Sales Reports

Lithia edges closer to used sales goal

MEDFORD, Ore. - 

Lithia’s leadership has been long touting a goal to average 75 used-vehicle sales per store per month. At the end of the first quarter this year, the group was sitting at roughly 57 units per store.

By the end of September, Lithia’s monthly average has seen a solid gain.

“On a 12-month rolling average, we sold 61 used vehicles per store, up from 55 units in the comparable period last year,” said Bryan DeBoer, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “Our goal to retail 75 used units per store still provides considerable upside in the future.”

Aside from the company’s industrious acquisition strategy, DeBoer says the group is also focusing on strengthening internally.

“We continue to grow used-vehicle sales as inventory resupply increases in the marketplace,” DeBoer said. “Additionally our stores continue to recruit and develop used-vehicle managers with the ability to source, recondition and merchandize used inventories.”

According to the company, several used-vehicle metrics jumped in the third quarter. Here’s a brief breakdown of Q3 same-store results from DeBoer that weren’t specified in the company’s released results:

  • Certified unit sales increased 19 percent
  • “Core” unit (aged 3-5 years) sales increased 8 percent
  • “Value Auto” unit (mileage over 80,000 miles, any age) sales increased 5 percent

With its used-vehicle sales leading the way in revenue stream increases in Q3, DeBoer also mentioned that the company’s used-to-new sales ratio was brought up to 0.83:1.

So how will the seasonal trend of increased supply affect Lithia’s pricing scheme?

“If we look at residual values and we look at what we believe will be future trends, what we're starting to see initially is that there’s starting to be increase supplies in used vehicles,” DeBoer said. “So off-leased vehicles are becoming more prevalent, which would give indication that values may soften a little bit as supply begins to loosen. And I think those trends may continue as the SAAR rates continue to climb as well.”

Sidney DeBoer, the company’s founder and executive chairman, agreed on the pricing situation and clarified his outlook.

“This is kind of a stable position that we’re in now,” he said. “There are no extremes.”

Speaking of lease returns and the large contingency of them anticipated to hit the market, an analyst asked if that would  affect the number of used inventory units that Lithia will hold on to.

“Personally, I don’t think so,” Bryan DeBoer said. “I think that helps you grow your business but I don’t think you’re going to reduce your overall inventories because of that because we’re still trying to grow core and valued autos, as well. And remember, core is over half of our business. So even as those off-lease cars grow, I really believe no, it’s not going to affect the inventories.”

DCH integrating well

Lithia’s purchase of one of the largest dealer groups in the country, DCH Auto Group, closed a little over a year ago, representing one of the largest dealership acquisitions in recent history. Using a baseball metaphor this week, DeBoer says it may very well be one of the most painless purchases Lithia has ever made.

“In terms of what inning we’re in, in terms of integration, I would say that we’re in the middle innings. I believe they know who they are and what they want to become,” DeBoer said. “They have a wonderful culture. They are humbly confident, much like we had talked about.

“And I can say this: I think it was the smoothest integration that we may have ever had on an acquisition, including the small ones that were $30 million. This, at $2.4 billion, was really pleasing to see that our two organizations, who if you recall knew each other historically but never were really together at this level, we’re proud to have them as our teammates and companions.”

Want to read more on Lithia’s ongoing acquisition strategy? Check out our story here.



Used sales growth leads Lithia’s record Q3 earnings

MEDFORD, Ore. - 

Lithia reported its best-ever third-quarter earnings in company history this week. Leading the way? Used-vehicle sales.

Looking at its third-quarter operating highlights, Lithia’s used-vehicle retail sales on a same-store level increased by 13 percent compared to Q3 2014, representing the biggest jump of the four different metrics that experienced double-digit growth quarter-over-quarter.

Lithia’s president and chief executive officer, Brian DeBoer, explained.

"Our third quarter earnings were the highest in company history," DeBoer said in Lithia's earnings release. "Same-store sales in all four business lines grew by double digits, led by a 13 percent increase in used-vehicle sales. Total revenues increased 61 percent and adjusted earnings per share increased 54 percent over the prior year period.

"A robust new-vehicle sales environment, improving supply of late-model used vehicles, and the continued growth in our service, body and parts business is allowing our store leaders to unlock new opportunities to improve performance across our company. We remain positive on the overall outlook for both organic and acquisition growth in 2016."

Take a glance at the used-vehicle results below — broken down and separated by overall and same-store results — to get an idea of the impact of Lithia’s newly acquired stores had on the group overall in the third quarter and the year so far.

Q3 Glance at Used-Vehicle Results
Revenue (in thousands) 2015 2014 % Change
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) $505,885 $340,522 48.6
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) $381,773 $338,400 12.8
Unit Sales      
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) 26,206 17,710 48
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) 19,255 17,566 9.6
Average Gross Profit Per Unit      
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) $2,377 $2,479 (4.1)
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) $2,546 $2,489 2.3
YTD (Q1-Q3) Glance at Used-Vehicle Results
Revenue (in thousands) 2015 2014 % Change
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) $1,457,617 $952,890 53
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) $1,071,691 $943,360 13.6
Unit Sales      
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) 75,099 50,112 49.9
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) 54,197 49,537 9.4
Average Gross Profit Per Unit      
Used-vehicle retail (consolidated) $2,456 $2,569 (4.4)
Used-vehicle retail (same-store) $2,614 $2,579 1.4

DeBoer commented on the continued expansion of his group, adding during the conference call that the company is still open to acquisitions of all sizes as they come along.

"We have purchased or opened six stores in 2015 which will add cumulative annual revenues of approximately $220 million,” DeBoer said. “We are actively seeking stores in both our Lithia exclusive market strategy and in our DCH metropolitan market strategy. The acquisition market remains robust and we anticipate further transactions for both Lithia and DCH in the near term."

To check out Lithia's full third-quarter results, click .

Top 15 vehicles owners keep for 10 years

WOBURN, Mass. - 

What cars do owners hold onto the longest?

Besides the fact that vehicles are lasting longer today than ever before, this is a valuable question — a question whose answer could potentially increase service revenues and make valuable trade-in prospects.

iSeeCars.com took a look at over 395,000 used cars from model year 2005, sold by the original owner between January 1 and July 30 of this year, to get a better understanding of what kind of vehicles were reaching the decade mark by these original owners who bought the cars new.

Looking at the iSeeCars chart below, you’ll see the 15 models among the 168 models studied that were kept the longest, all at least 1.5 times or more likely to be held onto than the average vehicle (which came in at 13.5 percent overall).

Top 15 New Cars Owners Hold Onto for 10 Years
Rank Model

% Original Owners Holding Car for 10 Years

Compared to Average
1 Honda CR-V 28.6% 2.1x
2 Toyota Prius 28.5% 2.1x
3 Toyota RAV4 28.2% 2.1x
4 Toyota Highlander 26.5% 2.0x
5 Honda Odyssey 25.6% 1.9x
6 Toyota Sienna 25.4% 1.9x
7 Toyota Camry 24.4% 1.8x
8 Toyota Avalon 23.8% 1.8x
9 Honda Pilot 23.3% 1.7x
10 Honda Element 23.1% 1.7x
11 Subaru Forester 22.9% 1.7x
12 Toyota Matrix 22.6% 1.7x
13 Honda Accord 22.1% 1.6x
14 Toyota Corolla 21.5% 1.6x
15 Toyota 4Runner 21.1% 1.6x
  Average of All Cars 13.5%

Some quick takeaways you’ll notice: they’re all from Japanese automakers. Nine are Toyotas. Five are Hondas. One Subaru.

That’s not the surprise, however, according to iSeeCars.com’s chief executive officer, Phong Ly. The surprise comes from their segment makeup.

Ten out of the 15 vehicles are CUVs or minivans, with four out of the top five falling into either one of those two categories.

"These vehicles tend to be largely family cars, so if people buy these cars when they are just starting their families, it stands to reason that these cars would suit them for many years," Ly said in an analysis of the data.

Another key takeaway, according to iSeeCars, is the weak showing by what they see as the most popular vehicles from the list of fledgling double-digit ownership.

% of Owners Holding Onto Popular Cars
Model % Original Owners Holding Car for 10 Years Compared to Average
Toyota Camry 24.4% 1.8x
Honda Accord 22.1% 1.6x
Honda Civic 18.2% 1.3x
AVERAGE 13.5%
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 13.1% 1.0x
Nissan Altima 13.1% 1.0x
Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 11.7% 0.9x
Ford F-150 11.4% 0.8x
Ford Escape 10.9% 0.8x
Chevrolet Equinox 10.0% 0.7x
Jeep Grand Cherokee 9.5% 0.7x

The list is especially devoid of one of North America’s favorite vehicle types, the pickups.

"One reason that may be is because these cars are often used as work vehicles, such as in construction,” Ly said. “Work vehicles log many more miles than average, likely requiring them to be replaced sooner.”

On that same note, Ly also speculates that the absence of domestic brands in the most-held-onto group might be a result of them not having the same reputation for reliability that the Japanese brands typically garner.

The bottom of the overall list is riddled with domestic vehicles that are typically known for their use in commercial fleets or as rental vehicles, including the Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler Sebring and the Ford Taurus, or vehicles that make popular lease choices, like the BMW 5 Series.

"All of those markets are designed for cars that are no more than a few years old, so a decade after these 2005 cars were introduced, most of them would be sold by their second or third owners, rather than the original owners,” Ly said.

According to Ly, car shoppers can sometimes find the most value in these older vehicles that have been kept by a single owner.

"Cars kept by the original owners for a decade tend to be well-cared-for, in terms of actual maintenance and repairs as well as overall cleanliness, so a car shopper is likely to find more value than in a car that has been through multiple owners and with a history that may not be so straightforward,” Ly said.

CarMax keeps gross above $2,100 as Q2 sales rise 9%

RICHMOND, Va. - 

CarMax managed to keep its gross profit per used vehicle turned above $2,100 during a quarter that saw the company’s retail sales climb more than 9 percent.

According to the company’s second-quarter financial statement released on Tuesday, CarMax’s total used vehicle unit sales grew 9.2 percent, and comparable store used unit sales increased 4.6 percent versus the prior fiscal year’s second quarter.

“Comparable store used unit sales were driven by improved conversion, which benefited from the strong execution of our store teams,” CarMax officials said about Q2 of its current fiscal year that ended on Aug. 31.

Company dealerships retailed a total of 156,516 used vehicles in Q2, up from 143,325 units a year earlier.

The gross on those retailed units came in at $2,166, just $7 less than the year-ago quarter.

Meanwhile, CarMax highlighted that its wholesale vehicle unit sales grew 8.7 percent year-over-year. The company sold 106,522 units through its wholesale division, up from 97,989 units in Q2 of its previous fiscal year.

“Wholesale unit sales benefited from the growth in our store base and a calendar shift that resulted in one extra Monday auction date compared with the prior year’s quarter,” CarMax officials said.

“We hold a majority of our wholesale auctions on Mondays,” they continued. “Excluding the extra Monday, wholesale vehicle unit sales would have increased approximately 5.0 percent year-over-year.”

Not only did the wholesale volume rise, CarMax enjoyed an 8.8-percent improvement in wholesale vehicle gross profit per unit to $951 from $874.

On the top line, CarMax reported that its net sales and operating revenues increased 7.9 percent to $3.88 billion. As a result, the company’s total gross profit increased 12.5 percent versus last year's second quarter to $521.4 million. Part of that gross profit rise came from a $10.4 million one-time increase in service department gross profits.

“This increase resulted from a change in timing in our recognition of reconditioning overhead costs. These costs, which previously had been expensed as incurred, are now allocated to the carrying cost of inventory,” CarMax said.

Editor’s note: For more coverage of CarMax’s Q2 performance including commentary from company executives, watch for a report coming in a future installment of AuSM Today.

Extra $50 in used gross help dealers overcome new-car profit dip

CLEVELAND - 

The July dealer survey conducted by KeyBanc Capital Markets showed that 88 percent of respondents enjoyed a used-vehicle sales increase year-over-year.

Half of the stores that participated generated a used sales lift of less than 5 percent, while a quarter of the dealers told KeyBanc that they had a sales gain between 5 and 10 percent.

Another 13 percent told the investment observers that they posted a used sales jump of more than 10 percent.

The remaining dealers that didn’t enjoy a sales gain year-over-year watched used sales soften by at least 5 percent.

In terms of gross profit on those used turns, 50 percent of dealers participating in KeyBanc’s survey made an extra $50 year-over-year while 13 percent watched used gross stay flat.

KeyBanc pointed out that “used vehicles appear under pressure” since 50 percent of dealers watched their gross profit on new models drop by more than $50.

“This is in line with our expectations based on our belief that dealers will adjust used-vehicle inventory mix to match consumer preferences faster, as appears to be playing out, while it may take a quarter or two to adjust the new-vehicle mix,” KeyBanc’s Brett Hoselton said in the survey recap.

For stores that might have already made a pivot with their new-model inventory, 25 percent of dealers surveyed enjoyed a $50 gain in new-unit gross.

Meanwhile in the F&I department, 50 percent watched gross stay flat year-over-year while 38 percent had an increase of more than $50 with the remainder sustaining a dip of more than $50.

2 of 3 AutoNation new-car segments post upticks

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - 

Two of the three operating segments within AutoNation's retail new-vehicle unit sales metric registered increases in August.

The dealer group reported the sales breakdown went as follows:

— 10,239 units for domestic, up 2 percent versus August of last year

— 14,641 for import, down 14 percent versus August of last year

— 6,152 for premium luxury, up 8 percent versus August of last year.

All told, AutoNation turned 31,032 new vehicles in August, a decrease of 5 percent as compared to the same month last year, which included a calendar quirk where Labor Day sales were included in the August results.

On a same-store basis, AutoNation reported retail new vehicle unit sales in August softened by 7 percent year-over-year.

AutoNation expects to announce September retail new-vehicle unit sales on Oct. 2.

Q2 average used retail prices approach $19K

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - 

Along with listing the top 10 states where used sales climbed most during the second quarter, the latest Used Vehicle Market Report compiled by Edmunds.com indicated that the average used-vehicle retail prices hit a record high in the second quarter.

Aided in part by certified pre-owned units, Edmunds' analysis showed retail prices came in at $18,800 in Q2, up 7.6 percent — or $1,300 per vehicle — from the second quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, the average age of used cars sold in Q2 2015 was 4.5 years, down from an average of 4.9 years the same time last year.

While used-car managers might think the retail price record might stem solely from the CPO market because of a richer volume of younger, well-equipped units, Edmunds also highlighted in the report how the retail prices for some of the oldest vehicles potentially in dealer inventory are rising sharply. Take a look at what Edmunds uncovered when looking at the year-over-year rise for vehicles from the 2007 model-year and earlier:

— 8 years old: 11 percent

— 9 years old: 13 percent

— 10 years old: 11 percent

— 11 years old: 30 percent

— 12 years old: 30 percent

— 13 years old: 36 percent

— 14 years old: 48 percent

— 15 years old: 55 percent

“There is definitely a lot of demand for vehicles more than 10 years old,” Edmunds.com director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell told AuSM during a phone conversation on Friday.

“They’re now at price points for people who just need that mode of transportation,” Caldwell continued. “They’re not looking for the latest and greatest in terms of in-car technology. They want something that can get them from A to B. There’s just a lot of demand in that segment.

“A lot of people in that market are looking for older trucks and SUVs, especially the old body style SUVs before the crossover craze happened,” she went on to say.

While the overall retail price reading is higher, Caldwell noted how stickers for CPO models are becoming more attractive for shoppers.

“Because there's a growing inventory of newer used cars, the prices on these vehicles seem to be more consumer-friendly than in the past," Caldwell said. “For example, 3-year old used cars have more bells and whistles than older used cars, and they’re actually selling for less than they did just one year ago.

“Compare that to vehicles age 8 and over, whose prices are up 11 percent or more, on average, over last year. There's undoubtedly a growing value proposition these days in newer used cars,” she went on to say.

AuSM will have more details from Edmunds’ report that focuses on the CPO market as well as Caldwell’s assessment of how valuable certified sales are to both franchised dealers as well as automakers in the next installment of CPO Weekly, which is delivered each Tuesday.

And for the opportunity to gather information face-to-face, dealers are encouraged to attend the , which is part of Used Car Week. The CPO Forum gathers together thought-leaders in the certified space that all aim to help stores move more CPO metal.

The CPO Forum begins Used Car Week, which runs from Nov. 16-20 at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz. More details are available at .

Leading states for used sales

All told, Edmunds determined that more than 9.5 million used vehicles were sold during the second quarter of this year, a figure about 400,000 units higher year-over-year.

In the latest report, analysts highlighted the top 10 states that enjoyed the great lift during Q2. That group included:

1. Tennessee: up 34.8 percent
2. Maryland: up 20.8 percent
3. Virginia: up 12.5 percent
4. Utah: up 11.1 percent
5. New Hampshire: up 9.7 percent
6. Oregon: up 9.4
6. Rhode Island: up 9.4 percent
8. Florida: up 8.4 percent
8. Massachusetts: up 8.4 percent
10. Texas: up 7.3 percent

Meanwhile, Edmunds also spotted a quartet of states where used sales softened by double digits in Q2. Maine led the way with a 22.7-percent decrease, followed by Kansas (down 14.5 percent), Arkansas (down 11.1 percent) and New York (down 11.0 percent).

Franchised dealer count & sales throughput climbs

DETROIT - 

Not only are there more franchised dealerships in the United States than there were at the end of 2014, but the average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership is also trending toward an all-time record.

That’s according to statistics from Urban Science, which has released its 2015 midyear Automotive Franchise Activity Report.

The data shows that the number of franchised dealerships at the beginning of July showed a 0.3-percent increase from the end of 2014, up to 18,011 rooftops total in the nation.

According to the report, the throughput of those dealerships is trending to achieve an all-time record of 945 units per rooftop, resulting in the anticipated 17.1 million new-vehicle unit sales forecasted by LMC Automotive.

If achieved, the all-time high would tally the fourth consecutive year that U.S. dealerships maintained a throughput record.

While there was a slight increase in the number of rooftops, the number of franchises also increased by 0.3 percent since the end of 2014, up to 31,714 as of the beginning of July.

Mitch Phillips, the global director at Urban Science, believes the throughput record is very much likely to be broken this year.

“Dealership and franchise counts remain stable throughout the first half of 2015,” Phillips said. “Most local markets have not seen any net change in dealership counts at all.

“Breaking the sales throughput record looks promising,” he continued. “With a strong industry forecast and this stable dealer count, we are on track to top the 2014 record.”

Looking at individual states, Texas has seen the biggest increase of 10 dealerships this year. The Lone Star State is followed by California (8) and Florida (7), then Iowa, Maryland and Virginia (5 each).

TrueCar talks future after Painter’s resignation plan

SANTA MONICA, Calif.  - 

It was an eventful second-quarter conference call for TrueCar, one which included reporting an almost $15 million loss during the quarter, as well as plans for chief executive officer and chairman Scott Painter to step down later this year.

Though operating results suffered during the last quarter, the company did report an increase to $65.3 million in revenue (a quarterly record), up from $50.5 million during Q2 of 2014, as well strong unit sales —  points that Painter touched on during the conference call announcing his impending resignation as the leader of TrueCar.

“While our business performance was solid, and all the fundamentals of the business remains strong, the bottom line is we failed to deliver the operating results that our shareholders deserve,” Painter said.

During the call, Painter explained as CEO, he bears the ultimate responsibility for the company’s performance, “and falling short of expectations, including my own.”

“I feel an intensely personal responsibility to our shareholders, our employees, our dealer and OEM partners, and the 6 million customers who engage with us on a monthly basis to always do what’s best for the business,” Painter said, as he founded and grew the company over the past decade.

That said, Painter said the potential of the business is far greater than its current operating results suggest, while also noting he has had a sometimes “strained” relationship with the dealer community the company exists to serve.

“In addition, I do not believe I have communicated our value proposition to investors as effectively as I could have. Those things are on me,” he said.

Painter said during the call, “It’s time for a change.”

He will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s board of directors and will work with the board to find a replacement by the end of the year.

The board has already formed a search committee, and will begin working on the search for the new executive. Painter noted during the call that if a successor is found before the end of the year, the succession process will begin sooner than expected.

And along with Painter’s move, TrueCar announced that Christopher Claus, former president of USAA Financial Advice & Solutions Group and a current director of TrueCar, has been named lead independent director. The company explained Claus will focus on the board’s search committee to find a new CEO as well as building deeper ties with USAA.

Growing unit sales & future outlook

Speaking of the growing TrueCar/USAA partnership, this topic came up in TrueCar chief financial officer Mike Guthrie’s discussion of unit results for Q2.

Guthrie began by noting, “The numbers that we will report today are all in line with those preannounced results,” that the company shared during a July 29 call.

Starting with unit sales from TrueCar certified dealers, Guthrie reports 190,358 units were sold on the company’s platform in Q2, up 27 percent year-over-year.

Here are a few more break-out unit stats highlighted during the call:

  • The units sold by the company’s dealer partners represented 4 percent new-car retail market share for Q2, up 3.4 percent from this time last year.
  • The TrueCar branded channel accounted for 82,112 unit sales or 43 percent of the total. This represented 46 percent year-over-year growth.
  • About 21 percent of cars sold were used units in Q2, versus 24 percent in Q1.
  • The USAA channel accounted for 58,883 unit sales, an all-time high, and up 14 percent from this time last year.

“The co-branded marketing campaign we launched with USAA on May 21 bolstered these results, and we saw a significant acceleration in unit sales growth from Memorial Day to the end of June, versus the first half of the quarter,” said Guthrie.

In fact, due to the success of the program, Guthrie shared the campaign will go through Labor Day.

“The results we achieved in late May and June were strong, and we believe we can take that momentum into Q3 and grow that channel by as much as 15 percent year-over-year,” Guthrie said.

The company also shared it is very focused on adding new partners that can “reignite growth” in the coming months.

“For the rest of 2015, the focus is going to be on continuing to grow the business while managing investments and cost and delivering adjusted EBITDA,” Guthrie said.

And as the company heads into Q3, Guthrie said TrueCar would be putting emphasis on three points, one being growing the partnership with USAA.

Secondly, the company has budgeted as much as $20 million on acquisitions spend for its TrueCar branded channel.

“We plan to adjust that number during the quarter based on our desire to achieve efficient cost-per-sale economics. In any event, we expect to grow units approximately 20 to 25 percent year-over-year in the TrueCar branded channel,” Guthrie added.

Lastly, the CFO shared TrueCar is taking a “conservative approach” to other partner channels, given four quarters of basically flat performance. TrueCar is forecasting sequential declines in Q3 and Q4.

“We will, however, focus diligently on working more efficiently with these partners in order to achieve better results,” Guthrie said.

As for what’s in store for Q3, the company expected revenue to come in between $65 to $67 million dollars, with units coming in within the range of 190,000 to 195,000.

Looking at full-year 2015 predictions, Guthrie expects revenue of $252 to $258 million on units of 730,000 to 740,000.

TrueCar’s Painter to resign, quarterly loss approaches $15M

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - 

On Thursday, TrueCar not only reported that it suffered a $14.7 million loss during the second quarter, but the company also said its founder, chief executive officer and chairman Scott Painter will step down as CEO later this year.

The company indicated Painter will retire when his successor takes office, which is expected to occur by year-end. TrueCar also mentioned Painter will continue to serve as chairman of TrueCar’s board of directors.

“After a decade of building TrueCar from an idea into a public company, I have come to the conclusion reached by many founders and entrepreneurs in my position: It is time for a change,” Painter said in a release that included details of the soft second-quarter performance that company officials alerted the investment community was coming.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Scott for the creativity and vision he has demonstrated during the last decade in founding the company and leading it through its public offering,” said Todd Bradley, a member of TrueCar’s board of directors.

“We are grateful to Scott for the leadership demonstrated by making this difficult decision,” Bradley continued.

The news of Painter’s departure comes amid of flurry of activity regarding TrueCar and large dealer groups. Not only did TrueCar and AutoNation part ways at the end of the July, the company also settled a trademark dispute with Sonic Automotive.

And along with Painter’s move, TrueCar announced that Christopher Claus, former president of USAA Financial Advice & Solutions Group and a current director of TrueCar, has been named lead independent director. The company explained Claus will focus on the board’s search committee to find a new CEO as well as building deeper ties with USAA.

“I am honored to begin serving as the lead independent director and look forward to working closely with the leadership team to build upon and execute the vision that Scott has created, as well as maintain a strong partnership with the company’s largest affinity partner, USAA,” Claus said.

TrueCar’s leadership will have to steer the company through some difficult times. The company’s Q2 financial statement included nearly a $15 million net loss.

That said, the company reported an increase to $65.3 million in revenue, up from $50.5 million during Q2 of 2014.

“It was a tough quarter in relation to our initial guidance,” TrueCar chief financial officer Mike Guthrie said. “Notwithstanding that, we achieved notable successes.

“Traffic grew by 42 percent to 6 million unique visitors, and TrueCar Certified Dealers transacted a total of 190,358 vehicles on the platform, a quarterly record,” Guthrie continued. “New-car transactions represented 4 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the quarter.”

Editor’s note: Look for more coverage of developments at TrueCar coming in future editions of AuSM Today.

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