Tuesday, July 14, 2015

AutoNation 'Fired" By TrueCar

Possible Hidden Auto Sales To Avoid Paying Referral Fees?
TrueCar, Inc.  a negotiation-free car buying and selling auto and truck marketplace, is ending its longstanding partnership with AutoNation Inc., effective at the end of July according to TrueCar.

TrueCar says AutoNation, the nation's largest auto sales dealership is refusing to release car sales information under it's contractual agreement, while AutoNation counters that it doesn't wish to release all of it's sales data to TrueCar.

TrueCar, with agreements with over a third of all auto dealerships in the U.S. promises consumers transparency of auto dealer pricing by tracking what buyers paid through  transaction data from it's more than 10,000 TrueCar Certified Dealers. 

Users of the buying service include USAA, American Express, Consumer Reports, AARP and direct automobile and truck customers. 

TrueCar says it's certified dealers abide by certain core principles including negotiation-free, guaranteed savings off MSRP for all vehicles. in a professional and hassle-free customer experience.

In May, TrueCar formally demanded that AutoNation comply fully with these core principles in order to have continued access to the TrueCar platform. AutoNation chose not to comply and the business relationship between the companies will be terminated effective July 31, said TrueCar.

TrueCar estimates that users of it's service were 7 percent of AutoNation's first quarter 2015 new vehicle sales, up from 6 percent in the first quarter of 2014. Reportedly though AutoNation showed a lesser percentage of referrals through TrueCar, leading some to believe AutoNation may be under reporting actual TrueCar sales thus avoiding a $299 fee owed per new car sale to TrueCar.

AutoNation had 279 active franchise dealers using the TrueCar platform at the end of the first quarter, or 3.1 percent of total active franchise dealers on the TrueCar platform on that date.

"Although we would have preferred that AutoNation abide by our marketplace principles, just like our other Certified Dealer partners, we are prepared for this development," said John Krafcik, TrueCar's president. "We are gratified that more than 10,000 dealers share our view of a better, more transparent car-buying process. Our robust dealer network ensures that in markets where AutoNation competes, other TrueCar Certified Dealers will receive the benefit of even greater engagement with TrueCar customers."

A look at TrueCar's website indicates this week many AutoNation dealerships are no longer appearing on the TrueCar list of certified dealers.

Have any experiences with buying at an AutoNation dealer in the last seven years using TrueCar guaranteed prices? Add your comments below.

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