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Cars.com Employee Responds To The Internet Sales 20 Group Invite...

Unfortunately, Chip Withrow responded to the Video Invite to set the record straight for 200+ dealers at the Internet Sales 20 Group in New York May 18-20 

I don't think that AutoTrader.com and Cars.com will respond. Why? You said you were looking for responses from lead providers and the afore mentioned companies are advertisers that direct in-market shoppers to the dealer. Why would A consumer call or email if all the information I need can be found online with the exception of a test drive?

*** All I can say is that dealers are FURIOUS. It is blowing up all over the Internet. Inside private groups dealer principals and GMs are shaking their heads… 

Here are the comments just on the video thread: (Its even more on Social Media…) 

This will be game changing if the players have enough game to show up! Good luck! you need to get AutoDealerLive there to broadcast it live!
I don't think that AutoTrader.com and Cars.com will respond. Why? You said you were looking for responses from lead providers and the afore mentioned companies are advertisers that direct in-market shoppers to the dealer. Why would A consumer call or email if all the information I need can be found online with the exception of a test drive?
Straight up called them out! Lights.Camera.Action.
As a dealer representative, I would like some answers, not smoke and mirrors, but answers. Any company not having anything to hide and truly helps dealers would jump at this chance! The ones that don't are going to be the ones that will see their last check from my dealership. Social media in this day and age is a powerful thing. The invite is out there and was extended by one of the top automotive professionals there is and backed by many more.
Chip's (a Cars.com employee) comments ARE EXACTLY why this panel needs to happen, and I'll hope that those private DMs and emails Sean and I have been receiving from the folks in positions like Chip's will come to fruition and the local reps and regional managers push their VPs and C-level executives to respond. Autotrader alone has 7 VPs or Presidents that should be able to find the time to answer to their customers with 6-7 weeks notice.  Listen, as dealers, vendors, and manufacturers, we have a RIGHT to transparency when those same companies are the ones offering that same transparency. If these companies are going to send us stats on SRPs, VDPs, Price to Market, CALLS, EMAILS, website click-throughs, etc., to justify ROI, you CANNOT simply just say 'oh, well we provide all this other exposure too and we're really just a classifieds company.' It is one, or the other. You can't collect funds by saying you're doing one thing, and then justify that bill by saying you do another.
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http://www.internetsales20group.com http://www.dealersynergy.com

Sean V. Bradley & Internet Director, Matthew Sears Discuss Autotrader & Conventional Marketing / Advertising...

Automotive Internet Sales recently had Internet Sales Director, Matthew Sears at corporate headquarters in New Jersey. We sat down with Matt and answered some of his questions about "Traditional" Marketing and Advertising. Sean talked about the importance of Internet advertising. When 92-99% of prospects are going online BEFORE they step foot into the dealership... It becomes a no-brainer and combine that with the fact that Internet advertising is LESS than $200 per car, where as traditional is over $600 per car in advertising as per NADA.

For more information and training videos, goto http://www.automotivedigitaltraining.com

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Ok so after just speaking to Sean Bradley about the whole CARGURUS situation. I was looking through my personal emails. Like many  of you out there I recently submitted leads to cars.com and cargurus and within 48 hours received my wonderful "Hey here's 8 similar cars". I through my little fit ran around with the rest of the tribe and made a fuss posting my Negative feeling towards these lovely money sucking maggots dealer friendly vendors. So today I received an email that brings me to a whole new level of just "WHAT THE HELLDOM" So today almost a week after the initial lead submission I received the following email.

 

So I am no longer getting the 8 similar cars emails. I just received most likely every damn Honda Accord In New York...  Now as a consumer I would look at this the same way I did as a dealer. "WHAT THE HELL" At this point I am all for a good old fashioned village mob scene and storm Cargurus who's with me.

 

-Eric Nichols-

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http://www.internetsales20group.com

Jim Ziegler and Tim Martell Talk Cars.com Controversy | Wikimotive Podcasts #1

Jim Ziegler and Tim Martell discuss the Cars.com controversy. When a consumer submits a lead on a paying dealer's inventory, is it wrong for cars.com to feed the consumer the competition's inventory too?

facebook.com/jamesaziegler
facebook.com/wikimotive
twitter.com/wikimotive

Citations:
http://www.carpricesecrets.com
http://www.whypaysticker.com
http://www.carsguru.com

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Confessions Of An Ex-Cars.com Employee - "Cars.com Takes Dealers' Money & Then Slams Them Behind Their Back"

As a former cars.com employee, here are three of the Santa Monica sites (not sure if they have more now). NOTE: The Santa Monica sites used to power the NewLeadsPlus pay-per-lead program but I'm not sure if they feed the numbers into the Cars.com numbers now when they report leads or VDPs. I was told by a Cars.com employee at one point, that they included the numbers from these sites in their new car lead reporting numbers which brings me to the point I have always said:

Advertisers who say "we aren't about leads" are being condescending to Dealers. EVERY AD is designed for one thing if I am giving you money: To give me more customers to speak to so I can try to sell them. Whether you call those customers "customers" or "opportunities", at the end of the day these are leads. Advertisers stopped focusing on leads and started focusing on VDPs when their lead volumes went in the toilet.

Here are excerpts from the 3 Santa Monica Sites so that Dealers can see for themselves how they are portrayed to the consumer...a.k.a. the potential lead. (Wonder why consumers think ill of Dealers in spite of all the hard work Dealers have done to improve their reputations? Maybe it's because the people you are paying encourage that thought process so that the consumer will trust them before trusting you!) Don't believe it? Read on.

www.whypaysticker.com

(NOTE THE LOOK OF THE EVIL SALESMAN)

Excerpts from the landing page:

The old fashioned way (basically, this is their representation of the Dealer experience)

1. You can't leave. You're pressured to buy the car today, without the chance to comparison shop.

2. Endless negotiation. You're stuck for hours going head-to-head with a salesman.

3. You're overwhelmed by numbers. APRs, fees, payment schedules—you have to sign right away and there's no time to think.

Your inventory is powering this site from the place that supposedly treats you as important. Really? How can anyone do this in good conscience!

www.carpricesecrets.com

Site excerpts

1. "Did you know every New Car has a secret price?"

2. "It's the price you'll never see published in the paper."

3. "Discover the dealer's secret price."

It get's better in the description area when you scroll down:

"Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase."

"Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership. How can you maximize your value?"

They start with many sentences that sound dealer friendly and then WHACH...they remind the customer that even though many dealers are nice, they could get screwed over by some so better just submit a lead because you can't really know which dealers are trustworthy. Read it yourself gang, don't just take my word for it.

Does that sound like the type of actions taken by a site advocating or even supporting dealers? NO - and your inventory is used to power this site too!

www.newcars.com

This is the only site that actually bears the Cars.com branding and doesn't appear to have anti-dealer language. Interesting that they only put their branding on the site that doesn't make the dealer look like a crook. I wonder why?

The real question is how many of these non-dealer friendly sites are they powering with YOUR INVENTORY? And of their 'partners' like Autotegrity.com, how many partners does Autotegrity share your inventory with...and how many do their partners share with...etc?

Source:

http://www.dealerelite.net/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?commentId=5283893%3AComment%3A368386&xg_source=msg_com_blogpost

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Dear Cars.com.....

Dear Cars.com,

I would like to volunteer to participate in the email program that you recently pulled.  I must say, Cars.com, I am a little disappointed in your missed opportunity to defend yourself.

To begin with, I am a dealer.  I am not an industry expert, nor do I give a Google about MOST of the arguments made on both sides of this discussion.  I am used to dealing with mathematics and that is exactly why this topic interests me.

Let me make sure I understand correctly.

I get a lead on one of the vehicles that I have listed with you.  Check.

I have three full days to work that lead and then you send them an email with my vehicle and possibly some competing vehicles.  Check. (and yet another email a few days later…)

If ANOTHER dealer gets a lead on one of THEIR vehicles, then Cars.com sends THEIR lead emails a few days later with perhaps one of MY vehicles in it.  Check.

So my vehicle was exposed to the customer on the initial lead (exposure #1), then in the first email (#2), then in the second email (#3), and possible in my competitors first (#4) and second (#5) emails on a like vehicle. Check.

If I am following up with my leads better than my competition, then my inventory simply gets exposed to more customers with more frequency, whether it is my store’s initial lead and the subsequent follow-up emails or the result of your follow-up emails to my sleepy competitors.

More vehicle exposures + more customers + good follow-up processes + thoughtful pricing/quality photos/good descriptions = More Sales

If I feared my competition, this program would terrify me.

But, until that day comes……….Sign me up.

Who’s your Danny?

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I truly belive in all my heart that CARS.COM is trying to do the right thing!!

THANK YOU to all of the dealers, Trainers/Consultants/Advocates, especially Jim Ziegler and Sean V. Bradley that made noise about this new program that was launched.

As of today here is a message from them :

http://dealeradvantage.cars.com/da/2013/05/moving-forward-testing-new-ways-to-drive-exposure/

He did also refer to a 23 minute video from Brian Pasch FOR the idea, which I have personally NOT watched.  I think overall, this "test" was a good and bad one.

Good - we are engaging customers more and following up, and anything that does slip through the cracks on the dealership level, we can find out if the customer is still on the market with another automated email process. This does increase value to Cars.com to me as a dealership....ONLY if we fix the BAD!

BAD - ...which really should be "horrible"!  Bottom line, a company we are paying for a car buyer...is now turning that buyer into a shopper with other suggestions.  They are also providing financing options and other 3rd party validations, and that part is OUR JOB as the dealership to do! 

**(Please refer to Robert Wiesman article EXACTLY about that written a few days ago!)

We can ALL work together (aka Synergize!!) to make this a HUGE WIN/WIN/WIN situation for us as the dealership, Cars.com as a trusted vendor and advertiser, AND the customer looking for the best deal!

 

Andy Fedo

Director of Internet Sales, Lithia Nissan Hyundai of Fresno

afedo3@yahoo.com

 

 

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http://www.automotiveinternetsales.com 267-319-6776

Here is the thread on the Cars.com situation...

http://automotiveinternetsales.com/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

Automotive Internet Sales Reviews Jim Ziegler's Concerns About Cars.com & Brian Pasch's Response...

The subject of http://www.cars.com has been getting pretty heated lately. It has achieved over 6,000 views on the local blogs like:

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

http://www.dealerelite.net/profiles/blogs/double-cross-or-not-a-double-cross?xg_source=activity

Brian Pasch, CEO of http://www.pcgdigitalmarketing.com/company/meet-our-team/brian-pasch/ has come out and said that Jim Ziegler is wrong and he thinks that Cars.com is NOT doing anything wrong. As a matter of fact, Brian has created a blog post

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/profiles/blogs/jim-ziegler-has-the-cars-com-marketing-strategy-all-wrong?xg_source=activity

That basically says that Jim has it all wrong...

I shot this video to explain why I support Jim Ziegler's point of view on the Cars.com situation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me-

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