NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Auto sales are still on course to reach their highest rate in a decade, having hit a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.55 million vehicles in July -- the industry's second-fastest pace since 2005, according to AutomotiveNews. "We're pretty much on track for the second-best year in history," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com. Caldwell hiked her annual auto sales forecast more than 2% from 16.8 million units to 17.2 units following the release of the July data.
TrueCar aims to re-invent the way car dealers attract customers and sell vehicles. It's a unique concept, which has attracted may new car shoppers. The company has grown revenue by an average of more than 40% year over year in the past five quarters. And during that span, TrueCar has met or beaten its consensus earnings targets.
But that hasn't been enough to keep its shares from getting hammered recently. So far in 2015, they've plummeted more than 76% and are down some 67% over the past year. With shares now trading at around $5, founder Scott Painter last week announced he's stepping down as CEO.
The change in leadership will introduce more uncertainty. But it's worth asking asking: How much worse can things get, especially with Painter staying on as chairman? While second-quarter revenue of $65 million didn't reach the 40% growth rate investors had become accustomed to, it still represented growth of 30% and beat consensus estimates.
At the same time, TrueCar, which expects to sell 190,000 to 195,000 units in the third quarter and 730,000 to 740,000 for all of 2015, continue to raise its Franchise Dealer Count. Its number of dealers was up 21% year over year to a total of 9,300, following a net addition of 1,618 dealers. This is important because the more dealers that sign up for its services, the more money TrueCar is able to make by selling advertising space on its website.
That 21% climb in dealers, which followed a 26% jump in the first quarter, suggests its business model is working. So with the stock trading at its 52-week low and the company maintaining its full-year revenue guidance -- and given how strong auto sales continue to be -- investors looking for a potential bounce-back play should consider TrueCar.
Despite the punishment dealt to the stock, analysts are broadly positive about TrueCar's prospects. It has a consensus hold rating and an average analyst price target of $8, about 47% higher than its current levels. So investors with an appetite for risk and a willingness to be patient should consider buying TRUE, and then hanging on for the ride.