Details of AutoNation, TrueCar Split Coming Into View

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Details between the AutoNation and TrueCar split are becoming clear, Automotive News is reporting.

After yesterday’s announcement that the web service and nationwide dealership chain were splitting up — in which AutoNation laid most of the blame on unreasonable demands by TrueCar during contract negotiations — the company’s respective CEOs have been getting nasty.

“Our partnership with AutoNation just turned into, in a very real sense, a choice for the consumer,” TrueCar CEO Scott Painter told Automotive News. “It really makes them our competition.”

Automotive News details the dust-up between AutoNation and TrueCar as a war fought over customer data. Roughly 3 percent of AutoNation’s sales could be directly attributed to TrueCar leads, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told Automotive News. TrueCar asked for data on all of AutoNation’s 550,000 annual car sales.

“It’s none of their business,” Jackson said.

TrueCar may have asked AutoNation to comply with rules it enforces with other dealers.

“This isn’t AutoNation dropping TrueCar,” Painter told Automotive News. “This is a very deliberate step on our part. We went to them and said, ‘You must comply with the rules.’”

The added layers of intrigue come from the quickly intersecting business models by AutoNation and TrueCar. TrueCar is rapidly developing dealer-esque services, and AutoNation announced last year they’d move away from third-party vendors like TrueCar to develop their own web-based lead generation.

TrueCar has been beset with several setbacks in recent years, and its customer data collection has come under fire, as well.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • Jimal Jimal on Jul 10, 2015

    Why would any dealer in their right mind give TrueCar carte blanche access to their sales data?

    • See 3 previous
    • Kyree Kyree on Jul 11, 2015

      @Jimal TrueCar's biggest use of this data is probably for the calculation of its average transaction price on each model...and also to make sure that dealerships are complying and paying for all of the TrueCar leads that turn into sales...

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 10, 2015

    I hope others follow AutoNation's lead and dump TrueCar by the side of the road.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Jul 10, 2015

    I'm very disappointed that USAA's car buying service punted to TruCar.

    • TMA1 TMA1 on Jul 13, 2015

      What was it like before? I've only seen the Truecar model.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jul 12, 2015

    Auto Nation made the smart move. True Car is but one of many competing "lead generation" sites, and Auto Nation has enough muscle of its own to be able to ignore them. Why buckle under to demands for customer data?