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TrueCar hits milestone, focuses on mobile

The future of car buying is probably in your pocket, says the CEO of TrueCar.com. The online auto-buying service, which had its initial public offering last year, is positioning itself to take advantage of a move toward greater reliance on smartphone and other mobile digital devices when it comes to buying a car, says CEO Scott Painter.GTY 491310323 A FIN MAX USA NY

That might sound surprising, given that cars are usually families’ next biggest purchase after a house and that smartphones or often used for more everyday purposes, from Candy Crush to thumbing through email. But Painter says the smartphone is becoming a lot more than an entertainment and commications device. Rather, it is an electronic wallet that will be used to complete the car-buying transaction quicker, Painter predicts.

Painter can focus on achieving the next goal now that TrueCar has hit a milestone — the 10,000th dealer in its network. With a strong network, Painter says TrueCar can ensure that it has enough dealers to provide competing quotes to potential car buyers wherever they live. “We’ve reached a threshold of dealers that provides strong brand and geographic coverage to ensure there are convenient, competitively priced dealers close to consumers,” Painter says in a statement. “Our business expands as we grow our franchise network.”

Of its car brand-affiliated dealers, Painter says about TrueCar accounts for finding buyers for about 15% of their new-car sales. TrueCar has stayed true to investors. From about $10 a share after its IPO in May, its stock closed Friday at $19.27 a share.