Third-Party Auto Website Executives Offer Insight on Business Models

Automotive Marketing Roundtable 2013 DSC_4280-SThird-party automotive website executives offered their observations about vehicle price transparency during a panel discussion at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. More excerpts from the panel discussion that was moderated by Joel Ewanick, former automotive marketing executive and now managing partner of Global Auto Systems, are highlighted in today’s post.

 Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO, Edmunds.com

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president, Cars.com

Joel: You’re very different in how you collect your data—so tell me Seth (Edmunds) why is your data so much better than their data?

 Seth (Edmunds): “I guess we see ourselves across the panel as being least competitive with Cars.com. We respect what they are doing: with the classifieds industry and what they have done in used cars—that’s not really our core space. That might change in the future. I think our biggest differences are with TrueCar and with Kelley Blue Book. . . While we were the company 20 years ago that introduced invoice price, and published it for the first time, we’re actually moving in a completely different direction. . . We are going to have dealers provide actual prices on individual vehicles and then we are going to tell what other people are paying. We have our Price-Promise program, now where you get those actual prices. . . Over the coming months, you’re going to see invoice stripped off behind warning labels where you have to click to get it because we believe that it’s not servicing people anymore and it creates confusion.”

Alex (Cars.com): “Putting a price on a transaction that we know is wildly complex creates distrust in the industry. The expectation that this is the price you are going to pay—is not something that any website [represented] here can actually deliver because so much goes into the pricing at the retail store. We rely on dealer participation to drive that pricing.” Continue reading ›

U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales in September Best Since 2008

Retail light-vehicle sales during the last week of September were much stronger than expected, pushing up the month’s retail seasonally adjusted sales pace, or SAAR, to 12.4 million units—the second highest average retail pace this year, according to analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Total sales were strong as well—highest since March 2008—and finished with a 14.9 million SAAR.

In September, retail car and light-truck deliveries climbed 16.8%* from last year to just under (2,700 units less) 1 million units At the same time, September retail totals slipped 1.5% from a strong retail performance in August, when adjusted on a selling-day basis. Yet, September’s retail SAAR was 1.9 million units stronger than in the same month of 2011.

Fleet sales declined 4.1% and accounted for only 16% of total sales in September, which was down from a 19% share of total sales a year ago. Nearly 190,000 fleet units were delivered. The fleet SAAR averaged 2.5 million units—up 600,000 units from last month, but down 100,000 units from September 2011. Continue reading ›