TrueCar, headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, is a company that provides new car buyers with transparent vehicle sales data from across the country. Using truecar.com prospective buyers can see exactly what others have paid for the same vehicles.
TrueCar.com is a free service that provides four data points to help customers negotiate better deals. Those include: actual dealer cost, factory invoice, average price paid, and MSRP. What sets TrueCar apart from other pricing websites is that they do not directly sell leads to car dealerships, allowing them to focus on publishing accurate data.
The service is also beneficial to dealerships since it gives them access to market data allowing them to price cars in accordance with customer expectations.
TrueCar also offers customers the option of printing out a no haggle guaranteed pricing certificate. Car buyers can take these into participating dealerships and purchase the car for the discounted price without any bargaining.
134 ‘TrueCar’ Reviews
Does not live up to expectations
My experience with TRUECar was not a positive one.
1. I used TRUECar too soon, before we decided on exactly which model we wanted. Unfortunately, three dealers now had my phone number. And dealers who have your phone number do not use other means of communication, no matter how hard you try to carry on a discussion over email.
2. TRUECar gave me MSRP and average actual purchase price of a given model (in my case, for a Prius V Model Three, $29,320 MSRP and $28,251 average price paid). But when I click on "View Pricing on Local Inventory" it shows me two very different numbers (again for Prius V Model Three, $28,060 MSRP and $27,163 average price paid). So TRUECar has trouble presenting a consistent view of its own numbers.
3. The certificates it gave me were a joke--above MSRP or "visit your dealer".
* "Your Guaranteed Savings Certificate is for no more than $304 above MSRP for any in-stock 2017 Toyota Prius v Three."
* " Your Guaranteed Savings Certificate is for no more than $1,059 above MSRP for any in-stock 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE."
* "Savings data not available for this vehicle. Visit your dealer to get available savings."
Without TRUECar's help, I got $3700 below MSRP.
4. TRUECar only applies to in-stock vehicles. You can see that if you read enough of the fine print, but I didn't notice it. Since none of the dealers had exactly what we wanted, TRUECar was not useful unless we compromised on something.
5. The second time through TRUECar web site with a different model, it notified dealers more quickly than expected. I thought I was still entering information when I started getting calls from one of the dealers.
True car is an ESTIMATE ONLY. A guideline. And not accurate. DO YOUR HOME WORK. I don't care how smart you are or think you are, this is not a game in which you win. You only can hope to not lose to badly.
If you are on a budget, like most people, then you need to know BEFORE YOU WALK IN, exactly how much money you can spend every month for the next 5-6 years. INCLUDING TAX & LICENSE.
Whatever you are told the sales price is, figure the T&L in your area and add that in, because it can change your monthly note by $30 more a month.
True Car is a guideline. A marketing ploy to get you into the dealer. You will never pay the True Car price because it is a lie. All rebates, by law, come AFTER you factor in Tax & License.
The question you need to ask is: WHAT PRICE AM I PAYING TAX & LICENSE ON? When True Car shows you what you "should" pay for a new car, it reflects ALL the rebates and discounts to give you a net price and that IS WRONG.
Forget every number you are told. Know the number that you can afford and the car you want and then fight like hell.
Said they would not give out my email until I granted permission; first lie. Then, when the email pricing came in from actual local dealers, their pricing was thousands more then TrueCar advertised, second lie. Will not offer opportunity for a third!
cost me money
If I could give truecar 0 stars, I would. Its a sham that costs dealers $400 per used car and $300 for new cars. It gives the dealer a lead and even if you buy a different car, the dealer still has to pay them. That cost me money!!! Truecar didnt save me a penny never use them for a lead
Truecar nor Edmunds can give any buyer the true cost on a vehicle purchase unless they can do one thing. They must be able to run a credit report on every single buyer that is searching. Car purchases aren't based on MSRP or Dealer Mark Downs. They are based on credit worthiness. Example Dealer advertises vehicle for 20,000.00 3K less than MSRP customer A has 700 Beacon Score and several TRADE lines. This customer will receive a better rate and term based on his or her score. Customer B looking for same exact vehicle same features with 625 Beacon and No Trade lines will get a less than favorable term and rate and thus spend more for the same vehicle out the door. Ultimately all the numbers given buy Truecar are subjective from dealer to dealer. Some dealer price cars on volume some based on local or product availability. These platforms are marketing and scam people with huge ad budgets. The average car buyer is generally uneducated about the entire process thus always paying more than they should. The best way to purchase a car is to do your homework on all the dealers in a certain. Look at the reviews from past customers sometimes cheap is always the best. Look at the service department reviews also this is a huge factor one should consider. And always before you go shopping know your credit score and try to negotiate your financing in advance through your own finance lender. This will give you the ability to leverage that information at the dealership in your favor. The other thing is to always negotiate price before you tell the dealer you have a trade if you have one. But TrueCar and Edmunds are hacks. Every person that says they got a better deal says that because they were caught up in the hype. Haggling is always the best way to get the best deal.
Where's the car??????
What a scam. There was no car waiting at the dealer. It's just a way to get you in the door of a select group of dealers that paid to join the club. The dealer I went to was only interested in up-selling me on a car that cost 10k more. bait and switch?????
DUH...It's a SCAM!
Did anyone really think that dealers could go from making several thousands of $$$ on a car...to just giving you a car "at cost" over night? LOL!!! Of course, it's a lead generator! The only one making money by using TRUECAR is.....TRUEcar! Dealers provide a valueable service and the overhead and vehicle selection they offer costs millions of dollars to maintain!!! They deserve to make money on you....and you don't deserve to know the cost of their inventory anymore than you deserve to know what that can of soup or that Shirt or that bouncy ball costs from Walmart (which you would never think of negotiating the price with). Most dealers make about 5-10% on a car. When's the last time you shopped at Walmart? They have products that are marked up thousands of a percent!!!!! Did you DEMAND to see their invoice? Did you negotiate their PRICE? Well, why not? Why are they allowed to keep their costs secret and fixed....but, car dealers cannot??? Hmmm....
If websites like TRUECAR and others like it start to gain traction, then it will ruin an already hurting industry. But, why should you care? You're just entitled to the "lowest price", right? You're just "entitled" to the best deal, right? Well, Imagine this....what if you had to reveal to the world your pay. And what if.....a website came around that exposed your salary or commission and let people know that you are available to work for FREE just to make them happy?. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? I hate stick and move "charlatans". So far....TRUECAR is making millions on you and screwing the car industry a little bit at a time. And in the end, you the consumer, will suffer.
If this is the future of car buying....I want NO part of it. The end result is a monopoly where just a few stores would exist. If there's not enough profit in the sale...most stores will fail. In fact, why have dealerships? We could just order cars from the factory direct online, have them deliver your car to your house by an autonomous robot and let them make all the profit....which should lower car prices. Right? But then.... Truemanufacturer.com would start. Where does it END?
Bait and Switch
True Car is joke ! It's primary focus is to act as a lead aggregator for car dealerships. The consumer will go to the TC website, provide their contact information, then choose their desired car. After selecting the trim, color and accessories, the consumer is shown "certificates" that outline offers from local dealerships. The certificates are NOT worth the pixels on your computer screen. Within 24 hrs of the inquiry the consumer is then blasted; phone calls, emails, and telemarketers from dealers that are just giddy to start negotiating. Worse yet, each dealer will have a reason for NOT honoring the certificate, and furthermore, no where on the certificate, or within the TC site, it is clearly disclosed that the certificates DO NOT pertain to vehicle leasing. All certificate offers are ONLY VALID for vehicle purchasing, which I am certain defeats the entire purpose for many consumers such as myself. Lastly, the TC customer service is just as irksome. In this sketch, the consumer will speak to an entry level Millennial that has just enough time to look away from their smart phone. When faced with tough questions the Millennial will resort to their TC handbook and robotically recite pre scripted rebuttals as provided by the TC writing staff. Once the rebuttals are exhausted the Millennial will gladly apologize on behalf of TC and then resume their social media obligations. Please, don't make the same mistake and save yourself the time and hassle. TC is a business venture with bad management, and lousy ownership !
Scam to provide sales "leads"
This site does nothing more than provide sales leads for subscribing dealers. They don't provide prices for add on equipment that you require. They simply provide an avenue for crooked car dealers to do what they do best.
I purchased a new Xterra from a dealer and the invoice said it was a 2015 model. The vin indicated that it was a 2013, but it had certain requirements, for me, such as factory installed towing package, Bluetooth, over the roof lights etc. These were hard to find but I wanted to see what sort of discount I should have been given for non current year after being lied to.
Truecar only contacted a subscribing dealership which would only provide prices based off 2015 MSRP. They would not provide any technical data or otherwise regarding towing capacity (it did have a rating) or cost of add ons.
It's a sham. I've owned a Acura TL, Mercedes C300, Lexus GS350 and currently Siena SE. I was always able to get a price 10% under invoice price. According to true car these kind of deals don't exist.
They'll have you believe 5% off MSRP is a great deal. 5% off MSRP is a ripoff. I wouldn't be surprised if true car was secretly own and operated by some coalition of auto dealerships to fool the general public into accepting a new guideline of pricing. I absolutely do not trust their opinion of what a great deal is. I'm not even sure I trust what they list as invoice price. I'm digressing here but folks do the foot work. Be nasty with the sales people because they are out to screw you blind. Either way you put it, buying a car is one of the worst investments a person can make. make sure you're getting the best deal by at least visiting 3 dealerships. don't be passive with sales people. also check with brokers too, some of them offer you only what a fleet managers best friend gets. Bottom line. Don't trust true car.
Where do they get their numbers?????
I WORK for a car dealership and have had several customers show me their "truecar" printouts. When this happens, I go straight to the invoice of the vehicle and show it to them as well as provide any rebates they are eligible for. They are usually about $3,000 UNDER what we can actually sell the vehicles for!!! This is turn pisses customers off and when they go to the next dealership and get the same thing, they will either come back to me and purchase or they are so sick of the pricing game they purchase from the dealer they are at. I HATE TRUECAR!!!! I've been selling for a long time and would LOVE to have one of these Truecar idiots come to my dealership!!! I hope more people realize that Truecar DOESN'T SELL CARS!!!
Worked Well For Me
Just bought a new Honda. The dealer honored my True Car certificate. I added a few options but the base price was just as promised. Guess it depends on the dealer.
Don't get your hopes up
TrueCar is simply a lead generator for the auto dealerships. Nothing more. It will probably stay that way if the now chastened CEO hopes to keep a company in business. The Toyota dealer I visited last Saturday was a participating dealer. They simply ignored the TrueCar quote. "I'm not sure where they get their numbers from, but it's not something we see as very accurate." They indicated the TrueCar quote I received was below their price for the car; a statement I still doubt.
As for KBB trade in, I was offered 25% of what KBB said my car was worth on trade. The justification was the local market price.
Overall, no improvement in the car buying process. At the end of the day, you cut the best deal you can and you still walk away feeling as if you've been taken advantage of. Glad I don't buy many cars.
I was willing to travel a 4 hour distance to find the vehicle & features
I sought with competitive pricing. Since I had the numbers of dealer cost, dealer invoice, & MSRP from a Consumer Reports print out, a dealer made contact with me after I entered my information to TrueCare.com. I was quoted an 'out-the-door' final price that seemed outstanding, in fact, below dealer cost which made me suspicious. Think about it, if that was the offered price why would it not be offered outside of a buying program? Before traveling to the dealership I requested that the internet manager approve the given quote for the same vehicle. The manager's revised quote was over
$ 1000 higher!! I phoned TrueCar.com and they said that the dealer
determines the price and it is only good for 3 days. This is nonsense! Car buying advice: Any quote you receive should specifically reference the vehicle you wish to purchase with an out the door final price signed by a sales manager WITH some understanding of purchase date. Any dealership that changes their quote so radically after offering a below the market price, I just do not do business with & neither should you!
TrueCar.... Not so true
This website is informative to a degree. You can build your desired vehicle. But, it will not be a exact match. It still comes down to making sure you're getting the vehicle you want. With the desired options. A reputable dealer will show you the invoice. And price it out accordingly. I have found. It's still easier. To visit a dealership. Look at the inventory. Find what you like. Test drive and get a price. TrueCar is a service. Getting paid. To get you into the dealership of your desired vehicle. Buying a car. The old way still works. I found this service to be frustrating. I received e-mails from multiple dealers. But I found myself. Still going to the dealer. So I could look, and drive the make and model of the car I wanted. If you're nervous about buying a car. Take someone with you. A second set of eyes and ears always helps.
rip of dearer
true car sent me me to a Hyundai dealer in riverside ca.they are rip off dealer.they change price add things to car you don't want plus add things to your contract with out telling you.i was there five hrs what a waste of time also tryed to steal my trade in by $2600.00.i called true car they didn't seem to care.i aslo called Hyundai they didn't care.
Not like it says
Logged into website, putting my vehicle order together, and my home phone rings (before I was even finished). It was a stealer calling me. I advised I will contact when I am done. Got my certificate, and then got an email from the dealer. Dealer was 7K over certificate. I inquired as to why such a difference, and the reply was that Truecar is only an estimate. I tossed the certificate and told the dealer to not call or email me anymore.