Is TrueCar (TRUE - Get Report) in the middle of a big turnaround?

In its second full quarter under a new chief executive, the digital vehicle purchasing platform beat analyst expectations last week, with a loss of 10 cents per share against a consensus forecast of a 17-cent-a-share loss.

"We made some great progress this past quarter," Chip Perry, TrueCar's president and chief executive officer said. "We hit the key milestones we set for ourselves in the second quarter and we have a solid plan for improvement for the rest of the year."

Perry said that TrueCar's dealer count, the number of franchisees doing business with the company, had reached 12,669, an all-time high.

Best of all, TrueCar got some love from Mike Jackson, chief executive officer of AutoNation (AN - Get Report) , the country's biggest chain of auto dealerships.

When Jackson was asked during an AutoNation earnings call about the progress of TrueCar he said, "I recently met with Chip Perry sometime in the last couple weeks to do a review of the pilot that we had kicked off in the middle of the second quarter and benchmark all the results against our hopes and expectations. And it was a complete success. TrueCar has transformed itself into being really a win-win partner, and all the commitments and promises they had made to us were kept 100%. ... And my expectation now is, by the end of the year, TrueCar will have been implemented in all AutoNation stores."

Investors who bet on Perry have been rewarded. Since he was named chief executive in November, shares have risen 45%. The stock fell in January along with other auto-related stocks, then recovered. In the past six months TrueCar shares have more than doubled.

TrueCar seemed headed for oblivion late last year. Its then-chief executive officer and co-founder, Scott Painter, agreed to step down in favor of Perry. Perry, upon taking the reins, promised to improve relationships with disgruntled dealers, the company's primary customers.

Shares had been hammered the previous summer when Jackson announced that AutoNation was dropping TrueCar after a dispute. Numerous car dealers had expressed dissatisfaction with the company's business practices, which involve providing leads to dealers from consumers seeking to buy specific vehicle models.

TrueCar said its average number of monthly unique visitors to its website increased 12% year over year to 6.7 million in the second quarter. The company was responsible for 192,531 new and used vehicle sales in the quarter, for an average monetization of $321 per vehicle.

Doron Levin is the host of "In the Driver Seat," broadcast on SiriusXM Insight 121, Saturday at noon, encore Sunday at 9 a.m.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.