Pat Watson has been named the vice president of industry relations at TrueCar Inc., an online shopping site and lead generator. He previously worked for 39 years, mostly as CEO, with the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association. He would have officially retired this month, but TrueCar founder Scott Painter came knocking and assigned him to the newly created position.
As the industry relations vice president, Watson is expected to make use of his inside knowledge of vehicle retailing and regulation and his years of networks in order to fix the relationship between TrueCar and its dealers in the United States. Specifically, he is responsible for the company's ties with dealer associations.
He shared that he intends to travel the nation to discuss how TrueCar has changed its model in order to serve the dealers better. He noted that in several states, the concerns of the dealers resulted to regulatory crackdowns. He explained that these concerns were brought about by the company's rapid growth and its inability to communicate its plans. Rebuilding the dealers' trust is no small order. In late 2011, TrueCar had around 5,700 participating dealer franchises. This was before the debate erupted on the company's advertising and other practices.