Monday, Dec. 05, 2011, 04:00 AM UPDATED 3:15 PMBy Auto Group Editor Jennifer Reed
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -
In today’s age of information being readily available at a consumer’s fingertips via the Web, the general manager of a dealership group in California believes consumers are going find everything they want and need to know on used-vehicle buying, so why not give it to them all in one place?
This is something the founder of TrueCar says he also subscribes to, and it is a big reason why the company is rolling out ClearBook 2.0, which provides used-vehicle valuations down to the ZIP code.
Through the newly upgraded ClearBook, Scott Painter told Auto Remarketing that buyers and sellers can now see highly localized used-car values broken down to the individual ZIP codes in the U.S., with a radius of 100 miles around a user’s location.
And to help bring even more leads to its dealer partners, Painter also told Auto Remarketing his company just signed an exclusive three-year partnership with Yahoo Autos.
So what does the latest ClearBook version offer:
—A full price report for tens of thousands of different used makes and models.
—Detailed vehicle pricing information, including expected sale price, recommended list price and trade-in price.
—An easy-to-understand transaction-based market curve that contains the most current pricing and valuation data.
However, some in the industry might have already caught wind of this revamped offering via television commercials. Painter said TrueCar has been working on ramping up its visibility, as it acquires companies such as ALG and CarPerks and brings in investors. He said these new commercials have been driving a lot of leads to dealers.
While some dealers in the industry have raised concerns over the amount of information TrueCar is providing buyers and sellers, Painter counters this by saying much of the information the company collects comes from public records.
And as for pulling information from DMS, this isn’t new. At least two companies in the industry have been doing this for years.
“We get information from dealers and consumer systems; we also buy data from DMS providers. And we’re now seeing it come in from lenders and insurers. It’s also available at state registration tax and title office. Anyone who buys or sells a car leaves a data trail, and understanding this data can be key. This data includes make, model, trim condition, configuration of cars, all down to the ZIP code,” Painter told Auto Remarketing.
He said having this information in hand can lead to “confident and informed consumers who don’t have unrealistic expectations.”
And a dealer in California Auto Remarketing recently spoke with agrees.
And as for Painter, well, he said some dealers are calling and saying they are getting too many introductions. He noted the TrueCar dealer network is about 6,000-strong and that a dealer does not pay anything unless the lead turns into a sale.
“One in every three introductions to the dealer buys a car,” he pointed out. “We see ClearBook 2.0 as a huge time savings. We help customers be confident and informed, which means more likely to buy. We are not trying to do this at the expense of the dealer. We just want to show the facts.
“We want to offer enough depth of data and transaction data to give a very accurate picture to the buyers and sellers of cars, so they know what they should pay and what a car could ultimately sell for. We’re very excited about our data. We are looking to reflect the market,” Painter said.
The company also offers consumers a lot of new-vehicle information, so TrueCar wanted to enhance what it was offering on the used side.
“ClearBook provides total transparency into the complex world of used-car pricing. For the first time, everyone who wishes to buy, sell or trade-in their previously owned vehicle will have the tools they need to pay or receive a fair price,” Painter said.
“It’s an incredible tool that provides consumers with confidence with dealers that offer fair and transparent pricing,” he added.