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TrueCar improves auto shopping data

September 2, 2010 |  7:37 am has come up with a consumer-friendly way of looking at auto pricing data.

Shoppers on the Santa Monica-based company’s site can sort autos by segment and price.

Let’s say you are shopping for a family sedan. You type in your ZIP Code and your price range -– say $20,000 to $25,000 and uncheck all the selections but sedans.  

TrueCar then generates a list of vehicles, including their sticker price, and the price one of the dealers it works with is willing to sell the car for and figures the percentage discount. The prices don’t include sales tax, registration and document fee because those vary by state and city.

You can get the information without disclosing who you are or committing to use TrueCar' auto sales referral service. And it is useful for figuring out what to purchase, what is in your price range and where to start any negotiations with a dealer.

You can also check the pricing against a variety of other data TrueCar offers on its site, including a bell curve and price points for closed transactions in your region, which is particularly helpful information when shopping for a new vehicle.

A search for family sedans in that price range in Southern California turned up everything from a 2010 Buick Lucerne for $24,118, offered at 20% off the sticker price, to a 2011 Toyota Camry for $20,891, 13% off the sticker price.

-- Jerry Hirsch