Cars.com Wants All the Reviews, Plans to Acquire DealerRater
If sales and service reviews were gold, Cars.com will soon the the richest third-party shopping website in all the land.
Cars.com plans to buy DealerRater, making it the largest soundboard of criticism and praise for dealers, salespeople and servicing in the industry, Automotive News reports.
Details of the purchase haven’t been released, but the deal is expected to close at the end of August. Once wrapped up, Cars.com will be able to bolster its own reviews (and new and used vehicle listings) with 14 years of sales and service feedback from DealerRater’s information bank.
In a statement, Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter said the acquisition positions his site as the one to beat. Speaking to Automotive News, he touched on the importance of user reviews when buying a vehicle.
“Online reviews are becoming more critical than ever in all shopping categories, but even more so in the auto category,” Vetter said. “[Consumers] trust reviews as much as they do their family and friends.”
DealerRater, founded by Chip Grueter in 2002, sees 14 million hits a month, and hosts about 2.5 million reviews. Earlier this year, it launched its CustomerConnect tool to showcase the best salespeople at certain dealers. Cars.com bowed in 1998, and currently has about 1.5 million reviews.
Gary Tucker, who took on the role of CEO at DealerRater in 2014, said both sites have a “strong strategic alignment.”
Last year, J.D. Power ranked Cars.com as the second best third-party vehicle shopping site, behind NADA guides, in terms of overall customer satisfaction. The site’s ranking was well above the industry average.
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