AutoTrader.com, a third-party auto classified site, has purchased vAuto Inc., a software company that specializes in used-vehicle inventory management tools. The amount was undisclosed.
The deal was completed Thursday morning, said Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto and a former Chicago area Cadillac-GMC dealer.
VAuto will operate as a subsidiary of AutoTrader.com and remain in suburban Chicago. Pollak and Keith Jezek, vAuto’s president, will continue to manage the company. The companies will collaborate on product development and customer training.
AutoTrader.com is majority-owned by Cox Enterprises Inc., which also owns Manheim, the nation’s largest wholesale auto auction company. The online marketplace attracts more than 15 million unique visitors a month.
More than 3,000 dealerships use vAuto’s products, Pollak said.
He said used-vehicle inventory management and used-vehicle merchandising are no longer different disciplines. Joining forces with AutoTrader.com allows vAuto to tap into AutoTrader.com’s vast resources as a retail site, he added.
For example, as a wholesale site, vAuto is able to tell dealers which vehicles to stock and at what price, Pollak said. But with AutoTrader.com’s retail resources, it also can tell dealers which vehicles are most researched on AutoTrader.com by consumers in their areas.
“Now I have access to information and data in real time, and I know exactly what to do with it,” Pollak said. “This combination will allow us to produce new solutions and tools for dealers. That is my passion.”
AutoTrader.com CEO Chip Perry said he is impressed with vAuto’s strong commitment to customer service and its leading technology.
“Their work goes hand in glove with ours as we help dealers succeed with Internet marketing and advertising,” he said.
VAuto competes with other software vendors, such as FirstLook and AAX, owned by DealerTrack. Perry said AutoTrader.com provides and will continue to provide data to those competitors.
In May, Cox announced that it sold 25 percent of AutoTrader.com to Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm specializing in equity investments in media, communications and information services companies.
The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield& Byers is also an investor in AutoTrader.com.
Perry said Autotrader.com will grow internally but is always on the lookout for select acquisitions.