For a businessman, there are few things worse than having to start all over again – unless it involves losing millions of dollars in the process.
But few in the auto industry have had more experience reinventing themselves than Scott Painter, a serial entrepreneur who has repeatedly come up with concepts aimed at rethinking the way cars are sold. Among the companies to his credit are CarsDirect and TrueCar.
The latter website made waves when it began offering U.S. car buyers the sort of deep, insider pricing information that hadn’t previously been made public, including not only data on what dealers really paid for a vehicle but also the lowest prices that customers were getting away with paying.
Not surprisingly, that didn’t sit well with retailers who accused TrueCar of violating various strict franchising laws. Notably, states like Texas and Virginia bar so-called “bird-dogging,” or auto brokering, where a third party steps in to help a customer get a better price.