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TrueCar expects 60% hike in units sold by franchises in 2013

TrueCar Inc. sees a 60-percent surge in vehicles sold by participating dealerships in 2013 from the shopping site, to around 400,000 units, according to chief executive Scott Painter. He said that TrueCar now has 6,600 participating dealerships and is adding more to expand its geographic coverage. The company only had 3,200 franchises in 2012, no thanks to some regulatory issues.

According to Painter, TrueCar is profitable and participating dealerships are earning more from TrueCar leads. He said that average gross profit on lead sales has surged $100 per new vehicle to $350. He told Automotive News that TrueCar has shifted its marketing emphasis from offering the lowest price to the consumer not overpaying.

Painter led TrueCar's transformation in 2012 after the company was forced to temporarily suspend operations in several states to fix regulatory concerns on its advertising and pricing practices. As a result of the suspension, TrueCar posted $75 million in losses in 2012 on around $85 million of revenues. Painter got rid of the aggressive bidding among dealers for TrueCar customers, in which dealers could see the bids of other dealers.

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TrueCar announced that its service in Colorado state has been suspended

TrueCar.com has informed Colorado dealers that its service in the state has been suspended. In an e-mail to dealers, a Colorado TrueCar account manager said that the suspension is voluntary since the online auto shopping site manages state regulators to "conform to the rules of the road in your state." The Colorado auto regulators cautioned last December that participating TrueCar dealers could be in violation of some state laws. Thuy Adomitis, a TrueCar account manager, wrote that it will be able to resolve any regulatory issues by Jan. 17.

Adomitis said that the service will be reactivated, including having the account automatically reactivated. Last Dec. 15, the Colorado Department of Revenue said TrueCar's materials and Web site violate several state regulations, including advertising rules. The TrueCar business model makes it possible for dealers to breach bait-and-switch laws if the preferred vehicle isn’t available and the dealer tries to sell a different vehicle to the customer.

The regulatory agency said that TrueCar didn’t have all the required licenses. There are concerns about the TrueCar model’s legality that had been issued from regulators and dealer associations in several other states, such as Wisconsin, Kansas and Virginia. In a statement, TrueCar said that as of late last month, regulators from six states have contacted it.

Read the entire article TrueCar announced that its service in Colorado state has been suspended