IT’S TRUE!

by dpollak on 09/17/2010 · 71 comments

Today I have the privilege of announcing the signing of an agreement for the acquisition of vAuto by AutoTrader.com.  I would like for you to understand how I arrived at this most important decision and what it means for all of us.

Over the past several years, it has become apparent that the used car business is increasingly more and more about the Internet.  Further, the growing community of Velocity minded dealers have come to the realization that their business strategy depends on virtual marketing proficiency. Realizing that neither inventory nor virtual marketing proficiency alone is enough for success, the connection between our company and third-party web providers became obvious.  In other words, it has become clear to me that inventory management and virtual marketing must be real-time and highly integrated.  To this end, I began to consider the need to form a closer working relationship with online third-party merchandise companies.

Two years ago, I was invited to AutoTrader.com’s annual sales meeting.  From the audience, I watched Chip Perry, AutoTrader’s President and CEO announce to his field staff that they would no longer be sales representatives, but rather advertising consultants.  Chip told the audience that their dealer’s sales objectives had priority over their own.  It was further announced that ongoing formal training would be provided to facilitate their field staff’s transition from sales to consultants. Over the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of assisting in this training process, along with other highly respected institutions, including NADA Academy and Northwood University.  As I became more acquainted with the men and women at all levels of AutoTrader, I came to understand their commitment and desire to engage in this change and to serve the interests of their dealers as their first priority. 

In addition, AutoTrader was willing to assist vAuto and our clients by providing access to its deep database information about vehicle supply, demand, consumer preference and behavior.  I felt as though I had discovered and been given access to a treasure trove of information to assist dealers.  The benefits of our mutual cooperation lead dealers to frequently ask why our two companies don’t combine to provide even more real-time and deeper integration. In essence, the decision to unite with AutoTrader was a natural and easy one. 

So what does the combination of AutoTrader and vAuto mean to you?  Well, first I will personally assure you that we will continue to put the interests of our clients before our own.  We will also have access to even more real-time data that will improve your competitive advantage.  By combining technical and data resources, our newly united companies can provide tools and services for dealers that would otherwise not be possible.  Maintaining our service, improving our product and continuing to innovate are the three tenants that motivated me to take this important step. 

There are obviously many questions as to how our organization will operate under the new ownership structure.  First, I want you to know that our entire management team will remain intact. Further, there are no plans to modify our organization with respect to its structure or personnel. vAuto’s and AutoTrader.com’s Sales and Consulting Teams will remain in their current configurations and continue to operate separately. To be clear, the acquisition by AutoTrader.com is an express endorsement of who we are and how we conduct business. The intention is for us to continue forward with our same passion and commitment.

On a very personal level, I am extremely grateful to the extraordinarily talented and highly motivated vAuto team. To each of you that have helped bring us to this point, I want to express my greatest appreciation, admiration and gratitude.  I believe our best days as an organization are ahead.  With this move, we will be able to take our mission to yet an even higher level.

To our dealer clients and friends, we owe you an exceptional amount of gratitude for your loyalty and trust.  We’ve gone to bed every night as you have with genuine concern for your business.  I want you to know that our work together has only just begun.  I’m looking forward to “wowing” you with many new and even more powerful innovations, ideas and tools. 

To the broader industry of solution providers, please know that both Chip Perry and I want to continue the partnerships that we have all worked so hard to create. 

Finally, I want to express my love and appreciation to my mom and dad, wife Nancy and sons Austin, Alex and Samson.  You have been tremendously supportive and understanding and have made the sacrifices necessary to allow vAuto to thrive.    

I will remain committed and loyal to everyone as together we enter the next phase of our relationship.

Respectfully,

Dale

  • Anonymous

    I want 1st dibs to be a fly on the wall for that meeting!

  • Just wanted to pass a congratulations along Dale. Your philosophy has forever shaped my approach to both new and used inventory. So when can we expect Velocity 3.0?

  • steve j

    i think you have made the car business for everyone to price there cars so low there will be no profit with autotrader in the larger metro dealers do not have a chance the one who wins is the customer not the dealers s james

  • Steve,

    Regarding your concern that I’m creating a situation for dealers where there is “no profit”, I respectfully disagree. What you’re experiencing is the phenomenon of the information age fueled by the internet. Neither you nor I can drive it or stop it. Simply stated, it is what’s happening in the entire world.

    vAuto and the Velocity Method of Management is simply a way to help dealers survive and thrive in the current environment. I can reference thousands of dealers today that are making more profit in the used car business than they have in years, and in some cases, ever. To better understand their strategy for making money, I would urge you to read a prior post on this blog entitled The Path to Profitability http://www.dalepollak.com/2010/07/19/path-profitability-call-action-dealers/ .

    The ones that aren’t having this type of success are those, perhaps like you, that haven’t embraced new strategies. I’m sorry for the harshness of my reply, but I very respectfully disagree with your criticism.

    Dale

  • Steve,
    The frustration you have seems to stem from a case of “internet reality denial syndrome”.
    I’m sure Dale wishes he invented the World Wide Web, instead of just building a Velocity Management philosophy with a software system based on helping dealers work within the marketplace that we have today.
    Here’s a link to a website you may want to look at http://www.amazon.com/ the internet has changed retail for everybody who sells something, that’s just reality.
    The other reality is Dale has helped thousands of dealers work within today’s market…..some of us quite nicely.

  • Craig,

    Well put, thank you.

    Dale

  • Alex,

    Wow, thanks for the complement, it means a lot to me. Regarding the next Velocity book, believe me I’m already thinking a lot about it. I can already see the next evolution, and I can’t wait to write about it. At the moment, I just can’t find the time, but I will. Stay in touch, and please say hello to the guys at Dealer.com, it’s really a great company.

    Dale

  • We were glad to have Ed Brooks swing by today. Hopefully your talk went well with the Vermont Auto Dealers.

    Looking forward to the next book. If I can ever help, let me know.

  • Alex,

    Thank you so much. I was in and out of Montpelier in a flash. I have to say that the dealers up here are genuinely nice. This airport, however, that I’m standing in is kind of funky. I think that the Dealer.com people should come in and show them how to design a building that reflects the spirit and independent nature of the people from Vermont.

    Thanks again,
    Dale

  • Chad Tessman

    Dale, congratulations, I hope this deal means that you will now be able to get some cooperation from manheim to make improvements to your software involving them.
    Thanks for all you do
    Chad

  • Chad,

    Roger that! Thanks for your support.
    Dale

  • Keith Kocourek

    Thanks Dale,

    September is tracking for $625 NET per car……It should be a new record! Oh well, I guess you can’t make any real money in the “new” used car business.

    P.S. Thats 36% net to gross…..

  • Kplott

    Dale ,congratulations on your new agreement with a/t. Also want to Thank you for your time and help out of your busy day. To help a small one man operation !

  • Karonel,

    Thanks. I really appreciate your support and genuinely enjoy exchanging ideas with you. As I’ve told you many times in the past, you continue to surprise and inspire me with your progressive ideas and willingness to learn. I look forward to spending much more time with you in the future.

    Dale

  • Keith,

    I’ve got to love you.

    Dale

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! I’m excited for this. I think this is a brilliant move and will only improve vAuto for the better. How soon will we expect to see improvements stemming from ATC and vAuto working together?

  • Gina,

    Sorry – I didn’t get the message. Will you please try again?

    Thanks,

    Dale Pollak
    Founder
    vAuto Inc.
    2221 Camden Court, Suite 210
    Oak Brook, IL 60523
    630-343-9016
    [email protected]
    http://www.vauto.com
    http://dalepollak.com
    http://www.twitter.com/vauto
    facebook

  • Gina,

    Sorry – I didn’t get the message. Will you please try again?

    Thanks,
    Dale

  • Omeid,

    Thank you for your support, and I’ll make sure that it is just that.

    Dale

  • Omied,

    Sorry I overlooked another part of your question. Regarding how soon you can expect to see improvements, as you know we are constantly enhancing the system. Generally, there are improvements once every two weeks or so. Early next year, however, is when I think you can expect to see some very significant enhancements as a result of the AutoTrader and vAuto union. There are things that we can and will do, that I think will really be evolutionary for dealers. Thanks again for your support.

    Respectfully,
    Dale

  • I own a small dealership, and because of the costs we had to give up the services of AutoTrader. It was an unfortunate event, but eventually we managed to pull it through, having a little help from autoeasydms, being free and all, though not equipped with as many options as a payed software…

Previous post:

Next post: