• Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.
Increase Test Drive Appointments!

CarGurus vs Carfax - Good and Great _or_ Great and Good?

Get Podium

Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
145
130
First Name
Dan
@DrewAment you actually bring up a great point. In the scramble to align with shoppers, the Classifieds take it upon themselves to be the expert in making sure the customer knows the dealer isn't ripping them off. In their efforts they risk confusing the shopper further by cementing that the term "Market" is a moving target. Here is an example within our own inventory:

2017 Mazda Mazda6 Touring 24k miles - Provision 97% Mkt and 11 days old priced at $17,000

Cars.com = Good Deal with no added comment regarding "Why"
CarGurus = Fair Deal with added comment of $442 Below Market
CarFax = Fair Value with added comment of $140 Above CarFax Value (CarFax had to be different and use Blue to state this?)
Edmunds.com = Fair Deal with added comment of $349 Below Market
AutoTrader/KBB.com = Great Price with no added comment as to "Why" (if I value as a shopper in KBB value tool, "Typical Listing Price (CPO)" is $18,743 and "Fair Market Range (CPO)" is $16,665-$19,820)
TrueCar = Great Price with added comment of $304 off avg. list price

Shoppers may have more data at their fingertips but they sure are overloaded with "Expert" shopping advice from sources that don't buy and sell cars... Does anyone have insight to the market values each is running? Obviously KBB/AutoTrader is running their own Cox family values.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Steve Greenfield

ryan.leslie

One of the good guys
Apr 20, 2009
608
538
First Name
Ryan
Hey @Dan Sayer,

CarStory does a lot of work in this space. We've been at it for 15 years and no offense to some of the players listed, but I'm not surprised to see the shotgun pattern above. Determining valuation is very complicated. It starts with a large, clean dataset. At a minimum, you need:
  • A complete set of inventory - the more you have, the better the output.
  • Accurate vehicle data - VIN decode only tells part of the story. To compare apples-to-apples, you need a complete and accurate description of the vehicle.
  • Similarity algorithm - You need to develop an understanding of which cars are truly similar to one another. This step is critical and more complex than I can explain in a single line. Suffice to say, it was hard enough to do that we patented it after we figured it out.
  • True Data Science - I can use Martha Stewart's recipe and match the ingredients and not bake a very good cake. We see a lot of vendors use simple averages. That might have been good enough ten years ago, but it is not today.
So, why all of the different values? It could be variation in any of the bullets above. It could be that the company doesn't have one of the items above. You've taken the "red pill" and are just starting down the rabbit hole. ;) The next tunnel to explore is trade-in values and instant cash offers. Put your consumer hat on and get ready to be extremely underwhelmed by the current state of this critical component of true digital retailing.

FWIW, Vroom had a pretty good day yesterday after their IPO. That wasn't entirely about their "sales" model in my opinion. Inventory acquisition strategy and execution matters too.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Jeff Kershner

DrewAment

Boss
Apr 30, 2009
323
142
First Name
Drew
Are we chasing deal bades?? And why is the vender pushing this so hard??

And if we are, what are the criteria used to get a Great/Good, etc. As @Dan Sayer pointed out - none of them have a deep discussion of why, or the dataset, or the validation they are using to make that decision.
.
.
.

1591895067452.png
 

GuyCampbell

Green Pea
Oct 25, 2019
7
3
First Name
Guy
@DrewAment you actually bring up a great point. In the scramble to align with shoppers, the Classifieds take it upon themselves to be the expert in making sure the customer knows the dealer isn't ripping them off. In their efforts they risk confusing the shopper further by cementing that the term "Market" is a moving target. Here is an example within our own inventory:

2017 Mazda Mazda6 Touring 24k miles - Provision 97% Mkt and 11 days old priced at $17,000

Cars.com = Good Deal with no added comment regarding "Why"
CarGurus = Fair Deal with added comment of $442 Below Market
CarFax = Fair Value with added comment of $140 Above CarFax Value (CarFax had to be different and use Blue to state this?)
Edmunds.com = Fair Deal with added comment of $349 Below Market
AutoTrader/KBB.com = Great Price with no added comment as to "Why" (if I value as a shopper in KBB value tool, "Typical Listing Price (CPO)" is $18,743 and "Fair Market Range (CPO)" is $16,665-$19,820)
TrueCar = Great Price with added comment of $304 off avg. list price

Shoppers may have more data at their fingertips but they sure are overloaded with "Expert" shopping advice from sources that don't buy and sell cars... Does anyone have insight to the market values each is running? Obviously KBB/AutoTrader is running their own Cox family values.
@Dan Sayer What zip code is your Mazda for sale in? I could tell you what the average price/miles/days on market for any similar vehicles is within a certain miles radius. I can also tell you what those averages were for similar vehicles that sold in the last 90 days in that radius.

Does anyone know if any of these valuation tools use the location of the vehicles in their valuations?
 

Dan Sayer

Boss
Dec 4, 2009
145
130
First Name
Dan
@Dan Sayer What zip code is your Mazda for sale in? I could tell you what the average price/miles/days on market for any similar vehicles is within a certain miles radius. I can also tell you what those averages were for similar vehicles that sold in the last 90 days in that radius.

Does anyone know if any of these valuation tools use the location of the vehicles in their valuations?
@GuyCampbell we use Provision by vAuto so have that data figured within our price strategies for each market. As for vendors, I would say with 99% confidence they all figure their price validation by geo.
 
  • 1
Reactions: GuyCampbell
Increase Test Drive Appointments!