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From: Jared Hamilton
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Lindsey Auguste and Dennis Galbraith

Lindsey Auguste and Dennis Galbraith Investigative Reporters

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TrueCar Bouncing Back?

TrueCar came into 2012 with two huge problems, a business model under attack from all directions and a disastrous three-year agreement with Yahoo. Huge steps have been made on the former and now the latter has been restructured. We understand the number of dealer customers is back on the rise, but still not back to the firm's previous peak.

A few thousand dealers swear by the product, yet many swear they will never use it. Some in the industry even took their best shot at wiping TrueCar out. Is TrueCar bouncing back? It sure looks like it. At a minimum, the product appears to be here to stay.

Brian Pasch
From what I hear, TrueCar and Yahoo are parting ways. The Yahoo partnership was not generating anything NEAR the traffic TrueCar was promised. It doesn't surprise me when Cars.com walked away from Yahoo, it might have been the warning shot over the bow that Yahoo.com was charging more for that exclusivity than what it was worth. TrueCar has been investing significant resources to make their model compliant in the states where existing laws prohibit certain marketing strategies.
Brian Pasch
Automotive News covers story of the breakup of the exclusive deal with Yahoo: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120705/RETAIL01/120709928/1377/truecar-yahoo-end-exclusive-partnership
Dennis Galbraith
Until a few years ago, Cars.com and AutoTrader.com were in a bidding war to get their listings on other sites. AutoTrader.com listings were on Edmunds. For years, Cars.com listings were on kbb.com, then AutoTrader.com won the bid for kbb and eventually bought kbb out. Back when AutoTrader.com had their listings on both Edmunds and kbb at the same time, Cars.com badly needed their deal with Yahoo. These deals were worth many millions of dollars. Both Cars.com and AutoTrader.com began shifting their resources toward driving more traffic to their own sites and the bidding war began to cool down. TrueCar came in and paid more than anyone ever had for the Yahoo deal at a time when market demand for the relationship was actually declining. Since 2001, I've said that Yahoo is the best non-OEM in our industry at negotiations. It is part of their culture. But when you turn your partner into a victim, the fat profits don't last long. TrueCar has made mistakes. To its credit, it seems to have the ability to face those mistakes and correct course. To my mind, this is a bigger news than the agreement itself and an example for dealers and vendors alike.
Chris Costner
Understanding the opinions industry wide with TrueCar, my company has turned the switch back on and things seem to be running smooth. The leads aren't overwhelming and profit is still being made.
Steve Devereaux
So who is going to list their cars on Yahoo now? Where is Truecar going to advertise their used cars?

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