By Brian Pasch
Today, Dealertrack Technologies announced their purchase of Dealer.com for nearly 1 billion dollars, surprising the automotive industry. You can read the official press release on Marketwatch.com.
When I published my white paper “The Six Horsemen of Automotive Innovation” earlier this year, both companies were recognized for their strong product pipeline and market leading technologies. Together, these two companies will be a force of nature to be reckoned with!
Dealertrack Technologies is the leader in F&I solutions and back office technology for the automotive community. Dealer.com brings to the partnership a world-class integrated digital marketing platform used by over 9,000 dealers and endorsed by OEM’s.
Dealer.com websites and digital marketing solutions are co-op approved by Chrysler, Fiat, Subaru, BMW, Acura, Audi, Volvo, Kia, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Dealertrack Technologies bring Ford and Acura to the party. These embedded OEM relationships will be strengthened by the merger giving OEM’s a more complete set of sales and shopping analytics.
Together, the two companies will be able to provide a more efficient “end to end” solution for car dealers; details should be released in the coming months.
As predicted in “The Six Horsemen of Automotive Innovation” white paper, consolidation in the auto industry is coming. Integrated digital marketing and back office solutions will provide dealers unprecedented levels of visibility into the today’s shopper. You can request a copy of the white paper here.
My first question to Rick Gibbs, Chief Executive Officer of Dealer.com, about the announcement was his priorities in the coming months during this transition period.
Rick responded “I have three main priorities, and in order they are: our Dealer clients, our OEM relationships, and to create a seamless shopping experience for the consumer.”
He emphasized that his priorities would always be to put the needs of the dealer first.
Speaking today with Darren Haygood, Vice President of Sales at Dealer.com, I was able to get some additional details. Dealer.com clients will not see any interruption of services, and the Dealer.com technical teams in Vermont and in California will continue normal operations. Sales and support channels will remain unchanged and Dealer.com will retain its name, under the Dealertrack Technologies umbrella.
According to the official press release: “Upon closing, Gibbs will become Executive Vice President and Group President of Dealertrack’s Digital Marketing solution team.” If you read between the lines, Rick will be heading up the digital strategy which is good news for the Dealer.com team, and maybe not so good news for some of the Dealertrack Technologies development teams, who are supporting what could soon become legacy software.
What About ClickMotive Websites?
Dealer.com’s website technology and integrated suite of digital advertising is far superior that those owned by Dealertrack Technologies, under their ClickMotive division. I would predict that the 9,000+ Dealer.com clients will NOT see any change in platform.
For the ClickMotive website clients, if they are eventually converted to Dealer.com’s integrated digital marketing technology, I would consider this a major benefit from the merger. No official announcement has been made on the upgrade path for ClickMotive website customers, but it seems like the logical next step.
I am sure that when I present my State of the Union address at the 2014 Automotive Website Awards, January 24th in New Orleans, I will have more details on this marriage of titans. Dealers and automotive industry leaders are invited to attend the awards ceremony, which starts at 7:00 PM at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. (RSVP Here)
Upcoming Interview with Rick Gibbs
I will be publishing an interview with Rick Gibbs in the coming days, so stay tuned for an in-depth look at this massive change in the players in the automotive marketing horserace. Congratulations to the founders of Dealer.com for this achievement from humble beginnings; team meetings in a living room in Vermont.
Change is in the air. The 2014 NADA Convention will be the epicenter for major announcements in the automotive marketing industry. You should make plans to attend; this convention will be a wild ride!
After NADA I will updating my Six Horseman article. Here is a teaser. Is the field narrowing to five players? What if there was a strong replacement for the merged horseman? I can’t wait to share my thoughts in February.
Brian Pasch, CEO