Case Studies

Client: Tesla Motors

Using the Tesla Roadster to Reignite the Entire Electric Car Industry

In 2006, consumers and media in the U.S. paid little attention to electric cars.  They certainly didn’t know anything about Tesla, a small builder of all-electric sports cars located in San Carlos, Calif.  PCG was tasked with changing all of this, with our first step being to recharge the dormant electric car industry.

Less than two years later, everyone was talking about electric vehicles. Tesla has been credited for making the world’s auto manufacturers seriously consider producing EVs, and PCG’s media relations on behalf of Tesla (from 2006-2009) have been cited as helping make the company a household name in the automotive world and beyond.

PCG implemented a strategic plan that used a steady stream of company and product information, media outreach and strategic participation at high-profile automotive events to achieve more than 75 million impressions in the first nine months.  PCG was able to secure coverage in hundreds of outlets, including Wallpaper in Russia, New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Wired, CBS Evening News, CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle.

By the end of our first year, Forbes called the Tesla Roadster “the most talked-about new car of the year.”

PCG’s efforts successfully created a “buzz” about the new sports car, positioned Tesla Motors as an innovative builder of high-quality, exotic performance electric cars, and portrayed their chief executive as a visionary who is working to make the world a better place.

Client: TrueCar

PCG hired to turn around TrueCar, a company caught in the "the swirl"

TrueCar, a Silicon-beach based company founded by Scott Painter, provides data to “create a better, no-hassle car-buying experience for consumers and dealers.” The company was sailing along with approximately 8,000 dealers until an ill-fated ad campaign featuring the tonality of “disruption” and “dealer condescension” turned the company upside down in November 2011. The ad, perceived as being pro-consumer, alienated the company’s auto dealer constituency (as well as some state and federal regulators) and resulted in TrueCar losing 5,000 of its clients overnight. The SoCal start-up was staring at bankruptcy and started hemorrhaging cash to the tune of $12 million a month.

In the midst of what the company now calls “the swirl,” PCG, with media and corporate contacts throughout the auto industry, was enlisted in May 2012 to help TrueCar regain its prior status. The first step was to work closely with TrueCar management to coordinate all messaging. (Consumer trust + best-in-industry data = dealer profitability.) A new ad campaign was then developed, one-on-one meetings with media were conducted, consumer PR outreach was initiated, “brand tonality” was developed for all dealers, dealer associations, manufacturers, state and federal agencies, consumers, media, bloggers, and, well, you get the idea.

Within three years, TrueCar was once again prospering, listing more than 10,000 dealer-partners and setting monthly transaction records. PCG also helped position the company for a successful $1.2 billion IPO.  In fact, as of today, accounts for more than two percent of all new cars sold – the equivalent of the largest auto dealership network in the U.S. Stories pertaining to TrueCar’s redemption have ranged from CNBC to Automotive News, while PCG has helped TrueCar shift from its once disruptive posture to being inclusive and serving as a partner.

Client: DealerRater

The go-to dealership ratings site

DealerRater, a Boston-based start-up, prides itself on helping consumers inform each other about finding the right salesperson at the right car dealership so they can purchase the right vehicle. The website offers more than 2.5 million sales and service reviews across 41,000 U.S. and Canadian dealerships and more than 14 million consumers read DealerRater content across the web each month. But this wasn’t always the case.

Originally a tech-centric company with a sea of coders and engineers, DealerRater’s mission was to build its brand and sales, and become a preeminent authority for car shoppers. In 2014, DealerRater enlisted PCG and its extensive network of automotive media contacts to help accomplish the task.

PCG implemented a strategic plan that included public and media relations, advertising, events and product launches. With PCG’s guidance, DealerRater experienced month over month and year over year increases in consumer reviews and grew its network of Certified Dealers – which enables auto dealers to achieve higher SEO rankings and maintain positive customer relations – from 2,000 to nearly 10,000. In less than 24 months, PCG helped DealerRater be acquired by and become the leader in online automotive reviews.