Dear Fellow Dealers,

I’m not sure how to approach this, but I want to ruffle the feathers of as many of my peers as possible. After nine years running a special finance department, I have recently opened our new Hyundai store. At about the same time, Auto Trader (whom we likely all do business with) purchased (who few of us actually do business with). The first few customers that came in “quoting” me Edmonds prices on my cars that were a net loss, I laughed at them. After more than a dozen in two months, I’m not laughing any more. On one side of the business, Auto Trader is extorting dealers on their used car sites. They’re the biggest, and they feel if you aren’t doing business with them, you’re not doing business. On the other side, is telling customers they can buy cars at a net loss to the dealer. Any guesses as to who the customer is more likely to believe? The customers leave angry, assuming the big, mean, dealer is full of crap, and the internet company, much like the alien autopsy, the DaVinci code, and Nostradamus predicting 9/11, must be the god’s honest truth. I’ve had about enough of it. We are perfectly happy making a few hundred dollars on a car once in a while, but especially considering the industry the way it is, we have to at least sell the cars. is not a resource, they’re an illness that needs to be cured. If only one of us is willing to make a stand against it, the kind of nonchalant, b.s. response you see below will continue. They feel we need them more than they need us. As I’m sure most of you already know, Hyundai has been announced as JD Power and Assoc’s No. 1 non luxury manufactures, and only out ranked by Cadillac, Porsche, and Lexus overall. I’ve run searches on many other manufacturers and models. We’re not the only one’s they’re doing it to. The claim their information is based on data. They, however are lying. They can’t break down sales by trim levels that are not ever reported. I say it doesn’t matter if they’re using a mandate handed down from the gods. The information needs to be removed from their site because it is damaging their TRUE customers; US.
Scott Creason
Hyundai of Kirkland
From: Help []
Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 1:30 PM
Subject: so far no one has responded to any emails or messages so far. how about this.... [Incident: 090705-000014]
so far no one has responded to any emails or messages so far. how about this....
Discussion Thread
Response (Mark)
07/07/2009 01:30 PM
Hi, Scott. Thanks for writing back. If you have any specific examples of where your data does not match our data, please send them along. As I noted earlier, our number one priority is to provide the most accurate automotive pricing information available -- in fact, that's been our main focus for the last 40+ years -- so we would certainly be quick to make a correction if necessary.
Sincerely, Customer Support
07/07/2009 10:25 AM
Well its wrong. If your average sale price is a net loss, and we have differing data, then you're wrong. Not many dealers do business with you, but a lot of us do business with autotrader. Your customer service is pathetic, and you are cutting the throats of the people paying you. Precisely what value is there in that?
Scott creason
From: Help []
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2009 2:39 PM
[Incident: 090705-000014]
You recently contacted Please see our response below.
If you need to write back for any reason, feel free to reply to this message.
Thank you.
Discussion Thread
Response (Mark) 07/06/2009 02:39 PM
Thank you for contacting
Our True Market Value® prices estimate the average amount that consumers are paying for a particular vehicle in a particular region. These estimates are not meant to favor either the consumer or the dealer but simply to be as accurate as possible. They take into account a number of factors, including the vehicle's invoice price, its manufacturer's suggested retail price, the current supply and demand for the vehicle, the vehicle's relative brand strength and actual transaction price data. They also take into account any current manufacturer-to-dealer incentives for the vehicle.
Kind regards, Customer Support
Customer 07/05/2009 02:12 PM
so far no one has responded to any emails or messages so far. how about this. you are charging dealers for advertising, the posting average purchase prices that are net losses to the dealerships. as part of autotrader now, you need to remember who your real "customer" is. its the dealers. every time a customer has come in and referenced your pathetic excuse for a "resource site" it has resulted in them thinking poorly of the dealership and thinking we're lying about YOUR misrepresentation. Maybe its about time the dealers did something about it. A decade of you sabotaging even honest business needs to come to an end.
scott creason

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You're looking at a used car, one in particular that we can all get way back. i'm referring to new cars. my point is not that it is a huge discrepency, but most of the quotes arrive at a net loss of a few hundred dollars. We use all of the same lines, "try buying it from edmonds the!", etc. But at the end of the day we are car guys. We want to sell a car, and if we don't want to drop our pants on the floor and pray for or finance dept to make it up on the back, the customer leaves. Showing the invoice is 50/50. often they figure if we would lie about the price, we would photo shop an invoice too. The fact of the matter is that right or wrong, it isn't helping customers buy cars and it's not helping autotrader's customers, the dealers, sell cars.
The manufacturers are forced to reveal the Dealer Cost to the consumer. It is part of consumers protection. The Internet has made this worse for us.

Wouldn't you like to tell a customer "Get a couple of Million dollars together, get awarded a franchise and then you are welcome to anything back of invoice."
I am a pretty firm believer in actual market values, which appear on Manheim mmr (manheim market report) which is up dated each day that thee is a sale. I researched the 2006 Volkswagen Golf 4 Door that was alluded to previously and here is what I discovered; however, you must hold in mind that the figures shown are all wholesale figures from accross the USA; however, you can get them for more targeted sections of the country

06/23/09 OHIO Lease $6,800 37,576 Avg WHT 4G A Yes
06/25/09 MANHEIM Lease $10,100 36,718 Above REFLEX S 4G 5 No
06/30/09 ST LOUIS Regular $7,500 41,009 Avg WHITE 4G 5 Yes
07/02/09 CHICAGO Regular $9,300 29,562 Above BLUE 4G A Yes
07/15/09 GTR N.O. Regular $2,600 337,202 Below WHITE 4G M No
07/16/09 GTR PHNX Regular $3,100 129,989 Below BLUE 4G 5 No
07/21/09 PORTLND Regular $7,300 60,049 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes

Please note that 4 of the 7 vehicles represented were standard transmissions. Value is placed on a vehicle, just as it is a woman.That value is dependent on how she looks, where she has been, how she has been treated in the past, and has she taken care of her self. To my thinking, the same goes for a vehicle, as aptly demonstrated in the above example of wholesale sales.
Obviously i'm refering to new cars, not used, but there's a good point in this. "Average" surely wouldn't describe most of these examples, and surely not for the entire country. As it doesn't work with option packages that aren't decodeable or reported. The simple fact is, it isn't helping US sell cars and now that EDMONDS is owned by AUTOTRADER, we are their customer. thanks for the input.
Trade in
Good condition.

Edmunds = $8,097
KKB = $7,150
NADA = $8,025

So between Edmunds trade in value and what they asking for retail there is $2,962. Not bad profit.
Now for KBB the differance there would be $4,535 profit from trade in to retail. Finally NADA $2,675 trade in to retail differance.

If I were selling cars I would use KBB.

There is, for sure, more profit in the whole sale purchase cost given the quality, condition, miles of the unit.
once again, NEW, not used. we can discuss used car values until we're blue in the face. The only part of this problem that has anything to do with used cars is that most of us are paying autotrader to market our used cars, then they turn around an cut our throats on our NEW cars on their site.
How do you determine where she (the car) has been, how she has been treated, and if she has been taken care of when putting a value on a used car? You can tell how she (the car) looks, and how many miles she has driven (assuming no shenanigans with the ODO), but what about where the car has been driven and how she was treated?
let's boycott autotrader. we have the power. they don't. there are other listing services that don't charge 1000's per month. hit em where it the pocket.
If you didn't use AutoTrader... which portals would you use and why? Do you list all of your inventory on AutoTrader or just some of it?

Okay, I get it ... but I have an important question. These "customers" that come into the dealership with pricing that you dispute from Edmunds... did they contact or otherwise engage you the internet department first? Did they have any communication with you through Edmunds, AutoTrader, or your website? Did they first meet your salesperson and then your salesperson directed them to you in the internet department. I'm not taking Edmunds or ANYONE'S side in this issue. I am truly trying to learn about all of the elements that's going on here. Seriously... I'm trying to thoroughly understand and I really appreciate all that you've shared and illustrated thus far. Very nice work!

Regarding the relationship between and, the former doesn't own the latter or vice versa. does power new car listings on's site, and so all new car listings found on will also be found on

As for's TMV pricing for either new or used vehicles, those are determined and posted by's staff with no input or influence by We also don't use their TMV values anywhere on our site.

WE havn't run into the sam problem in our market. Edmunds is actually very accurate for our market as to what vehicles are selling for. It shows most people that we can't discount them and that the actual TMV price is only a few hundred dollars off of sticker. Maybe it's a lot different based on zip codes or market areas. An example is an 09 Elantra with MSRP 20015 the TMV price is 19589 less 2000 rebate. Granted we don't discount our vehicles but it's easy enough to explain the 400 difference in price.


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