On June 5, Cars.com executives were honored to ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange with some of our longest-standing dealer customers. CEO Alex Vetter discussed our company and the future of the automotive industry with news media ranging from The Street.com to Yahoo Finance. The conversations spoke volumes about the opportunities ahead for Cars.com, our customers, and the industry – here are the highlights:

Creating Efficiency With Digital

Alex pointed out the enormous opportunity for automotive advertisers to reap the benefits of a stronger digital investment.

“There is $30 billion spent in advertising today, but only a small percentage of the audience is in market to buy a car,” he told TheStreet.com. “But 80 percent of the people on Cars.com intend to buy a car within six months.” He also pointed out that for mobile audiences, the purchase horizon is 40 days or less.

“We are a great home to drive more efficient sales for auto advertisers compared to where a lot of their advertising and marketing dollars are going today in other channels,” he told Cheddar TV. He added, “As automakers and dealers realize that trusted, independent marketplaces are where consumers shop, more and more of those advertising dollars will shift our way.”

Fueling Local Retail

Unlike technology companies that disrupt retail, Cars.com uses technology to support retail. “If you look at the stock market today and all the headlines coming out of a Wall Street, it’s about how technology is destroying local retail jobs, local retail economy and you’re seeing many big-box retailers go out of business,” he said to Auto Remarketing. But Cars.com is bucking that story.

“The 20,000 dealers who subscribe to us are hardest working retailers in their local markets, building great businesses, giving back to their local communities, and building jobs,” he told Yahoo Finance. “Dealers are the last vestige of true American entrepreneurialism in this country and so we are excited to help them succeed in this digitally driven world today.” He pointed out how Cars.com uses mobile to help dealers make better decisions based on the behavior of shoppers empowered with mobile devices.

Empowering Consumers

“We’re a free, transparent marketplace,” Alex said to Cheddar TV. “We have millions of consumers coming every day to make important decisions about the next car they are going to own. We’ve always been about empowering consumers to make better decisions. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices, with 30 manufacturers producing scores and makes and models across hundreds of dealerships.” He added to Yahoo Finance, “We empower consumers across all dimensions of the entire customer journey — product, price, place, and person.”

Succeeding with Mobile

One of the reasons Cars.com is well positioned to help both dealers and consumers succeed is that we understand how to sense and respond to changes in consumer behavior. For instance, we anticipated the growth of mobile and quickly built the leading mobile experience in our industry.

“We are the leader in the mobile car shopping space,” Alex said to Cheddar TV. “We have the Number One app in Android and iOS environment in terms of most downloads and highest ratings. We empower consumers about making the most important choices about what to buy, where to buy in in a mobile-first world.”

Alex added that our mobile expertise is making us a stronger growth partner for dealers and OEMs.

“We’re now bringing mobile technology to dealer lots, and consumers are using our platform while standing on the dealer lot to tell us what they think,” he said to Cheddar TV. “We can harness that information and provide data to manufacturers about what’s happening with their brands and businesses and move the industry at a much faster rate.”

Looking Ahead…

As Alex told TheStreet.com, “We are not at peak auto. Our business has a lot of upside growth. We see a lot of excitement in the auto category in our sector. Cars.com is in great shape. We are profitable. And we are going to reinvest in our business.”

“As we transition into an independent, publicly traded company, we are in an even better position to help automotive retailers win, by building an engine that connects buyers and sellers more intelligently and efficiently,” he said in a letter to customers.

“Thank you for helping us succeed over the past 18 years, and for your continued support for the next chapter together.”
Here’s to the next chapter – we’re here to help you win by delivering growth…for every turn.