Since the account emerged on Twitter in 2021, the identity of “Car Dealership Guy” has been an enigma in the automotive industry, until now.
With content that encompasses consumer advocacy, big-picture economic insights, insider insights on car-buying, dealer operations, and the inner workings of the used-car business, CDG generally tries to bust through the “opaque” walls of the auto industry with humorous quips, car-buying advice and unvarnished takes on industry news from the vantage point of a car dealer.
His posts, podcasts, and newsletters have quickly grown in popularity among dealers and economists alike. And, lucky you! It’s 2024, and this is the year that we finally get to pull the curtain back on the industry’s most mysterious voice.
Here’s what we’ve learned about CDG so far:
Yossi "Joe" Levi, perhaps better known to the internet as Car Dealership Guy, began his automotive journey as a second-generation Israeli immigrant working in his father's used car dealership, Danis Auto, in Philadelphia, PA.
By the time he was barely a teenager, he was already cutting his teeth in the family business, learning how to influence people and sales from his father.
From Lot to Laptop
While continuing to work at Danis, Yossi's academic pursuits led him to Temple University's Fox School of Business, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Finance in 2015.
“When I was in college, my dad and I partnered up and I actually started leading the company. I say leading because we didn’t even have titles back then. There were just 10 people doing everything that needed to be done. My dad focused on buying and I pretty much handled everything else. I started learning what it takes to build and grow a company. More importantly, I had my eyes set on growth and I said, “How can we do better? How can we get bigger?” I decided to leverage the internet as much as possible to improve the car buying experience for our customers.”
After graduation, Yossi took on a VP role at Danis, and with his new-found perspectives, he decided that the car-buying process could use a serious digital overhaul.
He began to consider, “There has to be a better way to help people buy cars. It’s so inefficient. It’s antiquated. What if we create a frictionless way, completely online, to help people save time and in a direct-to-consumer model, allow people to buy a car?”
The Birth of Gettacar
In August 2018, alongside childhood friend Jake Levin, Yossi launched Gettacar. Drawing inspiration from Levin's involvement with goPuff, the duo’s mission was simple but ambitious: make purchasing a used car as effortless as ordering a pizza for delivery.
With Gettacar, Levi applied everything he learned from his days at Danis Auto and then some. He envisioned a service that not only sold cars but also delivered a seamless, customer-first experience. The platform allowed buyers to sift through a curated selection of vehicles, crunch numbers on financing, and even get the car delivered to their doorstep, all without setting foot in a dealership.
Levi was so bold as to say, “Long gone are the days where brick and mortar was your way into success in this business. It’s just not the case anymore,” he said. “It’s not about your physical presence anymore. It’s about the customer experience you can deliver. We don’t have a big, fancy showroom. It’s direct-to-your-door and it’s all on your time.”
A Bumpy Road
Ironically, Levi's journey took a curious turn that some traditionalists can't help but raise an eyebrow at. After years of fiercely critiquing the brick-and-mortar model, Levi's strategy shifted gears in late 2018, moving towards acquiring traditional dealerships through the merger with Danis Auto and plans for several more independent acquisitions.
Despite the innovative approach and hefty early funding of over $45M from investors like e.ventures, 3L, and Torch Capital, “Gettacar” soon were facing many of the same challenges many startups do—scaling up, refining the business model, and navigating the complex landscape of used car sales. The car business doesn’t quite translate like most other retail businesses.
December 2021: Car Dealership Guy Joins Twitter
In the midst of the ups and downs, Levi's persona as the Car Dealership Guy took on a life of its own.
Through tweets, podcasts, and newsletters, CDG became a regular voice for the retail auto industry; debunking myths, sharing insider tips, and sometimes making his followers laugh. Levi has used his platform to connect with a broad group of car dealers, buyers, and enthusiasts.
Getta Gotta Lotta Problems
In April 2022, Gettacar decided to rebrand to simply Getta and changed its strategy to buying brick-and-mortar dealerships with the intention of transforming them into “omnichannel powerhouses.”
When the pivot was still in its early days, Levi confidently stated that the company had already had agreements to buy four traditional, physical dealerships in the Northeast, stretching from Upstate New York to Washington, D.C. (but to our knowledge, these dealerships were never acquired).
To help the company scale, Getta hired its first-ever chief operation officer: John Foley, previously COO at CarLotz.
But, by June of that same year, Getta seemed to have run out of funding and announced broad layoffs and closed its R&D center in Rehovot.
By September of 2023, Getta was no more.
CDG Keeps Gaining
After an online conversation on Twitter Spaces with the CEO of Ford, Jim Farley, and the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, Car Dealership Guy’s notoriety skyrocketed. He has since turned his following into a small media empire.
“I think I've made a lot of wrong predictions. I've also made a lot of right predictions. But predictions aside, if you just follow the data I'm laying out, it almost always points you in the right direction of where prices are heading—and ultimately, how they may impact inflation. I think that's what people are looking for, and I think lots of people have found a lot of value in the data and the anecdotes that I share.” CDG said during an interview.
The Big Reveal
Yossi introduced himself for the first time as Car Dealership Guy in person at this year’s NADA Show in Las Vegas and premiered a short documentary about his personal story in partnership with Cars Commerce.
What will happen now that CDG has been unshrouded is anyone’s guess.
But, whenever someone is sparking conversations about how the retail auto industry can improve, we are open arms.