TrueCar buys retail software company DealerScience for $27 million

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Chip Perry: the deal will allow us to offer digital retail solutions to our dealer customers on their websites, in their showrooms and on the TrueCar marketplace. Photo credit: TrueCar

Site for vehicle shopping TrueCar bought DealerScience, a retail digital retailer, for $ 27 million, the companies said Friday. The founder of DealerScience will also immediately become an effective member of the TrueCar management team.

DealerScience, a company that provides dealership tools, such as desking solutions and plug-ins for websites, works according to a joint statement on product development, sales and customer training for the car shop. Objectives of the partnership are accelerating vehicle desking – the thorough analysis of financing options – calculating accurate monthly payments and streamlining the consumer experience.

Customers expect to achieve more of their car deals online, said TrueCar CEO Chip Perry in the statement and working with tools like DealerScience will ensure that dealers can grow profitably.

"This acquisition brings TrueCar closer to our end-to-end vision, enabling our consumers to investigate leasing and financing payments and provide greater transparency about their car deal," Perry said in an e-mail statement to Automotive News. "It will also enable us to offer our retail customers digital retail solutions on their websites, in their showrooms and on the TrueCar marketplace."

DealerScience, which was founded in 2011, retains its name and headquarters in Boston as it acts as a subsidiary of the external lead generator. The founder of the company, Andrew Gorden, will continue to lead his team of 28 employees and become vice president of digital retailing at TrueCar, according to a spokesperson for the company.

The Gorden team is expanding in 2019, the spokesman added.

In addition to the $ 27 million, TrueCar can make two cash payments of up to $ 2.5 million to achieve certain revenue metrics in each of 2019 and 2020.

Both companies are proud of price transparency.

The publication Car and Driver last month launched a tool with DealerScience's own software that allows customers to view the most detailed vehicle payment on the website of a participating dealer.

The tool, called Penny-Perfect Payments, calculates prices for shoppers, including incentives for dealers and car manufacturers, national and federal taxes and any costs – up to the last cent.

Although there are no immediate plans to integrate that tool into TrueCar products, the spokesman said the company will explore opportunities to leverage DeScience on the TrueCar market.

The promise of transparency for the consumer has led to TrueCar having problems with its partners in the past. The site had a public quarrel with dealer giant AutoNation about sharing customer data, which took years, and many changes to the TrueCar platform, to repair.

Since Perry assumed the role of CEO in December 2015, TrueCar has taken steps to tweak the platform to become more dealer-friendly.

"Back in the days, [TrueCar] was significantly tilted in a way that dealers found, was detrimental to them, "Perry told Automotive News earlier this year." We were able to find win-win improvements that kept the site performing well for consumers while they were much more positive for dealers. "

TrueCar is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, with offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

Vince Bond contributed to this report.