sales, Supersystems, Ziegler, More…adwords, automotive, autotrader, bootcamp, brian, buy,, cars,, certified, dealer, dealership, dealix, digital, google, lead, marketing, negotiate, new, nurturing, pasch, strategy, truecar, used


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Comment by Timothy Martell on May 2, 2013 at 3:40pm

I responded to Langley on DrivingSales. I fail to see the merit of his argument. Transparency is good. Hell transparency is what I am always advocating for. But where is the transparency in his argument? He founded trip advisor so it must be good.

Pricing information is transparency. No beef there. But when you interject a SUBJECTIVE opinion and characterize a unit in the dealer's inventory as "Bad Deal" on a single data point you are not being transparent. That is not transparency that, my friends, is pandering to a public and perpetuation the characterization that car dealers are trying to pull one over on the consumer.

Dealers! STOP sending your hard earned money to companies who want to make their money on calling you the bad guy and then charge you for it!

Comment by Alex Vetter on May 2, 2013 at 3:33pm

Jim - While we appreciate your advocacy for the dealer community, we believe you have the facts here all wrong. We don't believe this is the best forum to continue this discussion, and we are no longer going to engage with you here. We encourage any of our customers to contact their sales reps directly, as we are always happy to answer questions and have a healthy discussion that moves the industry forward. We have nothing to hide here and have continually proven our commitment to our dealer partners.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 2:19pm

So Alyssa Gomez, that's exactly what I am talking about. They take your money and then "TRASH YOU. In this case they tripled up and trashed you three times for the price of one. Wow, that's a great deal, don't you think? 

Comment by Alyssa Gomez on May 2, 2013 at 2:09pm

I just did a few test leads as well. (dealix) Get Auto and All sent me the same leads. They all bid on all of these sites and to my understanding, this is how it works. What is more frustrating is that there are 3 reviews on my brand rating us low. Those reviews are two blank ones and 1 saying alright process, but a 1 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 2:07pm


Comment by Steve Duff on May 2, 2013 at 1:49pm

A few minutes ago I was reached out to by a regional manager with to make sure everything is cool. I told him it's better now that the email campaign has ceased but we still have the other issue of inventory feed. He said he was unaware of this issue but that he would email me his contact info and I could reach back out to him. I did. I emailed him and cc'd my rep asking for a complete list of who they send our inventory out to. I mentioned that the rumor has it they send to Car Gurus and maybe Detroit Trading, but I want a complete list. I asked nicely. Interested to see the response. I encourage everyone else to make that request.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 1:34pm


Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 1:33pm

You understand Matt Tucker... The only way CarGurus can survive and prosper is by having inventory. Help me sort through this... It appears they have all of the CarMax inventory and that CarMax seems to gets great reviews from them and they routinely seem to say prices on CarMax Cars are generally "Great Deals" although just booking a few of those units, they didn't appear to be "Great Deals" to me. AM I WRONG So Far?

Then lets say and maybe AutobyTel are feeding them additional dealer inventory. It seems enough people are saying that that it is probably true. Maybe TrueCar is involved here somewhere as well. Let's stir that soup a little while.

I can't envision any dealer in his/her right mind signing up with CarGurus if they understood what they're doing. So... "Cut Off Their Access to Inventory - Starve the Beast" 

In other words if dealers successfully stop and anyone else feeding CarGurus your inventory... and all they have left is a handful of their own accounts like apparently they have CarMax... then they will wither and go poof. 


Comment by Matt Tucker on May 2, 2013 at 1:23pm

I can confirm that is the lead source that CarGurus uses (just sent 3 test leads). Will be having a serious talk with our rep this week.

For those interested (and they should be), here are the contact details for the CarGurus main office and the LLC paperwork that the founder, Langley Steinart, set up. Just in case you want to let them know how you feel.

Phone # direct: (617) 354-0068

address:      1 Bow St L4A
city:         Cambridge
state:        MA
postal-code:  02138

Comment by Brad Hampton on May 2, 2013 at 1:00pm

CarGurus has an impressive pedigree behind them.  When they started a few years ago, I knew they were going to grow into something unique.  I believe they are just scratching the surface though.

Simon Rothman and Sean Peoples just to name a few.

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