SANTA MONICA, Calif. — On Sunday, March 27, TrueCar announced plans to overhaul its business model in an attempt to win back dealers after a tumultuous 2015, a year marked by the departure of its founder and several key executives, as well as the well-publicized loss of a major dealer client in AutoNation.
Along with a press release announcing its new Dealer Pledge initiative, the company posted a video of CEO Chip Perry explaining the company’s sharp refocus in its philosophy. His main message: “Dealers are our true customers.”
“Now that I’m at TrueCar, I’m totally committed to making this company a positive force in our industry and a powerful resource for your dealership,” said Perry, who joined TrueCar in the dual role of president and CEO this past December. “I know we have a long way to go to be seen that way by many dealers and you have every right to be skeptical.”
Many of the changes detailed in the company’s press release are designed to address dealer concerns about the vehicle information site. Perry, who said he’s visited dozens of dealerships to get their feedback, added that the adjustments will improve transparency for consumers.
According to the press release, TrueCar plans to improve the accuracy of local pricing information for vehicles. It will also post information about dealerships so its dealer clients can compete for customers on factors other than vehicle pricing. The company also plans to hire more than 100 field service consultants to help dealers make better use of TrueCar’s data tools.
The vehicle information site also announced it has eliminated estimated pricing for generic new vehicles from unnamed dealers. It will also be adjusting its data policies, billing model and billing practices in the months to come.
This past summer, TrueCar lost 600 franchised dealers, including AutoNation on July 9. In August, company founder Scott Painter announced he would step down as CEO and vacate his positions as chairman and member of the firm’s board of directors.
In mid-September, TrueCar suffered another hit when John Krafcik, who was named president of the firm in May 2014, was hired away by Google to head its autonomous car division. Larry Dominique, the company’s former vice president of industry relations, also announced his departure from the company following Painter’s resignation.
In announcing the company’s Dealer Pledge initiative, Perry assured dealers that things would be different this time around. “Consumers want good pricing transparency and we are giving that to them in the most simple and elegant way among all the third-party sites in the industry,” Perry said. “I believe these changes strongly enhance that transparency while also improving the value we provide to our dealer customers.”
To read more about TrueCar’s Dealer Pledge initiative, click here.