TrueCar Inc. of Santa Monica has begun overhauling its car price comparison platform.
The changes are part of an effort by TrueCar to earn back trust with its car dealer customers. Criticism of TrueCar had emerged from dealers who felt that the platform’s price transparency tools cut into their margins and misrepresented available car inventory.
TrueCar has opted to stop charging dealers for sales leads when a prospective customer visits a dealer’s lot first and then checks TrueCar for a price comparison. It has also eliminated price estimates for custom-built vehicles and now offers pricing for specific cars on a dealer’s lot.
Tensions between TrueCar and its dealers has resulted in several lawsuits filed by dealership groups. Ultimately, soured relations led to the departure of TrueCar’s founder and former Chief Executive Scott Painter last year.
The company hired Chip Perry as chief executive in November. He has made it his mission to improve dealer relations.
“When I came into the company I saw a very solid business model, but one that had many shortcomings in the way it was being executed,” said Perry, adding that the company is now solely focused on serving the needs of dealers first.
TrueCar has changed some of the marketing language on its website and is adjusting the way it presents cars to consumers, allowing dealers to present more information than just pricing, he added.