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By Brian Pasch
David Barkholz, a popular reporter from Automotive News, is once again breaking a very critical story that is impacting dealers. A number of dealers, who have been critical of TrueCar on automotive blogs, have received letters from the FTC.
According to Barkholz story:
"In a letter to dealers, the FTC said it is investigating whether some companies in the "retail automobile industry" committed anticompetitive acts "by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar."
I caught wind of the FTC action because one of my clients received a letter from the FTC. He was a vocal critic of TrueCar on automotive community blogs.
I will allow David to continue to cover the story but is there another story related to this action. Will website such as DrivingSales see less managers and executives of automotive dealerships share their opinions about vendors on blogs, forums, and comment areas?
Is the golden age of automotive blogging over? Will more dealership groups be writing polices THIS WEEK, forbidding their managers from participating on automotive forums that are open for the FTC to read?
To me, this looks like a ominous black cloud on the horizon. This is the warning shot over the bow. Is the FTC gunning for automotive retailers? Are their franchise laws, that have been in place for a hundred years, a subtext in this action?
What do you have to say about this recent FTC action?
Is your dealership considering limiting your actions on behalf of the dealership? Do you have a policy in place today that prohibits executives from blogging about OEM's or vendor partners?
I would also like to hear from the compliance companies that are part of DrivingSales. Has your phone been ringing as a result of the FTC's recent actions?
Brian Pasch, CEO