TrueCar.com is based on the premise that technology and Big Data could be utilized to provide a more reliable customer service experience for car buyers. (In other words, data and analytics could now be presented in an easy-to-digest form). The internet company was founded in 2005 by Delaware automotive-tech entrepreneur Scott Painter and several business partners. The idea of TrueCar.com was born out of the Painter’s initial company Zag.com who was looking to expand its back-end automotive buying services to compiling updated vehicle pricing data for consumers. Today, TrueCar offers more than one million used car listings and over 450,000 pre-owned vehicles in stock.

 

Rank Chart
Cars Listed
Car Loan Service
Our Score
#1
3+ million
Yes
7.6
#2
3+ million
Yes
7.4
#3
2.5 million+
Yes
6.7
#6
truecar
1.7 million+
No
5.9

The Good

Those looking for their next new or used car appreciate a way to make their purchase with no hassles. Truecar.com strives to give consumers exactly that experience. Before you walk into a dealership, you’ll be prepared ahead of time on what the car is actually worth.

Put in your zip code and the make of car you want in order to generate a report. You will be led to select a number of other options in order to fine-tune what type of vehicle and accessories you are looking for. Once your report is generated, you will be shown an easy-to-read graph that shows you a pricing curve of under-value, far, and over-market prices as well as a number of other factors. Truecar.com will also connect you with automotive dealers in your area that are selling that type of vehicle.

The Bad

TrueCar.com claims that you can search for a vehicle and get upfront pricing so you never have to overpay. However, there are a few makes and models that are not available on the website, so if you are looking for those cars you are out of luck. To avoid frustrating consumers, the website should have more options to choose from. Also be aware that your credit score will change the pricing data once you get to the dealership.

For the vehicles they do have, it is nice to see how the cost trends overtime. Plus, you get detailed information on the cars specs and how much you can figure on paying for the monthly payment. You can also find out how much negotiating room you have on the vehicle’s overall price tag.

The website is also a bit tricky to navigate around. There are no clear navigation tabs and you have to scroll down the page to find features to click on. Many of the features you will want to access are hidden from plain sight until you start exploring. The fair market vehicle pricing reports are extremely clear and easy to understand.

Be aware that the guaranteed savings certificates are not applicable in all states. Some consumers have complained that dealers have not honored the lowered price tags listed on these guaranteed savings certificates. We recommend TrueCar.com be used for educational purposes as a starting point when looking for your next vehicle. 

The Bottom Line

In terms of aggregating car listings using technology, TrueCar serves this very basic function; however, it fails to translate that data in what it promises to be “easily digestible” content. Aside from well-rated apps, its features don’t seem to be anything special. The same features can be found at competing sites with more features.

TrueCar.com will give you all the knowledge you need to purchase your next new or used car at a fair price. We recommend using Truecar.com’s tools to help with learning what the vehicle is worth. However, do your research and do not depend on the dealer certificates to be guaranteed savings.

 

Company Name: True Car, Inc.

Website: http://www.truecar.com

Time in Business: Truecar.com has been in business for 10 years. Business started: 03/03/2005.

 

Online Features:

  1. Used cars for sale: make/model, type, year, price.
  2. Haggle-free, guaranteed price quotes
  3. Rebates and incentives
  4. Access to local area dealerships
  5. Car Research
  6. In-Depth Vehicle Information
  7. Deals
  8. Factory Invoices
  9. Fees When Car Buying
  10. Local Market Pricing

Resources:

  1. New Car Price Reports
  2. Industry News and Recalls
  3. Blog with information on car incentives, financing , and more
  4. Sell My Car app
  5. ClearBook: analyzes millions of used car listings and sales transactions to determine used cars trade-in and expected selling price

 

Used Car Liquidation: Sell car free: must enter mobile phone number and they will send a link to the Sell My Car app directly to your phone- available from Google Play Store/iTunes

Mobile Ability:

TrueCar.com is a mobile-friendly site as tested on Google Developers’ Mobile Friendly Test: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?url=TrueCar.com

Nationwide: yes

Car Loan Education: none available on the website

Additional Information:

TrueCar’s mission is to transform the car-buying experience for consumers and the way that dealers attract customers and sell cars. We have established an intelligent, data-driven online platform operating on a common technology infrastructure, powered by proprietary data and analytics. We operate our company-branded platform on our TrueCar.com website. In addition, we customize and operate our platform for affinity group marketing partners, such as USAA and Consumer Reports, financial institutions, and other large enterprises such as Boeing and Verizon. We enable users to obtain market-based pricing data on new and used cars, and to connect with our network of TrueCar Certified Dealers.

We benefit consumers by providing information related to what others have paid for a make and model of car in their area and, where available, estimated prices for that make and model of car, which we refer to as upfront pricing information, from our network of TrueCar Certified Dealers. This upfront pricing information generally includes guaranteed savings off MSRP which the consumer may then take to the dealer in the form of a Guaranteed Savings Certificate and apply toward the purchase of the specified make and model of car. We benefit our network of TrueCar Certified Dealers by enabling them to attract these informed, in-market consumers in a cost-effective, accountable manner, which we believe helps them to sell more cars. Our network of over 7,000 TrueCar Certified Dealers consists primarily of new car franchises, representing all major makes of cars, as well as independent dealers. TrueCar Certified Dealers operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Fees: no fees to use truecar.com’s website or to access a far market pricing report.

How pricing works: Truecar.com shows all the fees and other charges included in a dealer’s and manufacturer’s pricing of a new or used vehicle.

Contact Info:

Phone Number: (424) 258-8000

Address: 225 Santa Monica Blvd # 12, Santa Monica, CA 90401-2219

Toll Free #: (800) 200-2000

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