U.S. online car shopping service TrueCar Inc (TRUE.O), whose shares closed up 11 pct in their debut on the Nasdaq on Friday, has plans for expanding so consumers can compare prices on big-ticket items other than automobiles.
Although nothing is imminent, the plans highlight the ambitions of the company, whose share price closed at $10.06 from its $9 IPO price. The high for the day was $10.76 per share, which would value the company at about $764 million.
TrueCar President John Krafcik, the former U.S. chief of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), said global expansion talk has so far only involved "a few idle lunch moments, but if you look at the future of this idea and where it can play, it's pretty exciting."
Krafcik made his comments by telephone about the TrueCar business model, which allows consumers to comparison shop for new and used vehicles on the company's website among participating U.S. dealers.
The website allows U.S. consumers to view the average sale price of a new car, its sticker price, the site's estimate of a good price and the price dealers in its network are offering.
The company sold all the 7.78 million shares in its initial public offering and raised about $70 million, well below the expected range of $12 to $14.
TrueCar has 8,000 auto dealers, about a quarter of U.S. market, that participate in its network, said Larry Dominique, TrueCar vice president. The company hopes to ramp that up to between 10,000 and 11,000.
TrueCar gets $300 when a customer buys a vehicle. The company was involved in about 3.5 percent of U.S. autos sales by retail in the first quarter, Krafcik said.
TrueCar's competitors include online automotive sites such as AutoTrader.com, eBay Motors, Edmunds.com, KBB.com, Autobytel.com and Cars.com, as well as sites operated by General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N).
TrueCar's net loss attributable to its shareholders rose about 10 percent to $9.92 million for the three months ended March. Revenue rose about 75 percent to $43.9 million.
Santa Monica, California-based TrueCar, which has received a $30 million investment from Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital, is headed by Scott Painter, an early adviser to Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O). Painter founded TrueCar in 2005.
TrueCar's other investors include venture capital firm Upfront Ventures, billionaire Jeff Skoll's Capricorn Investment Group and insurer United Services Automobile Association.
Insurer United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is TrueCar's largest shareholder, with about 23 percent stake after the IPO.
(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore and Bernie Woodall in Detroit.; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Andre Grenon)