TrueCar Inc. owes its survival to the 1,500 associations, including USAA and AAA, that give their members an opportunity to buy vehicles through the online auto-shopping service, TrueCar CEO Scott Painter said last week.
Those affinity groups are among TrueCar's oldest customers, and their members continued to buy cars last year through TrueCar, even after dealers abandoned TrueCar in droves and the company's Web site business plunged.
"Our affinity partners got us through," Painter said.
TrueCar is an online vehicle-buying site that allows dealers to offer discounted prices to customers who come to the site either via truecar.com or the many affinity groups offering the service. About 250,000 new and used vehicles were bought through TrueCar in 2012 with new-vehicle sales representing about 2 percent of U.S. vehicles sold.