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TrueCar+ online sales tool headed to more markets this year, CEO says

TrueCar CEO Mike Darrow said the company hopes to expand its TrueCar+ digital sales tool into additional markets by the third quarter, with used vehicles likely expanding faster than new vehicles.

Darrow told Automotive News on Friday that the goal is to have used vehicles available nationwide through TrueCar+ early in 2023 and new vehicles available in three to four more markets outside of Florida along the East Coast by the end of this year.

And TrueCar’s acquisition this month of digital retailing provider Digital Motors already has produced new features for TrueCar’s own online sales platform.

The integration of Digital Motors’ technology comes as TrueCar, of Santa Monica, Calif., aims to expand the reach of its TrueCar+ tool, which allows consumers to choose a vehicle, set up financing, add protection products, arrange delivery and complete a transaction all primarily within TrueCar’s platform. It started as a pilot in Tampa, Fla., in September and expanded to other markets in that state for a public launch in March.

Darrow said that Digital Motors’ technology is helping to power a menu of vehicle protection products that consumers can select inside TrueCar+.

“We’ve already got them integrated in. They’re very nimble,” Darrow said following a presentation at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit. “We think they’re going to be a good add for us. And they’ve done or worked on many of the things that we’re working to bring to market, so we think they can definitely accelerate us getting there.”

Digital Motors, founded by Andy Hinrichs, went live in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, months earlier than planned. Darrow in May said TrueCar was considering acquisitions that could provide “smart, tuck-in opportunities” that could advance TrueCar’s own technology platform.

“We think they’re going to accelerate us years in getting things out there,” Darrow said. “And it gives us an extra development team. It gives us some experience in areas that we didn’t have it.”

TrueCar aims to be a vehicle listings marketplace that connects vehicle buyers and sellers, Darrow told the Automotive Press Association. Auto retail is changing, he said, with new entrants bringing new online sales models — from startup electric vehicle manufacturers to digital used-vehicle retailers such as Carvana and Vroom.

Automakers, too, are expanding into the space. But Darrow said he believes marketplace sales platforms such as TrueCar+ have a role to play alongside the other models, including to allow consumers to cross-shop brands.

“We can help consumers sift their way through what brand are they interested in, and if that brand has an order system that they want us to flow the orders through, we can do that just as well,” he said.

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