Purecars.com – is it worth it?

I was running through a dealer’s website the other day and came across Purecars.com on their website.  I haven’t heard much about Purecars.com in a while and decided to look at it again.  I started a thread in the forums to gauge whether anyone was doing anything with it and not much has been said, but then I came across this statement on their dealer page.

The PureCars Pricing Graph

The number one concern used car buyers have is price. With hundreds of customers clicking the PureCars Value Report button found on every used vehicle page on your website, we’ll independently verify for customers when you’re priced below market. Customers will see the PureCars Pricing Graph when they’re getting a great price, and if you’re priced above market, there’s no worries, as the PureCars Value Report will automatically showcase all of the other known value highlights of your vehicles such as Vehicle Certification, Owner and Accident History, Low Miles, and Popular Color, among others.

This got me thinking “how does Purecars.com make a car that is priced too high appear to be a good value for a customer?”  This program sounds really good!

So I dug a little further.  Here is a PureCars report for a 2006 Subaru Forester that looks to be priced a little high:  http://www.purecars.com/ValueReport/ValueReport3.aspx?vehicleID=5590043

Things to note:

  • LL Bean Edition
  • $18,881 price tag
  • PureCars is looking at a 150+ mile radius

Using this dealer’s zip code on Autotrader.com (01702) by advanced searching for a 2006 Subaru Forester with the keyword “bean” in a 100 mile radius I found these Autotrader results (keep in mind these results will change over time).

Things to note:

  • Out of 15 results, only 2 are more expensive than the car in the provided PureCars report
  • I only searched within 100 miles

And another link from another used car marketing site to look at for this example:  CarGurus search for a Forester around 01702 (these results will change over time).

This PureCars example obviously stacks the cards in favor of the dealer, but are customers gullible enough to fall for this?  Sooooo, are you using PureCars and is it working for you?  Any other opinions?

Alex Snyder

Alex was one of the automotive industry's first eCommerce Directors. Whether it is the latest Internet trend or the oldest selling philosophy, Alex Snyder has a unique approach to the automotive business because of his years of experience. During these years Alex was introduced to Jeff and became a integral part of DealerRefresh. Alex has since moved from the front line of the dealership and is now the Senior Director of Product Design at Dealer.com

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “Purecars.com – is it worth it?

  1. It has promise, I see what they're trying to do, but, Auto shoppers are already highly suspicious of dealers generating research info, this is why a dealer based shopping research portal never took off.

    Dealer sponsorship (participation) is all over it. They need to display some more independence.

    They should name it…

    Never-a-Discouraging-Word.com

    or

    Theres-an-ass-for-every-seat.com

  2. Hi Alex,

    I can’t speak on behalf of my company, nor would I ever want to talk bad about a possible competitor. As someone who presents and sells vAuto and RealDeal on a daily basis, I’ll respond to Andrew Wright’s comment in the forum, “Conceptually this looks very interesting but isn't this kind of a competitor to vAuto's RealDeal?” I may be able to point out some profound differences between the systems.

    Importantly, RealDeal will show every vehicle that matches the criteria set by the dealer. This includes distance from the dealer, make, model, trim level and extends all the way down to options. vAuto’s AutoMatch™ Technology makes this possible. We don’t simply do a VIN explosion; our computers actually read the listings from over 40,000 websites. This allows a vAuto RealDeal dealer to know, with confidence, where their vehicle ranks compared with other identically equipped cars in the market.

    Rather than show only one live, matching, vehicle and 5 sold units as in Alex’s example, RealDeal will show the entire matching list of cars. Why wouldn’t you want to filter out cars that cast your vehicle in a bad light? Confidence and credibility.

    Let’s look at how and why RealDeal is used. First, we won’t sell RealDeal to a dealer that doesn’t use vAuto. A dealer needs to know exactly where their vehicles are positioned against their competition. vAuto provides this crucial data. Each individual vehicle is ranked against every matching vehicle in their market. vAuto dealers also know the supply and demand situation on each specific vehicle. The dealer then positions each vehicle to get maximum expose and the maximum “clicks”. Vehicles in oversupply with limited demand are priced most aggressively while short-supply, high-demand vehicles don’t need to be the least expensive in the market – with high-demand and short-supply they’ll still turn quickly and allow for higher grosses. vAuto dealers use their knowledge of the market to stock more short-supply, high demand vehicles than their competitors.

    When cars are priced in this manner, a dealer gets the maximum exposure and activity, but doesn’t have thousands to give away in negotiation. Here’s where RealDeal comes in. After the market-based pricing attracts a customer, they’ve shown for their appointment and taken a test drive, the salesman sits the customer down at his desk. At a traditional dealership, the salesman grabs a coffee or coke for the customer and gets ready for the inevitable negotiation. At a RealDeal dealer, the salesman stops at the tower, checks with his manager and they configure a RealDeal report. They can eliminate some competing vehicles by adjusting the filter criteria, but any vehicle that matches the criteria will be shown. The salesman returns to the customer and presents the RealDeal report before any negotiation has occurred. “Mr. Customer, let me show you what we’ve done for you. Before we price any car, we check the entire market. We set our pricing to be one of the absolute best values in the market.” The “I saw one across town for $2000 less” argument is gone!

    RealDeal dealers report negotiations resulting in average discounts as small $200 to $300 and it’s a boon for One-Price dealerships. RealDeal allows documentation to replace negotiation. A salesman can approach this part of the process with full confidence because the data is comprehensive and correct. Would they have the same confidence presenting a report showing almost no live competition on a car that’s actually plentiful? Imagine being called out by a customer when you present a report that’s removed any and all cars that are priced less. Your credibility would be shot and your confidence in the system provided by your dealership would be gone.

    RealDeal is not designed to “trick” a customer into thinking they are getting a good value. It’s designed to justify, with complete and accurate documentation, a price that actually is a good value.

    • Ed, thanks for explaining RealDeal in such detail.

      I can understand why you wouldn't sell this to vAuto customers only and why most dealers are reluctant to use such a transparent tool.

      I like using a tool such as RealDeal as a tool for face to face objections and closing but my jury is still out for having it on the website. We often give consumers too much credit, thinking they know more than they really do.

      You said " vAuto dealers use their knowledge of the market to stock more short-supply, high demand vehicles than their competitors".

      What happens when over 70% of dealers in a market/region is using tool like vAuto?

  3. Jeff, Thanks for the reply and the thoughtful questions. Let me take them in order:

    1.) Regarding reluctance to use "such a transparent tool": vAuto dealers understand that the transparency is inherent in the new online marketplace and use RealDeal to justify the price – and transact the deal at as close to the advertised price as possible.

    2.) Face to face vs. website usage: Not all dealers integrate RealDeal into their websites. It can also be used face to face or a RealDeal Report can be sent out with an email quote. The salesman can work with the customer to "eliminate" cars that don't meet the customer’s requirements, cars with the wrong color, high mileage, non-certified etc. The beauty of the emailed report is the dealer knows when and how often the customer is accessing the report. This really lets you know when you need to follow up with a customer.

    Dealers that integrate RealDeal into their websites are dealers that are very confident their pricing is truly competitive. Now think about the competing system and the example Alex was using. The customer is home or at work, on the computer. They look at a vehicle with only one live example, and that single example is more expensive then the car they are considering. What are the odds that customer either has or will check ATC or Cars.com? When they find that there are a dozen or more cars – identically equipped – priced less than the one they are looking at, what happens to the dealer’s credibility? Instead of removing customer doubt and suspicion, I think you’ve added to it. Have the odds of getting a phone call, email or walk-in increased or decreased after the customer finds out the dealer was less than honest? That won’t happen to a dealer using RealDeal.

    3.) What happens when over 70% of dealers in a market/region is using tool like vAuto?: To my knowledge we’re nowhere near 70% usage anywhere in the country (but thanks for the good thoughts Jeff!). There are no other tools on the market that really duplicate vAuto’s capabilities.

    There are some tools that help dealers make stocking decisions based on “core inventory” and their historical performance with those same vehicles. They generally don’t measure the current supply and demand situation in the dealers market. The fact is that if the market was stable and predictable, what worked before might indeed work again. Unfortunately, the pre-owned market is anything but stable and predictable: it’s volatile and unpredictable (using only historical data) and seems like it is becoming more so every quarter.

    There are other pricing tools on the market, but they generally don’t drill down to specific options, some can’t even do trim level. Do you want to compare a car with leather and factory navigation to cars that don’t? This could cause you to price your car thousands less than what it’s worth.

    And lastly Market Days Supply: the supply and demand on each vehicle. For my money the single most important metric vAuto provides. This is the one number that helps a vAuto dealer know what to stock, how much to pay and how much to ask. It’s the cornerstone of the entire vAuto system

    By definition, there as many cars with a below average Market Day Supply as an above average Market Days supply. There are a lot of cars to choose from. Many dealers can have access to the same data and I’ll bet almost every dealer will make different choices on what to stock. Their brand image, store image and store philosophy all come into play. The one thing vAuto dealers all have in common is more accurate, up-to-the-minute data than the majority of their competition.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to answer your questions Jeff. I’m sure they’re shared by many of your readers!

  4. Alex, I TOTALLY forgot about this post. I just signed on with PureCars last week. The initial response from the dealers has been positive. As time moves forward, I’ll report back.

    FYI – You can opt in to show vehicles in the market area that are priced more. I would and have requested some logic behind it – allow me to show cars that are at least $500 more.

  5. I have recently looked into employment with this company.  Have you guys gotten any other feedback since May 31??  Seems like a great product from the consumer standpoint and the dealer standpoint, am I wrong?

    • Suzanne, the PureCars Value Reports are a great tool for both consumers and dealerships alike…What we try to accomplish through our Value Report is to educate customers on what exactly value is in a pre-owned vehicle, and to diminish that inherent laser focus customers tend to have on price. When you can sell a car on value and show others in the market selling for more, or without the same value added benefits as your car, the customer will understand value and see that the’re in fact getting a good deal. Prior to coming on board with PureCars a year ago, I worked for a BMW dealership using the value reports; customers loved it, and it allowed me to justify the price we had set for the vehicle and to show the customer our car truly was a good deal! I now work as a Dealer Consultant for PureCars in the Southeast region; I cover somewhere around 100 dealerships currently using PureCars, and absolutely love what I do!
      Hope you jumped on the opportunity!

  6. As a consumer I was looking around the web and saw this.  I think the reports are worthless.  There’s no way to confirm what they’re showing for a consumer.  For example, one vehicle shows it’s 1800 more, but the mileage to the car I was looking at is 20000 miles less.
    I can’t select the other vehicle to even verify the data.

  7. Purecars is a horrible service. Their servers are down more often then not, and when they are up, the load times are ridiculously slow. When I contacted Purecars about the problem, they said it was my website provider’s fault, not theirs. When I contacted my website provider, they walked me through how it was Purecar’s issue, and that they see that type of problem with Purecars all of the time.
     
    It seems that Purecars has a lot of problems that they aren’t fixing, and trying to blame everyone else for it.

    • Sir,
       
      Our code is on thousands of websites without any reported problems. However, I want to personally look into this for you and be sure regardless of who is to blame your issue is resolved ASAP. Please call me directly at: 843-375-6180.
       
      Sincerely,
       
      Jeremy Anspach
      President
      PureCars.com
      Direct: 843-375-6180
      email: Jeremya@purecars.com

  8. I am an independent automotive consultant who has seen countless products that profess “to do this or that” for the consumer or retail automotive sales team. Most are hollow claims. However, PureCars is the single BEST internet sales tool I’ve found, period. It is a terrific tool for the consumer in that it provides them a good “pricing” frame of reference for the type of used vehicle they are interested in purchasing. My experience with PureCars has been nothing but positive, and every dealer I work with has had the same experience.