A new Web site promises to tell consumers whether the new vehicle they seek is selling at a dealership for a good price, a great price -- or is overpriced.
The site, TrueCar.com, was launched last week. It aims to compete with such popular online destinations as Edmunds.com.
TrueCar provides shoppers with free price reports that show what buyers in their market area paid for new vehicles, including options. It also provides data on dealer cost, factory invoice prices and sticker prices.
The reports suggest, in the form of a bell-curve graphic, whether a car or truck is a good deal.
Consumers no longer walk into the dealership only partially informed and fully suspicious, said TrueCars founder, Scott Painter. They walk in knowing exactly the price of a fair deal.
TrueCar expects to make money at first by selling advertising on the site. Eventually, TrueCar plans to allow customers to buy vehicles from the site.
TrueCar, of suburban Los Angeles, compiles transaction data from financial institutions, vehicle registrations and other sources. It claims to have data on more than 25 percent of new vehicles sold.
Painter is the former CEO of CarsDirect.com and has launched several other online vehicle ventures.
Painter said he recently obtained $37 million in capital for his company Zag.com, which runs car-buying sites for affinity groups, including American Express, Capitol One, Overstock.com and AAA. Through such groups, dealers can offer consumers guaranteed prices on vehicles.
Painter told Automotive News that the private capital investment in Zag is a pretty big milestone for any venture-backed company in this market. Zag will run TrueCars buying service.
Said Painter: It turns out when times are tough, people do want to save money. They understand the value of group buying.