Most recently there has been a bold new wave washing over the automotive dealership landscape. Beginning with TrueCar, whose CEO bragged about using data to eliminate dealerships and  lower profits below True Cost. He arrogantly taunted us with claims of "Transparency" which has become the "Buzz Word" of every vendor using our own data to virtually put us out of business, to steal our customers information, and sell it, pass it on to their affiliate companies, and otherwise resell it to third and fourth parties. 

WELL, the revolution is here... and we, the dealers, managers, and industry loyalists are committed to locking down the DATA. Remember, cockroaches run when you shine a light on them. 

We realize that vendors need access to SOME DATA to be able to perform their services BUT, virtually every vendor taking Data from the dealers- Data that ultimately shows up elsewhere being used against us - every vendor is taking far more Data than necessary and making dealers sign agreements that they can resell it, and pass it to affiliates, and that the VENDOR OWNS your customer data. 

So many Dealers have signed contracts that THE VENDOR OWNS YOUR DATA.

THAT IS SO WRONG. By what right does any vendor you are paying have to claim to own your customers? That is total backwards crap and you know it. DEALERS-Your data is your BLUE SKY and you are signing contracts that allow vendors to own your customers and steal your legacy. 

These vendors include, DMS Providers, CRM Companies, Lead Providers, Third Party Aggregators... and others, there are even OEMs (Manufacturers) stealing data from service and sales and even finance information on your customers and redistributing it.

The purpose of this BLOG is THE FIRST SHOT in the Data Reclamation Revolution. 

We intend to educate Dealers as to what vendors are lifting your DATA... what they're doing with Your Data... Who they're selling it to or passing it along to. 

Remember, the dealer is legally and liabilally responsible for the privacy and security of your data, not the vendor that contractually stole it and sold it. 

AND we urge Dealers to responsibly call all of these vendors to task... either rewrite your contract or Cancel Them.

It is the purpose of this BLOG to expose those vendors and publish the offending parts of their agreements here. Remember, the vendor that screams loudest is probably the most guilty. JIM

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Comment by David T. Gould on March 30, 2012 at 11:28am

@ Thomas. Does the technology exist to piece together data. Yes. Does TrueCar want dealers (and the government) to believe they are accessing the data that way. Yes. Do they have that technology themselves. No.

There is no source that can provide the direct sales transaction data that quickly except the dealers themselves. We can see a marked difference already in my area from those dealers that have opted out of TrueCar's race to the bottom. TrueCar needs data to feed the beast. Cut off the data... Kill the beast. Dealers need to lock down data that can and will be used against them. This is doable today. Contact your DMS provider and get informed on which "fields" are being transmitted with "data polling" to which providers. Lock down (deny access) to the highest priority fields to protect your dealership and customers. Next area to watch is F&I. Software providers do not need to poll data that is being submitted directly to them. Privacy contracts are probably the only solution there. Lastly, "seed" and monitor your data and vendors to verify when and where leaks are happening. Seeding, would be loading a fake or close in deal with information you know is incorrect to verify it is coming from that single source. 

Noted: this is just the simple opinion of a car sales representative.

Good Selling,


Comment by doug wolford on March 30, 2012 at 9:16am

Jim, great post. So true. Dont forget that by using the facory's service reminder plans you allow them to have access to all your customer data on cars with high miles which is the dealers sweet spot for service income and trades. The factory will use your hard work on collecting emails etc and then they will market YOUR CUSTOMERS to the fcatory sites which is shared with your competing dealers. Keep up your charge for the dealers.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on March 30, 2012 at 8:32am

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 19, 2012 at 4:56pm

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 19, 2012 at 3:40pm are correct in my opinion

My opinion and a couple of bucks might get you a coffee a McDonalds.

Comment by Orest D Serwylo on February 19, 2012 at 3:07pm

Thomas, I totally agree with you on TrueCar, my point is that we freely give out information without due dilligance.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 19, 2012 at 2:53pm

We don't pay Facebook to gather info on me and use it against TrueCar has dealers. To my knowledge, Facebook has not told my friends, associates and my customers that I am a bad TrueCar has portrayed dealers to be while taking their money.  To date, I'll take my chances with Facebook....TrueCar, not for a minute.

Comment by Orest D Serwylo on February 19, 2012 at 2:28pm

Thomas, I like your comment

 "While most will acknowledge the use of such software I suspect, I also believe they would ask us to believe it is not their intended use and that anything gleaned would be unintentional or a byproduct. I do not believe it for a minute, I have learned not to believe or trust TrueCar, they have given many lessons on the subject"

The handing over of information without thinking is not only what we do as an industry, look at FACEBOOK, probably the greatest database in the world, where we as a society freely give information out! 


Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 19, 2012 at 10:28am

I submit that with or without access to dealers DMS, TrueCar is able to extrapolate every detail of every auto transaction they chose to look at with high precision and a low rate of false positives. DMS access serves only to confirm with 100% accuracy what they already can know through their highly accurate machine learning processes. What was never intended to be known, IS known, with amazing accuracy. 30 plus data bases according to Painter himself. Cutting off access to our customers information from our DMS is the right thing to do. It will not stop or even slow TC or anyone else with the ability to purchase the "knowns" to determine the "unknowns". I am most concerned with the ethics of assembling, extrapolating and concluding what should remain private information. What is apparently legal does not mean it is acceptable or ethical. This is how I see the Data Wars shaping up anyways.

While most will acknowledge the use of such software I suspect, I also believe they would ask us to believe it is not their intended use and that anything gleaned would be unintentional or a byproduct. I do not believe it for a minute, I have learned not to believe or trust TrueCar, they have given many lessons on the subject..

What is your opinion on the ethics of machine learning what was never intended to be known about a vehicle transaction?

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on February 19, 2012 at 10:28am

Looking for a job?...TrueCar may need your help.

Statistician / Data Mining Specialist


Statistician/Data Mining Specialist Santa Monica, CA

Who We Are: TrueCar, Inc. is a revolutionary Internet company that is fundamentally changing the automotive industry. Our business model is innovative and profitable: we’re creating a transparent, intelligent automotive marketplace that benefits both buyers and sellers, using technology to ensure dealers thrive and consumers get a great price. Since its launch in 2006, TrueCar has facilitated the sale of over 400,000 new and used vehicles, and works with a nationwide network of over 5,000 dealers. Our partners include some of the most prominent brands in the U.S., including Consumer Reports, AAA, USAA, GEICO, Progressive, American Express, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Yahoo Autos, AOL Autos and U.S. News. Our acquisition strategy recently resulted in the purchase of automotive residual values industry leader ALG as well. With triple digit revenue growth and offices in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Austin, we’ve made the list of fastest growing companies for both Inc. Magazine and Los Angeles Business Journal and our growth in 2012 is expected to more than double. Now, we need more great people to help us pull off the next big thing. Join us.

Who We're Looking For: Right now, we’re looking for a Statistician/Data Mining Specialist who will work on a wide range of projects from transaction price modeling, forecasting, to multivariate testing and marketing analytics, utilize the latest technologies to solve challenging problems, create innovative applications from the ground up and understand exactly what it takes to create a reliable Web experience for our customers. Responsibilities:

• Develop statistical models to predict vehicle pricing

• Track and analyze model parameters and estimates over time

• Construct forecasts of key industry metrics

• Create implementable design specifications for product innovations

• Perform multivariate testing on website design

• Analyze and optimize search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns

• Work closely within a team of highly experienced, analytically inclined professionals

• Execute ad hoc data analyses in response to business requests

Work cross-functionally within the organization to deliver integrated business intelligence solutions Qualifications:

• Masters or Ph.D. in Statistics, Econometrics, Operations Research, Data Mining, or Biostatistics

• 5+ years’ experience in an analytics environment

• Strong SAS programming skills

• Experience with SQL (Proc SQL, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, or MySQL)

• Solid understanding and experience with processing large data files to relational data

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