Edmunds.com has enhanced its True Market Value car pricing product in a move that may pose a direct challenge to TrueCar.
The new Edmunds Express feature compares car prices to regional sales averages for the model and can be quickly used by dealers to validate the sticker prices of the cars on their lots while negotiating with prospective customers.
“They can show that price to consumers and then situate their price in a manner that will build consumer trust,” said President Seth Berkowitz. He added that most dealers make money in used car sales, financing, insurance and mechanical services, and are less inclined to waste time haggling over prices for new cars.
The service is free to dealers who use its paid marketing tools, such as its online car sale listing service Price Promise. Edmunds charges a monthly subscription for Price Promise listings.
Rather than charge dealers a subscription fee, TrueCar’s car-listing product charges dealers for each lead that results in a sale. Because of that business model, TrueCar has been hit by lawsuits from car dealers that charge the company is illegally operating as a car broker. Many dealers also resent TrueCar’s approach to price transparency, which they see as an effort to undercut their business model.
Lawsuits and stalled earnings growth led TrueCar Chief Executive Scott Painter to announce on Aug. 6 that he would step down by the end of the year.
Berkowitz noted that Edmunds has been able to maintain good relationships through a different approach to dealer relationships.
“Dealers understand that we are in the business of being transparent,” he said. “We know that dealers’ objectives are to build trust and to come to agreements in the fastest way possible.”