SANTA MONICA, Calif. — TrueCar Inc. announced a nationwide strategy to tackle regulatory compliance issues in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to state regulators, state dealer associations and its dealer partners.
The company also implemented a new flat-fee billing model in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has also introduced a new billing model in certain states, adjusted how it advertises on the TrueCar website, established a TrueCar National Dealer Council, and launched a new consumer membership program.
The initiative was announced as part of the company’s "listening tour,” which involved visits with dealer groups, dealer associations and manufacturers across the nation, according to the company.
"These meetings have been incredibly constructive. We are in the business of innovation. As such, we have to embrace change as part of what we do," said Scott Painter, founder and CEO of TrueCar. "The feedback we have received, both good and bad, will enable us to better serve our dealer partners, and the industry overall.
“The changes announced in Virginia are a great signal that collaboration with state regulators can result in a constructive outcome for consumers and dealers," Painter added.
The company aims to reach 100 percent national compliance, according to TrueCar. In an effort to improve service, the company also has opted to voluntarily suspend service in Louisiana, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma. The company expects to have certain changes implemented in January.
“TrueCar's dealer partners are central to our success and ensuring compliance is the foundation of TrueCar's strategic commitment to dealers. We will not put our dealer partners in jeopardy," said Stewart Easterby, executive vice president of TrueCar Inc.
In response to bird-dogging or brokering laws most states have, the company is shifting to a subscription-based billing model in those states where there is a potential issue. TrueCar also reiterated that it does not sell dealer DMS data and does not use dealer DMS data for any purpose other than matching vehicle sales to customer leads and monitoring performance to enhance TrueCar's service to its dealer partners.
In addition to only collecting information with dealers' permission, TrueCar announced it is working with dealers to enhance dealers' control over access to and use of DMS data, including limiting the fields of data that are received from the DMS to those fields necessary to perform the sales matching function.
Changes will be made to the company’s website as well, said TrueCar officials. The company plans to develop new messages that focus on dealer attributes such as proximity, selection and service rather than simply price.
“Bottom line is we're out listening and talking to the industry. What we heard is that dealers feel our ads focused on price and did not tell a positive enough story about our dealer partners," said Stephen Hansen, president of TrueCar. “We've listened to their concerns and are making adjustments. Qualitative considerations that drive purchase other than price will have greater prominence in future ads.”
The company plans to introduce its first-ever National Dealer Council in the coming weeks, as the council will serve as a venue for TrueCar to hear dealer feedback on TrueCar's products, processes and policies. The company also will enable statistical and other tools to identify dealers with extreme price outliers.
Based on OEM feedback, TrueCar plans to introduce a new consumer membership program that will provide dealer partners with higher quality introductions from the company, according to TrueCar.
For more information, visit www.truecar.com.