Posts by Jeremy Sacco
As part of our ongoing commitment to providing dealers with more of the tools and services they need to get ahead in today’s digital-centric auto marketplace, we are very excited to announce that we’ve completed the acquisition of a 51% stake in the wholesale vehicle acquisition and selling platform CarOffer.
For those who aren’t familiar, CarOffer is an innovative inventory management platform for modern car dealers to buy, sell, and trade with automation and ease. Unlike traditional vehicle auctions, which require manual bidding and vehicle evaluation, CarOffer’s proprietary Buying Matrix technology lets buying dealers create standing buy orders and provides instant offers to selling dealers.
This post comes from CarGurus President and COO Sam Zales, on behalf of the entire organization.
At CarGurus, we stand against discrimination and bigotry. We stand for racial justice. We stand with the Black community. We strive to build and nurture a global culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative, and we aspire to improve our organization by increasing diversity in our community.
We recognize that racial injustice and violence in America are longstanding and systemic issues that many of us who have the privilege of not having to think about every day are just starting to really understand.
These aren’t new ideas for us, but recent events have made clear that we need to learn more, speak out, and take action, knowing we will have to iterate our approach along the way.
2020 has been a year of change for all of us, and CarGurus is no exception. As of July 1, we will be making updates to our free Restricted product to provide more connections and a better ROI for our paying customers.
As we posted here, CarGurus suspended the free Restricted (formerly “Basic”) listings program during the COVID-19 crisis to better accommodate shoppers and provide a strong return on investment to paying CarGurus customers.
With dealerships across the country resuming business, we’re preparing to retire the suspended status. All dealers in suspended status will receive their queued leads on 6/30.
We’re also making additional changes to the Restricted program.
While overall car shopping traffic is still significantly down compared to previous years, we’re starting to see some positive signs that consumers are beginning to return to their car purchasing plans. Demand has started to return as consumers realize that they can still research and sometimes purchase that vehicle they need.
Here are some of the indicators we’re watching:
While the COVID-19 crisis is showing signs of easing, we understand that business won’t be back to near normal levels in the short run. To help our customers transition back into full operations, we are extending a 20% discount for all US dealer customers in June.
The discount works exactly the same as the discounts in April and May: all subscribing dealers will receive it automatically, it will apply to all subscription services provided in June, and those dealers will continue to receive their full level of CarGurus service.
A message from Sam Zales, President and COO
As CarGurus navigates the global health crisis, we continue to evaluate the impact on our employees, the economy, the auto industry, consumer spending, dealerships, and ultimately, our business. In March, we took swift, decisive action to support our dealers through this crisis. We were the first major online automotive marketplace in the U.S., UK, and Canada to announce billings relief with our 50% fee reduction for April and May. And we are committed to continuing to drive leads across our marketplaces and provide services to help dealers navigate this crisis and position themselves to rebound quickly as business resumes.
Clearly, our discounting program for dealers will result in us generating less revenue in the near term. Today, we announced a range of cost-cutting measures we are taking in response so that we can emerge as an even stronger company and continue to be the best partner to you, our dealers. Unfortunately, this included the painful decision to reduce our global workforce by 13%. For those of you that have recently had to furlough or reduce staff as a result of COVID-19, I am sure you can relate to how difficult this decision was for us. We are sad to part ways with a group of incredibly talented colleagues, and I will be forever grateful for their contributions. You can read more about this announcement in this message I sent to our employees.
As part of our ongoing commitment to partner with our customers during this crisis, we wanted to let you know that we are extending our 50% discount for all dealer customers through May.
The details are exactly the same as they were in April: you don’t need to ask for it, it will apply to all subscription services provided in May, and you’ll continue to receive your full level of CarGurus service. It’s part of our dedication to doing what we can to help you navigate your way through this situation and back to normal business operations.
It’s worth mentioning that those normal business operations will return. In fact, we’re still seeing considerable shopping activity in our US marketplace, and it’s possible that we’ll see a surge of car buying activity when dealerships reopen and those customers regain their confidence. The pent-up demand for vehicles will still be there, and dealerships who start building a pipeline through digital marketing and relationship-building now will be better positioned to take advantage of it.
The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly reshaping large parts of our daily lives – more quickly than some businesses can adapt. In our industry, dealers, vendors, and OEMs are facing incredible uncertainty and business pressures as consumers stay home and governments shut down operations.
CarGurus is determined to be a supportive partner through this situation. That’s why we wanted to let you know that due to the incredible impact of the virus and the restrictions being put in place across the country, we have decided to make some temporary changes to free and paid CarGurus Listings services, effective 4/1.
Specifically, we’re offering a suspended activity option to our paying customers who choose to cancel their subscriptions with us due to the crisis, whether their states were shut down by official orders or not. Our goal is to give our customers immediate financial relief while maintaining the best possible shopping experience for our car-buying audience, as well as giving our dealers a jump start when they’re ready to get back to business after the situation returns to normal. Here are the details of the suspended activity option:
(The following email went out to our dealer customers on 3/18. We’ve heard that it didn’t reach everyone we wanted to, so we’re republishing it here.)
One of CarGurus’ core values is Integrity – and that drives our commitment to being a partner in the community. As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold around the world, we wanted to let you know that we at CarGurus are thinking of all our customers and partners, hoping you, your family, and your employees are safe.
It’s an unprecedented situation, and we, like you, are working hard to adapt to the rapidly evolving circumstances. We know the crisis is already hitting many dealers hard, but the impact is varied. Some areas are nearing total shutdown, others are not yet impacted. Similarly, our lead volumes remain surprisingly strong in many regions, while they’re weaker in harder-hit areas.
Whatever your situation is, we’re committed to trying to give you the support you need to reach your best possible results during this challenging time. To that end:
- We are giving you 50% off of your fees for listings and display services provided in April. You don’t need to ask – we’ll apply this reduction to all dealers in the US. If you have additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your account manager.
- Your subscription will still be active, your contract with us will remain effective, and you will continue to receive leads, but as buyer activity has slowed, we expect significantly lower volumes.
In light of the rapidly-evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, CarGurus has strongly encouraged all employees worldwide to work from home until further notice. This should not impact our ability to support our dealer customers or the consumer shopping experience on our site: CarGurus employees are well equipped to work remotely and all major business functions will continue as normal.
We are focused on the health and safety of our employees and the communities they live in. As a result, we’ve been changing in-person events and meetings to virtual events whenever possible. We’ve also asked employees to limit business travel. Local reps may choose to continue dealer visits if needed — we’re eager to help our customers as much as possible during a difficult situation.
Please reach out to your rep or 1-800-CARGURUS if you have any questions.