SeeDealerCost.com, a website designed to show customers vehicle specifications and MSRP along with dealer invoice pricing, was launched this week.
Through the site, consumers can compare units and view details of each, much like auto industry sites provided by Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. Users can register for the site, which allows them to save searches and request a quote from manufacturers that pay subscription fees for leads, or they can simply plug in a zip code and search anonymously.
Dave Taylor, a former marine industry executive who works for See Dealer Cost, says in addition to its main location, there are 600-650 URLs that feed the site. He says the site saw a steady flow of visitors before it was even announced and following some initial media coverage, "traffic exploded."
The design of the site is intentionally spare, with a simple white background and links to specs, pricing and other information. Taylor says the developers worked to keep things “easy-to-use and intuitive.” The site's motto, displayed on the top-right of each page, reads “No frills – just the info. Now you have the tools to negotiate your best deal.”
The site, which is free to users, does not sell any products. Instead, Taylor says it will supply "the pertinent information we believe consumers are looking for to make an informed purchase decision." It will generate revenue through display advertising and a lead subscriptions program.
The site has caused a stir in the marine industry, with the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) speaking out against it, and several manufacturers refusing to participate. The MRAA argues the site does not accurately report dealers’ costs because it leaves out shipping, handing, preparation, tax, title, or any of those other fees, though that is indicated on the site.