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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM TO

Commission File Number 001-38233

 

CarGurus, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

04-3843478

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

 

2 Canal Park, 4th Floor

Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

02141

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (617) 354-0068

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Trading Symbol

 

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

Class A Common Stock,

par value $0.001 per share

 

CARG

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

(Nasdaq Global Select Market)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Small reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share, held by non-affiliates of the registrant based on the closing price of the registrant’s common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Global Market on June 30, 2021 was $2,546,447,011. Shares of voting and non-voting stock held by executive officers, directors and holders of more than 10% of the outstanding stock as of such date have been excluded from this calculation because such persons or institutions may be deemed affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of February 18, 2022, the registrant had 102,066,025 shares of Class A common stock, and 15,999,173 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.001 per share, outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this report relates. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part of this Form 10-K.

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

20

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

35

Item 2.

Properties

35

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

35

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

35

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

36

Item 6.

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

37

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

38

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

65

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

66

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

111

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

111

Item 9B.

Other Information

113

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions That Prevent Inspections

113

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

114

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

114

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

114

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

114

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

114

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

115

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

115

 


SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward‑looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, which statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Forward‑looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance. In some cases, you can identify forward‑looking statements because they contain words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “likely,” “may,” “might,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Forward-looking statements contained in this report include, but are not limited to, statements about:

our future financial performance, including our expectations regarding our revenue, cost of revenue, gross profit or gross margin, operating expenses, ability to generate cash flow, and ability to achieve, and maintain, future profitability;
our growth strategies and our ability to effectively manage any growth;
the value proposition of our product offerings for dealers and consumers;
our belief that we are building the world’s most trusted and transparent automotive marketplace and creating a differentiated automotive search experience for consumers;
the ability of our combined suite of offerings to increase a dealer’s return on investment, add scale to our marketplace network, drive powerful network effects, create powerful synergies for dealers, transform the end-to-end car shopping journey for both consumers and dealers and become the marketplace for all steps of the vehicle acquisition and purchase process;
our evolution to becoming a transaction-enabled marketplace where consumers can shop, buy, seek financing, and sell their cars and dealers can source, market, and sell their vehicles;
our belief that certain of our strengths, including our trusted marketplace for consumers, our strong value proposition for dealers and our data-driven approach, among other things, will lead to an advantage over our competitors;
our ability to deliver quality leads at a high volume for our dealer customers and to provide the highest return on a dealer’s investment;
our ability to maintain and acquire new customers;
our ability to maintain and build our brand;
our efforts to continue to enhance our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives;
our ability to realize benefits from our acquisitions and successfully implement the integration strategies in connection therewith;
our expectations regarding future share issuances and the exercise of put and call rights in connection with potentially acquiring additional equity interests in CarOffer, LLC, or CarOffer, as well as the associated valuation of redeemable noncontrolling interests;
the value proposition of the CarOffer online wholesale platform, including our belief that as dealer enrollments increase, dealers will see a corresponding increase in inventory on the platform, further enabling liquidity, selection, choice and business efficiencies;
our expectations for CarGurus Instant Max Cash Offer, as well as our digital retail offerings and continued investments;
our belief that our partnerships with automotive lending companies provides more transparency to car shoppers and delivers highly qualified car shopper leads to participating dealers;
our belief that our Area Boost offering promotes participating dealers’ delivery capabilities and increases non-local VDP views;
the impact of competition in our industry and innovation by our competitors;
the impact of accounting pronouncements;
the impact of litigation;
our ability to hire and retain necessary qualified employees to expand our operations;

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our ability to adequately protect our intellectual property;
our ability to stay abreast of, and effectively comply with, new or modified laws and regulations that currently apply or become applicable to our business and our beliefs regarding our compliance therewith;
our ability to overcome challenges facing the automotive industry ecosystem, including inventory supply problems, global supply chain challenges, the global semiconductor chip shortage, changes to trade policies and other macroeconomic issues;
failure to maintain an effective system of internal controls necessary to accurately report our financial results and prevent fraud;
our expectations regarding cash generation and the sufficiency of our cash to fund our operations;
the future trading prices of our Class A common stock;
our expectation that we will realize the benefits of deferred tax assets;
our expected returns on investments;
the impact of our expense reduction efforts during the second quarter of 2020;
our outlook for our Restricted Listings product;
our expectations regarding future fee reductions for customers; and
the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should not rely upon forward‑looking statements as predictions of future events. We have based the forward‑looking statements contained in this report primarily on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our business, financial condition, operating results, and growth prospects. The outcome of the events described in these forward‑looking statements is subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors described in the section titled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward‑looking statements contained in this report. Further, our forward‑looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any future acquisitions, mergers, dispositions or joint ventures in which we may be involved, or investments we may make. We cannot assure you that the results, events, and circumstances reflected in the forward‑looking statements will be achieved or occur, and actual results, events, or circumstances could differ materially from those described in the forward‑looking statements.

The forward‑looking statements made in this report relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward‑looking statement made in this report to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this report or to reflect new information or the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law.

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business.

Overview

CarGurus, Inc. is a multinational, online automotive platform for buying and selling vehicles that is building upon its industry-leading listings marketplace with both digital retail solutions and the CarOffer online wholesale platform. The CarGurus marketplace gives consumers the confidence to purchase or sell a vehicle either online or in-person, and it gives dealerships the power to accurately price, effectively market, instantly acquire and quickly sell vehicles, all with a nationwide reach. CarGurus uses proprietary technology, search algorithms and data analytics to bring trust, transparency and competitive pricing to the automotive shopping experience. In addition to the United States, we operate online marketplaces under the CarGurus brand in Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States and United Kingdom, we also operate the Autolist and PistonHeads online marketplaces, respectively, as independent brands.

CarGurus was founded upon the premise of bringing trust and transparency to the car shopping experience. Our online marketplace platform provides ease of access to prices of vehicles and dealer ratings imperative to a consumer’s vehicle purchase. Providing car-shoppers with the tools and knowledge for their experience has enabled us to garner a large, engaged user base with whom our dealers can transact. Our ready-to-shop audience of 31.6 million average monthly visitors in the U.S. has attracted 23,860 paying dealers to list inventory on our U.S. online marketplace. Over time we identified that we could continue to be a valued partner to consumers in their car-shopping journey while at the same time innovating to further our partnership with our dealer community. We have since introduced products that expand a dealer’s geographic footprint, enable digital retail capabilities that provide consumers with a self-selected journey, and offer new sources of acquiring inventory from our expanded network. This expanded suite of offerings can help increase our dealers’ return on investment, or ROI, adding even more scale to our marketplace network. While we maintain our founding principles of trust and transparency, we are evolving to be a transaction-enabled marketplace where consumers can shop, buy, seek financing, and sell their cars and dealers can source, market, and sell their vehicles. We believe this combination of differentiated offerings will transform the end-to-end car shopping journey for both consumers and dealers.

Consumers' CarGurus Journey

Shop: A car purchase is a milestone in a consumer’s life – whether it is the first set of keys or parting from a memory-filled vehicle. However, shopping for a car can be frustrating instead of empowering. Enter CarGurus, where we provide trust and transparency to the process for consumers. As the consumer moves to purchase a vehicle, we aggregate vehicle inventory from dealers and apply our proprietary analysis to generate a Deal Rating as one of: Great Deal, Good Deal, Fair Deal, High Priced, or Overpriced. Deal Rating illustrates how competitive a listing is compared to similar cars sold in the same region in recent history. We determine Deal Rating principally on the basis of both our proprietary Instant Market Value, or IMV, algorithm, which determines the market value of a used vehicle in a local market, and Dealer Rating, a measure of a dealer’s reputation as determined by reviews of that dealer from our user community. As the only major U.S. online automotive marketplace that defaults to sorting organic search results based on a used car’s Deal Rating, we enable consumers to find the most relevant car for their needs. For new cars, we help our users understand deal quality by providing price analysis and our Dealer Rating. We also provide our users information historically not widely available, such as Price History, Time on Site, and Vehicle History.

Buy/Finance: Once a consumer has found a listing they intend to pursue, we provide an omni-channel approach to the purchase of a vehicle partially or completely online. Our digital retail products such as Area Boost and Finance in Advance provide the consumer a self-selected car-buying journey to tailor their experience to their specific needs. We believe this approach throughout the end-to-end consumer experience brings greater trust, transparency, and efficiency to a consumer’s entire car shopping experience, leading to highly-engaged, more confident and satisfied shoppers.

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Sell: According to recent consumer research, almost 60% of car-buying shoppers will trade in or sell a vehicle during their car-shopping journey. Our acquisition of 51% interest in CarOffer, LLC, or CarOffer, in January 2021, with the ability to buy the remaining equity interest in the company over the next three years, enabled the launch of CarGurus Instant Max Cash Offer, or IMCO. IMCO provides the consumer with the ability to complete this part of the process entirely online through a trusted and transparent experience. Consumers who are trading-in or selling vehicles receive the most competitive offer sourced from in-network dealers. Consumers benefit from the volume of participating dealerships in the CarGurus/CarOffer network, as well as the CarOffer Buying Matrix’s 24-7 automated matching, which enables a hands-off approach to find the consumer the best deal at any time. Once the customer has accepted their offer, they can further customize their experience by arranging a location of their choice within participating states to have the vehicle picked-up and transported. With expansive dealer networks, consumers can have the confidence that they are truly finding the best deal for their vehicle instantly.

Dealers' CarGurus Journey

Source: As macroeconomic issues, including the global semiconductor chip shortage, impacted the automotive industry over the past year, obtaining vehicle inventory through in-person, time-consuming methods highlighted inefficiencies; as a result of which, inventory across dealer lots fell to historical lows during 2021. Made possible by the acquisition of CarOffer in 2021, we entered the digital wholesale space enabling dealers to acquire inventory in a convenient and efficient manner. CarOffer is an automated instant vehicle trade platform that is disrupting the traditional wholesale auction model with technology that enables dealers to bid, transact, inspect and transport vehicles seamlessly and efficiently. Any dealer, including those who are customers of the CarGurus site, can enroll on the CarOffer platform at no additional cost. CarOffer’s proprietary Buying Matrix technology allows dealers on the platform to buy and sell to other dealers using limit orders, saving dealers the time and expense of going to an auction to acquire vehicles via the traditional in-person physical auction model. Through inspections on every sale, dealers can be confident their purchase meets their expectations while they reap the benefits of focusing their resources and attention on other elements of their businesses. As CarOffer dealer enrollments continue to increase, we expect dealers will see a corresponding increase of inventory on the platform, further enabling liquidity, selection, and business efficiencies. Additionally, the CarOffer platform enabled us to launch IMCO across approximately 70% of the U.S., providing dealers access to a fresh source of trade-in inventory and ensuring liquidity amongst CarOffer’s platform. Similar to a dealer-to-dealer purchase, CarOffer handles inspections, transportation, titles, and payments in one bill of sale from the consumer. CarOffer’s platform provides a solution for a dealer looking to minimize reliance on in-person or online auctions to source their vehicle inventory while assuring they are paying a fair price, which has led to rapid growth and adoption within the dealer community.

Market: Dealers can list their inventory on CarGurus’ marketplace for free or with a subscription to one of our paid Listings packages. Non-paying dealers receive a limited number of anonymized email connections and access to a subset of tools on our Dealer Dashboard at no cost. A dealer with a paid subscription receives connections with consumers that are not anonymous and are made through a wider variety of methods, including phone calls, email, managed text and chat, links to the dealer’s website, and map directions to its dealerships. The primary objective of our traffic acquisition and site improvement efforts is to generate quality consumer leads to dealers. Leads are a subcategory of connections that we define as user inquiries via our marketplace to dealers by phone calls, email, or managed text and chat interactions. We define connections as interactions between consumers and dealers via our marketplace through phone calls, email, managed text and chat, and clicks to access the dealer’s website and map directions to the dealership. Dealers with our paid Listings packages are able to display their dealer name, address, and dealership information on their listings on our websites to gain brand recognition, which promotes walk-in traffic to the dealership. Paying dealers also have access to tools on the Dealer Dashboard as well as other product offerings such as Area Boost, which enables dealers to expand their geographic footprint to reach an increased consumer audience. Through our large ready-to-purchase consumer audience, our paying dealers ultimately have a consistent and compelling ROI through our variety of product offerings.

Sell: By presenting consumers with data such as our Deal Ratings, Price History, Time on Site, and Vehicle History, we believe our consumer audience is comprised of more informed, ready-to-purchase shoppers. By connecting dealers with such consumers, we believe we provide dealers with an efficient customer acquisition channel with the highest-intent shoppers providing the highest ROI. Further, as consumer needs evolve to customizing aspects of their vehicle purchase, we provide dealers, through a variety of digital offerings, the means to cater to consumers on a personalized level. Consumers can choose to complete their self-selected car-shopping journey with as little or as many of the digital offerings that we provide through our partnership with dealers, enabling a personalized experience that allows consumers to reach their personalized destination. We also provide paying dealers with full access to our Dealer Dashboard, including inventory pricing tools informed by real time market conditions, which helps them more effectively price, merchandise, and sell their cars. With the acquisition of CarOffer, we have also integrated insights regarding wholesale pricing among the dealer community. The ability to compare wholesale pricing with retail pricing ultimately allows dealers to price a car with more accuracy, winning loyal consumers with trust and transparency. These combined offerings allow dealers to efficiently drive their business to success from all aspects of sourcing and selling. Our success in our partnership with dealers is evidenced by the number of paying dealers – 23,860 paying dealers as of December 31, 2021 – in our U.S. marketplace.

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CarGurus Value Proposition

Our scaled online transaction-enabled marketplace model drives powerful network effects. The combination of digital retail, digital wholesale and listings creates powerful synergies for dealers. Dealers can acquire inventory through consumers and other dealers on both the CarOffer and CarGurus platforms. The industry-leading inventory selection offered on the CarGurus website from our U.S. dealers attracts a large and engaged consumer audience – 31.6 million average monthly U.S. unique users in 2021 – and connections – 60.0 million in the U.S. in 2021. The value of robust connections to this audience incentivizes dealers to purchase our paid Listings packages. Expanded vehicle listings from paying dealers and an increasing number of offers by dealers to purchase vehicles from consumers provides consumers with diverse dealer information and choice. Our industry-leading consumer audience drives value to consumers looking to trade-in or sell their vehicle as well as paying dealers on our platform looking to acquire and sell inventory. As we continue to innovate and progress our offerings to both consumers and dealers, we strive to uphold and improve the quality of the connections between consumers and dealers and become the marketplace for all steps of the vehicle acquisition and purchase process, ultimately giving dealers and consumers the power to reach their destination.

Consumers' Challenges

As consumers complete the end-to-end car shopping journey, the key questions they ask are:

Am I getting a fair price for my trade-in?
Should I purchase a vehicle with my trade-in?
What type of vehicle should I buy?
Where can I buy a car like this?
What is a fair price for this particular type of vehicle?
Have others had a good experience buying from this dealer?
How much of the purchase process can I transact online?
Can I obtain financing for this car, and at what cost?
What if this dealer is not local to my area?

In answering these questions, consumers historically had limited access to transparent information on specific vehicles, car pricing, and dealer reputation. Further, consumers who wanted to trade-in their vehicle or wanted to complete select elements of their car shopping journey online typically had very limited options. Every car-shopping journey is a unique experience, and so for consumers embarking on this journey, there is a difficulty in the absence of consistent information on pricing for both selling and purchasing vehicles. Selling a vehicle was time-consuming and exhausting for consumers as they travelled dealer to dealer to ensure they were receiving a fair and accurate price for their vehicle. Selecting the right dealer was also challenging for consumers as dealer reputations were historically based primarily on word-of-mouth. The lack of clear, transparent information made it difficult for consumers to effectively compare vehicles, find the vehicles that best suited their needs and transact with well-regarded dealers. In addition, especially as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are also increasingly interested in understanding which aspects of their buying journey they can complete online and are looking for ways to customize their journey to incorporate both online and in-person components.

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Dealers' Challenges

Dealers have had to face a new set of challenges in the past year as a result of the worldwide semiconductor chip shortage impacting auto manufacturers' production levels. The shortage of both used and new car inventory over the past year has caused dealers to invest in additional methods to fill their lots as many physical wholesale auctions were impacted by the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, dealers have needed to remain competitive in their offers for consumer trade-ins, as consumers have increasing means to source multiple offers in this highly competitive market. The economics of dealerships depend largely on vehicle acquisition costs, sales volume, and customer acquisition efficiency. To achieve a high return on their marketing investments, dealers must find in-market consumers; yet because consumers may not frequently purchase a vehicle, only a small percentage of consumers are actively shopping for a car at any specific point in time. Dealers additionally need to be strategic about selling vehicles before they are “aged inventory.” Traditional marketing channels that dealers utilize, including television, radio, and newspaper, can effectively target locally but are inefficient in targeting the narrow percentage of consumers who are actively in the market to buy a car. In addition, used car pricing is fluid because it is based on rapidly shifting supply and demand dynamics. Dealers need to find ways to manage constantly changing inventory and adjust pricing and purchasing strategies to adapt to frequently changing market conditions as evidenced by the previous year.

Our Strengths

We believe that our competitive advantages are based on the following key strengths:

Trusted Marketplace for Consumers. We provide consumers with transparent information, intuitive search results, and other tools that aid them in their car-shopping journey. Furthermore, consumers can have confidence in the quality of the vehicles they search for in our marketplaces since less than one-third of eligible vehicle listings on CarGurus.com earn a Great Deal or Good Deal rating. We also enable bids on vehicle trade-ins and sales from the thousands of dealers in the CarGurus/CarOffer network, assuring consumers that they are receiving the best offer on their vehicle. We offer the largest online selection of new and used car listings of any major U.S. online automotive marketplace. We aggregate and analyze these listings using proprietary technology and data along with innovative data analytics to create a differentiated automotive search experience for consumers to bring them “Great Deals from Top-Rated Dealers.” In 2021, we experienced over 79.3 million average monthly sessions in the United States. We believe this user traffic, an indicator of consumer satisfaction and engagement, is critical to our marketplace success and will continue to strengthen our market position. We attract our audience from a diverse range of acquisition channels including, but not limited to, direct navigation, mobile applications, email, organic search, paid search advertising, social media advertising, on-site advertising, audience targeting, and brand advertising campaigns. In addition, we focus our efforts on attracting users that we believe are near a car purchasing decision, resulting in a higher quality audience to which our dealers can market.

Proprietary Search Algorithms and Data-Driven Approach. We have built an extensive repository of data on cars, prices, dealers, and the interactions between consumers and dealers that is the result of many years of data aggregation and regression modeling. The primary product of this analysis is our determination of a used car’s IMV, which, together with Dealer Rating, drives our Deal Rating. We calculate IMV by applying more than 20 ranking signals and more than 100 normalization rules to tens of millions of data points, including the make, model, trim, year, features, condition, history, geographic location, and mileage of the car. With our acquisition of CarOffer in 2021, we have extended our proprietary search algorithms and data analytics to CarOffer’s Buying Matrix providing unique insights to dealers regarding their purchases in the wholesale space as well as up-to-date pricing information for the consumers they are servicing. We apply the knowledge gained from analyzing the substantial volume of connections between consumers and dealers on our platform to build new features for our consumers, IMV technology features on the Dealer Dashboard and new products for our dealers. These enhancements enable more informed consumers and dealers from the start of their car journey to the end.

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Strong Value Proposition to Dealers. We believe that our marketplace offers an efficient customer acquisition channel for dealers, helping them achieve attractive returns on their marketing spend with us. With the acquisition of CarOffer, we have only increased efficiencies for dealers to source vehicles from both consumers and other dealers with the 24/7 online buy matrix. We provide our dealer base with connections to prospective car buyers; most of these connections have historically been for used cars, and to prospective car sellers. The primary objective of our traffic acquisition and site improvements is to generate greater volumes of consumer leads to our dealers. These leads include phone calls, email, and managed text and chat interactions for dealers, which we believe yield the highest value engagement for dealers. Dealers are able to leverage our large consumer audience, our digital retail offerings and consumer trade-in service to provide more quality leads to their dealership, providing the highest return on their investment. We provide all dealers with tools that are informed by real-time market conditions that help them acquire inventory, merchandise and sell their cars, and our paying dealers get access to additional valuable information from our Pricing Tool and Market Analysis tool. Additionally, with digital retail offerings we help level the online offering playing field for our dealer partners who are unable to provide these solutions to consumers on their own and/or wish to utilize our largest consumer audience to sell additional inventory with CarGurus' digital retail offerings. Our strong value proposition to the dealer community is evidenced by our 6% growth in quarterly average revenue per subscribing dealer, or QARSD, in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Network Effects Driven by Scale. With the majority of dealers in the United States listing inventory on our platform and having built the most visited online automotive marketplace in the United States, we believe that our scale creates powerful network effects that reinforce the competitive strength of our business model. This powerful network has only strengthened with our acquisition of CarOffer, as we are now able to provide dealers with opportunities to sell their inventory to other dealers. The launch of new digital offerings and IMCO has only increased our network as more consumers are attracted to our site to trade-in their vehicle or complete a portion of their car-shopping journey online, perpetuating even more leads to dealers increasing our appeal and incentivizing more dealers to subscribe to our paid Listings packages to access the numerous benefits unavailable to nonpaying dealers. Displaying listings from more paying dealers on our websites provides consumers with more dealer information and methods to contact those dealers. More consumers and connections drive greater value and a higher return to paying dealers’ marketing spend on our platform. Driven by these network effects, we continue to amass data points, which we use to further strengthen our traffic acquisition efforts and marketplace search algorithms, the utility of analysis complementing each listing, the quality of our user experience, the quality of our partnership with dealers to provide digital offerings, the value of connections between consumers and dealers as well as between dealers themselves, and the efficacy of our dealer digital marketing products.

Attractive Financial Model. We have a strong track record of revenue growth, profitability, and capital efficiency. We generated revenue of $951.4 million in 2021 compared to $551.5 million in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 73%. A significant portion of our revenue is recurring due to the subscription nature of our products, including from our Listings packages, our Real-time Performance Marketing, or RPM, digital advertising suite, and our CarOffer online wholesale platform. Furthermore, our revenue base is highly diversified due to the fragmented nature of the automotive dealer industry. We also have been able to grow and invest in our future growth while improving profitability due to the operating leverage in our business model. Our consolidated net income grew 42% in 2021 and 84% in 2020. As a percentage of revenue, our consolidated net income margin was 12% in 2021, compared with 14% in 2020. On a consolidated basis, our Adjusted EBITDA grew 55% in 2021 and 109% in 2020. As a percentage of revenue, our Adjusted EBITDA margin was 26% in 2021, compared with 29% in 2020. In the United States, which is our most developed market, we increased our income from operations to $158.5 million in 2021 from $120.8 million in 2020. See the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations–Key Business Metrics–Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information about Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin.

Experienced Management Team with Culture of Innovation. Our founder, Executive Chairman and Chairman of our Board of Directors, Langley Steinert, co‑founded and was previously chairman of TripAdvisor, an online marketplace for travel‑related content based on the mission of using technology and a data‑driven approach to provide transparency for consumers’ travel planning. Led by Mr. Steinert and a management team with extensive experience guiding technology companies in evolving industries – including Jason Trevisan, our Chief Executive Officer and Sam Zales, our President and Chief Operating Officer – we bring the same commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and delivering data-driven transparency to the automotive market.

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Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our Business

The outbreak in 2020 of the novel strain of coronavirus that surfaced in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and was subsequently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, or COVID-19, resulted in a global slowdown of economic activity including worldwide travel restrictions, prohibitions of non-essential work activities, disruption and shutdown of businesses and uncertainty in global financial markets. Recently identified variants of COVID-19, Delta and Omicron, which appear to be more transmissible and contagious than previous COVID-19 variants, have caused an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on global economic activity, the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely impact our future business operations, financial performance and results of operations is uncertain and will depend on many factors outside of our control. For a further discussion of the risks, uncertainties and actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, refer to Item 1A “Risk Factors”.

Our Products

Transaction-Enabled Marketplace

Consumer Experience

We provide consumers an online automotive marketplace where they can search for new and used car listings from our dealers and sell their cars to dealers and other consumers. A user accesses our marketplace through our websites or by using our mobile applications. Most users specify whether they are searching for used, certified pre‑owned, or new cars and then provide their desired vehicle make and model and their postal code. Our product offerings described below are available for the U.S. CarGurus marketplace; their availability on our other marketplaces varies. We also offer paid listings subscriptions for dealers and dealer advertising products for the PistonHeads website, as well as paid listings subscriptions for dealers for the Autolist website.

Used and Certified Pre‑Owned Cars

Using our proprietary search algorithms, we immediately display the results of the consumer’s search, ranked by Deal Rating, on a search results page, or SRP. Eligible used car listings in our marketplace are assigned one of five Deal Ratings: Great Deal, Good Deal, Fair Deal, High Priced, or Overpriced. A Deal Rating illustrates how competitive a listing is compared to similar cars sold in the same region in recent history. A listing’s Deal Rating is based primarily upon the IMV of the vehicle and the Dealer Rating of the dealer.

Instant Market Value. IMV is a proprietary algorithm that assesses the market value of a used vehicle in a local market and is a key input for determining a vehicle’s Deal Rating. The IMV algorithm is the product of many years of regression modeling utilizing tens of millions of used car data points. IMV takes into account a number of factors, including comparable currently listed and previously sold used cars in the local market and vehicle details including make, model, trim, year, features, condition, history, and mileage. The IMV algorithm uses more than 20 ranking signals and more than 100 normalization rules that distill unstructured data from hundreds of sources across thousands of dealers.

Dealer Ratings. Dealer Ratings are derived from user‑generated content from our users’ experiences with dealers with which they have connected. To promote high‑quality reviews, we require that a user have interacted with the dealer via our marketplace to submit a review. We believe this requirement, together with additional qualification standards, results in a more valuable Dealer Rating. Dealer Rating is an important component of a listing’s Deal Rating and, as a result, can impact the organic search position of a listing.

Search Results Page. In addition to each car’s Deal Rating, our SRP provides users with other useful information, including the difference between the listing price and the IMV that we have determined for the car, mileage, Dealer Rating, and dealer location for paying dealers. We provide in‑depth search filters, including price, year, mileage, trim, color, options, condition, body style, miles per gallon, seating capacity, vehicle ownership history, usage history, seller type, and days on market, among others, which we believe deliver the most comprehensive search capability among major U.S. online automotive marketplaces. We also provide our users with additional features to aid their search, including similar vehicle recommendations, side‑by‑side vehicle comparisons, expert reviews, and user rankings. Our platform also gives users the ability to save searches and receive alerts that keep them informed of relevant developments in the market, including newly available inventory and price changes to cars they are monitoring.

Vehicle Detail Page. If a user clicks on one of the listings on the SRP, the user is taken to that listing’s vehicle detail page, or VDP. VDPs are designed to provide numerous photos and a comprehensive description of the vehicle, dealer name, address, and dealership information for paying dealers, detailed dealer reviews, methods to contact the dealer, payment calculators, and helpful information about the vehicle, including:

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Price History. Changes to a vehicle’s price on our platform. We also offer price change alerts to consumers on searches they have saved, which allow them to respond quickly to changes in the market.
Time on Site. Length of time a vehicle has been on our platform and how many users have saved the vehicle to their list of favorite listings, indicators of the likely demand for the vehicle.
Vehicle History. Title check, accident check, number of owners, and fleet status of the vehicle, giving consumers data that helps them better understand the vehicle’s condition.

New Cars

Search results for new car listings are sorted by price of inventory matching the user’s search, with the lowest priced listings sorted first. Our new car VDPs include our Dealer Rating and many of the other features of our used car listings, such as Price History and Time on Site. Deal Rating is not applicable to new car listings because it utilizes data not relevant to new cars. Instead, we analyze data on manufacturers’ suggested retail prices, or MSRPs, and recent sales of similar new vehicles, accounting for trade-ins, incentives, and other factors that can affect the price of a new car, to provide users with comparative price information.

Sell My Car

We also allow our consumers to list their cars in both our peer-to-peer and consumer-to-dealer marketplaces in the United States. Our peer-to-peer offering, Sell My Car, enables individual car owners to easily merchandise their vehicles, determine an appropriate selling price with our proprietary price guidance, and manage their listings and communications with prospective buyers from our audience. We collect a fee when a consumer lists a vehicle on the peer-to-peer marketplace. See “— Wholesale and Consumer-to-Dealer” below for a description of our consumer-to-dealer offering, IMCO.

Autolist

Autolist provides consumers an online automotive marketplace through mobile applications on iOS and Android phones, as well as a website. The platform includes inventory from top automotive dealers across the U.S. and gives consumers quick access to manage their search on the go with real-time alerts of newly available inventory and changes that occur on cars and saved searches they have configured. An independent editorial staff produces content to keep consumers informed on the latest vehicles and trends in the automotive market.

PistonHeads

PistonHeads is a U.K. automotive marketplace, forum, and editorial site geared towards automotive enthusiasts. The platform allows consumers to search across a broad range of dealer and private seller listings, engage with other automotive enthusiasts through forums, and stay informed about automotive news through editorial articles and expert reviews. Paying U.K. dealers who list on the CarGurus platform automatically have their inventory added to the PistonHeads site for greater consumer reach.

Dealer Offerings

Listings

Our marketplace connects dealers to a large audience of informed and engaged consumers. We offer multiple types of marketplace Listings subscriptions to dealers for the CarGurus U.S. platform (availability varies on our other marketplaces): Restricted Listings, which is free, and various levels of Listings packages, each of which requires a paid subscription. We price our paid Listings packages as a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual subscription based on the dealer’s inventory size, region, and our assessment of the ROI our solution will provide them.

Restricted Listings. We allow non‑paying dealers to list their inventory in our marketplace as Restricted Listings. Restricted Listings do not display the name, address, website URL, or phone number of the relevant dealer and are subject to other limitations. Consumers can contact these dealers only through an anonymous, CarGurus‑branded email address so the dealer does not receive any of the consumer’s personal contact information from our platform. Dealers in our Restricted Listings tier are limited in the number of consumer connections they can receive in a month, with caps on lead volume based on the dealers’ inventory size.

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Paid Listings Subscriptions. Paying dealers are able to subscribe to one of four Listings package levels: Standard, Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority. These paid Listings packages are designed to provide dealers with a higher volume and quality of connections and leads from consumers than our Restricted Listings option. Dealers that subscribe to a paid Listings package gain the opportunity to connect with consumers directly through email, phone, and – excluding Standard Listings subscriptions – managed text and chat, an offering by which consumers communicate via real-time chat or text message with our agents who act on behalf of dealers. Listings for all paying dealers on our websites include a link to their website, dealership branding and information such as name, address, and hours of operation, and map directions to their dealership, helping consumers easily contact or visit the dealer, which we believe results in increased local brand awareness and walk‑in traffic. A dealer that subscribes to our Featured or Featured Priority Listings package receives the same benefits of the Standard and Enhanced Listings packages, as well as opportunities for promotion of their Great Deal, Good Deal, and Fair Deal used inventory as well as their new inventory in a clearly labeled section at the top of the SRP as well as on the VDP of dealers in the Restricted Listings package. Featured Priority listings are specifically promoted in the first position of the SRP. This premium placement for Featured and Featured Priority listings generates increased connection volume relative to Standard or Enhanced Listings packages. In addition, a dealer that pays for our Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority Listings package may subscribe to our Area Boost offering, which expands the visibility of a dealer’s inventory in the search results beyond its local market.

Dealer Dashboard and Merchandising Tools

All dealers with inventory on CarGurus may access the following Dealer Dashboard features and merchandising tools:

Performance Summary. Provides dealers with real‑time and historical data concerning the connections and consumer exposure they have received in our marketplace and through our digital marketing products. This enables dealers to analyze connections and SRP and VDP views at a granular level to inform the dealer’s sales and merchandising efforts.
Dealer Insights. Provides pricing analysis of the dealer’s inventory, as well as a summary of a vehicle’s missing information such as price, photos, or trim. This information helps dealers better merchandise their vehicles.
User Review Management. Allows dealers to track and manage – but not edit or manipulate – their dealer reviews from our users. Dealers can respond to users, report potentially fraudulent reviews, and publish positive reviews to social media platforms for broader exposure.

Dealers subscribing to a paid Listings package also have access to the following additional features and tools:

Pricing Tool. Helps dealers evaluate the impact of pricing changes for each used vehicle in their inventory and the resulting impact on the car’s Deal Rating, empowering dealers to make informed pricing decisions based on market data in their local area.
Market Analysis. Informs dealers of local market trends in used cars, such as the most searched makes and models in their local market. This information helps dealers align with local consumer preferences and inform strategies for increasing inventory turnover and efficient vehicle acquisition.
IMV Scan. Allows dealers to scan a vehicle identification number, or VIN, using their smartphone, and receive information on the IMV of the vehicle in order to support dealers in deciding what to pay for a vehicle at a wholesale auto auction. IMV Scan is built into the CarGurus mobile app and is currently available to U.S. dealers that pay for our Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority Listings packages.

Digital Marketing Products

We offer dealers subscribing to one of our Enhanced, Featured or Featured Priority Listings packages access to additional advertising products marketed primarily under our RPM digital advertising suite. With RPM, dealers can reach our large and engaged automotive shopping audience through on-site advertising that appears in our CarGurus marketplace, on other sites on the internet and/or on high-converting social media platforms. RPM helps dealers build brand awareness and acquire customers to their website and dealership. Advertisements can be targeted by the user’s geography, search history, CarGurus website activity and a number of other targeting factors. This product suite allows dealers to increase their visibility with in-market consumers and drive qualified traffic to their websites.

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Pricing and Packaging

We offer our Listings product suite through a tiered set of packages. Listings are priced on a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual subscription basis based on the dealer’s inventory size, region, and our assessment of the ROI we expect to deliver. For improved performance, dealers can purchase higher Listings suite levels and add-ons available at an existing Listings suite level. Dealers may be renewed at higher rates commensurate with growth and updated performance expectations. RPM is also packaged in a tiered solution, and priced as a percentage of Listings while accounting for factors such as dealership characteristics and performance expectations.

Wholesale and Consumer-to-Dealer

Digital Wholesale

As the automotive industry continues to move further online, it has become even more important for dealers not only to sell their vehicles effectively at retail, but also to acquire the right inventory in the first place via wholesale transactions. In recent years, wholesale vehicle sales have begun shifting online and those trends have accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is moving away from traditional in-person physical auction models and towards online transactions that are easier, faster, and reduce the effect of geographic constraints.

In January 2021, we completed our acquisition of a 51% ownership interest in CarOffer, a modern-day automotive inventory transaction platform that allows dealers and dealer groups to buy, sell, and trade online with automation and ease. The acquisition added wholesale vehicle acquisition and selling capabilities to our portfolio of dealer offerings, creating a powerful new digital solution for dealers to sell and acquire vehicles at both retail and wholesale. Unlike traditional vehicle auctions which require manual bidding and vehicle evaluation, CarOffer’s proprietary Buying Matrix technology enables buying dealers to create standing buy orders and provides instant offers to selling dealers.

Consumer-to-Dealer Offering

During 2020, we conducted a pilot that enabled dealers to purchase inventory directly from consumers who visited our site. The consumer entered their vehicle information on the Sell My Car page, and we helped facilitate the transaction with the buying dealer. We collected a transaction fee from the dealer for this service.

In 2021, our CarOffer acquisition also helped facilitate our launch of an updated consumer offering, IMCO, which allows consumers in certain states to sell their vehicles to dealers entirely online. This offering provides dealers access to a fresh source of trade-in inventory and helps ensure liquidity amongst CarOffer’s platform. Through IMCO, consumers who are trading-in or selling vehicles enter easy-to-answer questions regarding their vehicle and are instantly presented with the most competitive offer sourced from in-network dealers. Once the customer has saved their offer, they can further customize their experience by arranging a location of their choice to have the vehicle picked-up and transported. In this model, CarOffer processes the transaction directly and collects transaction and other fees from the dealer.

Digital Retail

In recent years, both consumer demand and dealer receptiveness to digital retail has increased, as consumers have become more comfortable transacting some or all of their car buying processes online. We are focused on addressing the needs of both consumers and dealers in this growing segment of automotive digital retail.

Consumer Finance

Through our partnerships with automotive lending companies, we allow eligible consumers on our U.S. marketplace to pre-qualify for financing on cars from dealerships that offer financing from these partners. We primarily generate revenue from these partnerships based on the number of funded loans from consumers who pre-qualify with our lending partners through our site. We believe this program both provides more transparency to car shoppers about actual payments to be offered at the dealership specific to participating lenders, as well as delivers highly qualified car shopper leads to participating dealers.

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Area Boost

We offer the ability for dealerships to expand their VDP geographic footprint to non-local customers via dealer home delivery services. Revenue is generated through fees charged to the dealership to enable listings beyond the default geographical radius. We believe this program provides additional vehicle options to car shoppers open to home delivery services while promoting participating dealers’ delivery capabilities and increasing non-local VDP views.

Buy Online

We continue to offer consumers the ability to transact additional elements of their car buying experience through our websites as they seek to complete more of this process online. For example, our shoppers can ‘start purchase’ or ‘buy now’ from a VDP on eligible listings and utilize purchase options, including but not limited to estimating a car’s trade-in value, deciding payment options, selecting finance and insurance products, and placing a reservation deposit.

Auto Manufacturer and Other Advertiser Products

Our platform offers auto manufacturers and others the ability to purchase advertising on both our sites and third‑party websites, including social media platforms, to execute targeted marketing strategies:

Brand Reinforcement. We allow auto manufacturers to buy advertising on both our sites and third‑party websites, including social media platforms, to target consumers based on the make, model, and postal code of the cars that a specific consumer is searching for, in order to increase exposure to interested consumers.
Category Sponsorship. To address evolving priorities influenced by industry dynamics, seasonality, and other factors, we offer the ability to sponsor exclusively prominent high traffic pages on our sites, such as the New Car front page, Used Car front page, and Research Center.
Automobile Segment Exclusivity. To support the introduction of new models or the success of existing models, we allow manufacturers to target specific automobile segments, such as SUV, sedan, hybrid, luxury, truck, and minivan.
Consumer Segment Exposure. Auto manufacturers can target consumers both on CarGurus and third‑party websites, including social media platforms, based on various parameters, including estimated household income and vehicle specifications, such as make or model, and postal codes.

International

We also facilitate high-intent consumers to engage with automotive dealers in both Canada and the U.K. Like our U.S. offerings, CarGurus provides consumers in Canada and the U.K. with a transparent shopping experience, using our proprietary algorithms to determine market specific valuations for vehicles, and ordinating our organic search results based on Deal Ratings.

In Canada, CarGurus is a leading automotive marketplace that provides consumers a transparent shopping experience whether they are looking for a new or used car. In the U.K., CarGurus is a leading marketplace for dealers’ listings of used vehicles, providing consumers with one of the broadest selections of inventory in the U.K. We also provide automotive shoppers rich expert review content, an active forum for automotive discussion, and offer privately owned inventory through the PistonHeads website.

Marketing and Brand

Consumer Marketing

CarGurus is the most visited online automotive marketplace in the United States, with more than 79.3 million and 31.6 million average monthly sessions and unique users, respectively in 2021. We have built our audience on the strength of our user experience, and remain focused on delivering an industry-leading consumer marketplace. Our intuitive search experience, combined with the largest inventory of any major U.S. online automotive marketplace and relevant content, updates, and tools provide unparalleled transparency and decision-support to consumers during their car search to help them buy with confidence. The strength of our consumer experience is one of our most powerful marketing tools, with “word of mouth” representing the second-most cited influence on consumers decision to visit CarGurus despite our substantial investments in paid marketing. This leading consumer experience also enables CarGurus to perform very well with search engines, generating a significant volume of free traffic from high-intent car shoppers.

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A key pillar of our consumer marketing efforts is what we call algorithmic traffic acquisition. We employ a team of strategists, engineers and data scientists that optimizes our user acquisition through search engines, social media, and other digital marketing channels and has tested over one billion keywords on various search engines as well as sophisticated, personalized re-marketing, to nurture consumers toward finding their right car. The sophistication of our data-driven algorithmic traffic acquisition continues to advance, with an ongoing focus on increasingly data-driven campaigns that drive high return on advertising spend. We believe our expertise in this area constitutes a competitive advantage over less sophisticated competitors and those who outsource these capabilities.

In parallel with our sophisticated paid and organic traffic acquisition efforts, we invest significant resources in optimizing our site experience and retention marketing efforts, including through email and app notifications, to help consumers find the right car for them and connect with a dealer to make a purchase. Rigorous conversion rate optimization efforts help increase the ROI on our advertising spend. Our increasing focus on merchandising that drives more shoppers to connect with dealers with high subscription expansion opportunity is intended to create a virtuous cycle of improved monetization that allows for reinvestment in further improvements to our consumer experience.

We augment our performance marketing, conversion rate optimization and retention marketing efforts with brand‑building efforts. Our brand marketing efforts are primarily comprised of (i) investments in media, including television and online video, (ii) expressing our unique brand value proposition throughout our core site experience and organic social channels, and (iii) an active public relations program that allows us to gain significant, high-credibility earned media coverage. Despite a shorter tenure and lower investment in brand marketing than our primary competitors, we have made significant progress toward closing our brand awareness gaps since launching brand marketing in 2017 and believe that we are well‑positioned to continue to strengthen our brand by continuing to invest in brand-building efforts and refining the articulation of our unique value proposition. As we close the awareness gap compared to our primary competitors, we see significant opportunity to shift our brand focus from reach to driving greater understanding of and preference for our brand, further accelerating the strong consumer engagement and word of mouth benefits we already enjoy.

Dealer Marketing

The primary goals of our dealer marketing initiatives are to acquire dealers not yet in our marketplace, convert non‑paying dealers into paying dealers, retain our existing paying dealers, and increase product adoption and usage from our paying dealers. Our dealer marketing efforts aim to:

Educate Dealers on the End-to-End Inventory Solutions We Offer, the Quality of Our Audience and Products, and Attractive ROI. We educate dealers on the increased breadth of solutions we offer, including wholesale buying and selling of inventory, marketing via our core Listings products and other tools, and our growing suite of retailing solutions. We promote the quality of our audience by touting our industry‑leading audience, our strong user engagement, and the large number of connections that we facilitate through our marketplace. We also highlight to dealers how unique features of our platform, such as our consumer financing features and proprietary IMV analytics, yield consumers that we believe are more informed and better prepared to purchase at the dealership, which can lead to a higher ROI for the dealers’ marketing spend.
Provide Thought Leadership that Educates Dealers on Industry Trends. We generate insightful content on market trends and best practices in digital advertising that are shared through webinars, dealer forums, dealer advisory councils, our websites, and our participation in industry conferences and events. From time to time, we also host thought leadership events in local markets and an automotive conference, Navigate, to continue to share our insights and help build our brand among dealerships. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted almost all of our in-person events, including Navigate, to fully virtual events to continue to provide thought leadership to dealers during these challenging times. In particular, we helped address their challenges by sharing the latest research and data-driven insights on how shopper behavior has evolved and continues to evolve during this global pandemic.
Provide Best Practices to Assist Dealers in Becoming More Successful. We provide ongoing communications through email, webinars, white papers, testimonials, and videos, which show dealers how to use our products to position their inventory for success on our platform and beyond , as well as broader guidance on marketing, sales, operations, and other aspects of running a more profitable dealership. We maintain consistent communication with dealers via email, events and our Dealer Dashboard to ensure awareness of account performance and recent product updates, and we empower our sales and account management teams with resources to directly provide education and assistance to our dealer partners.

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Drive Product Engagement. We use our email marketing capabilities and other marketing channels to drive dealer engagement with our products and platforms. This can include automated, personalized marketing about how dealers can improve vehicle pricing and merchandising by using the tools in our dashboard, performance insights around the leads and connections they are receiving, and prompts to respond to reviews and manage their reputation. We also monitor dealer feedback on our products through surveys and product engagement to assess areas for further development or dealer education.

Competition

We face competition to attract consumers and paying dealers to our marketplaces and services and to attract advertisers to purchase our advertising products and services. Our competitors offer various marketplaces, products, and services that compete with us. Some of these competitors include:

major U.S. online automotive marketplaces: AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, and TrueCar.com;
other U.S. automotive websites, such as Edmunds.com, KBB.com and Carfax.com;
online automotive marketplaces and websites in our international markets;
online dealerships, such as Carvana and Vroom;
sites operated by individual automobile dealers;
internet search engines;
social media marketplaces;
peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Craigslist; and
vehicle auction companies, including digital wholesale platforms.

Competition for Consumers and Dealers

We compete for consumer visits with other online automotive marketplaces, free listing services, general search engines, online dealerships and dealers’ websites. We compete for consumers primarily on the basis of the quality of the consumer experience and the breadth of offerings that we are able to provide. We believe we compete favorably on user experience due to the number of our vehicle listings, the transparency of the information we provide on cars, prices, and dealers, the intuitive nature of our user interface, and our mobile user experience, among other factors.

We compete for dealers’ marketing spend with offline customer acquisition channels, other online automotive marketplaces, dealers’ own customer acquisition efforts on search engines and social media marketplaces, and other internet sites, online dealerships and vehicle auction companies that attract consumers and dealers searching for vehicles, as applicable. We compete primarily on the basis of the ROI that our marketplace offers and the synergies provided by the combination of our foundational listings business with digital wholesale and digital retail offerings. We believe we compete favorably due to our large user audience, high user engagement, and the volume and quality of connections we provide to well-informed consumers, which results in an attractive ROI for dealers.

Competition for Advertisers

We compete for a share of advertisers’ total marketing budgets against media sites, websites dedicated to helping consumers shop for cars, major internet portals, search engines, and social media sites, among others. We also compete for a share of advertisers’ overall marketing budgets with traditional media, such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, automotive publications, billboards, and other offline advertising channels. We compete for advertising spend based on the marketing ROI that our marketplace provides. We believe we compete favorably due to our large user audience size, high user engagement, and the effectiveness and relevance of our advertising products.

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Seasonality

Across the retail automotive industry, consumer purchases are typically greatest in the first three quarters of each year, due in part to the introduction of new vehicle models from manufacturers and the seasonal nature of consumer spending. Additionally, the volume of wholesale vehicle sales can fluctuate from quarter to quarter caused by several factors, including the timing of used vehicles available for sale from selling customers, the seasonality of the retail market for used vehicles and/or inventory challenges in the automotive industry, which affect the demand side of the wholesale industry. Macroeconomic conditions, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage, can also effect the volume of wholesale vehicle sales. To date, our overall operating results have not reflected the general seasonality of the automotive industry or wholesale vehicle sales market, but this could possibly change once our business and markets mature.

Sales

Our sales team is responsible for bringing dealers onto our marketplace, converting non-paying dealers to paid subscriptions and increasing dealer participation in new products that CarGurus is bringing to market. We have built an efficient sales and service team of approximately 300 employees worldwide who sell our marketplace products to franchise and independent dealers. We have built a field sales team that works with strategic franchise and national dealership groups in large metropolitan areas in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. In addition, we have advertising sales employees based in the U.S. and Canada.

We have a comprehensive dealer account management process to assist dealers in becoming successful in our marketplace. We assign a Customer Success Associate to every new paying Listings dealer to assist with on-boarding and integration with any relevant software systems. The designated Customer Success Associate spends time educating dealers on a range of topics, including effectively using the Dealer Dashboard, tracking sales, and measuring ROI for their marketing spend. After the on-boarding period, a Dealer Relations Account Manager is designated to assist the dealer in utilizing our tools and maximizing ROI from our offerings, including effectively pricing vehicles, vehicle merchandising, and keeping inventory up to date with complete vehicle information. We believe our active communication with our dealers fosters customer satisfaction and increases customer retention.

People and Talent

Our investment in our greatest asset – our people – is integral to our core values, evidenced by our inclusion of employee engagement, retention targets and cultural efforts as components of our 2021 strategic and organizational initiatives. Our Board of Directors oversees our people and talent efforts and views building our culture – from employee development and retention to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives – as key to driving long-term value for our business and helping to mitigate risks.

As of December 31, 2021, we had 1,203 full-time employees, 75 of whom were based outside the United States and 288 of whom were employed through CarOffer. None of our employees is represented by a labor union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Culture, Values and Standards

Our company culture has developed out of our data-driven and innovative approach to the automotive market. We leverage data to drive innovation across all facets of our business and continuously optimize our products and processes to serve our consumers, dealers, advertisers, and partners. Our approach emphasizes original thought, impact, and collaboration across our organization, and we recognize and award employees who drive positive results across these constituencies. We invest in creating a work environment that facilitates partnership among our employees and promotes diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In that spirit, we have identified our core values as follows:

We are pioneering. From the beginning, we set out to radically change how people buy and sell cars. We tackle difficult problems head on. We are curious. We are risk takers. We embrace change even if it’s uncomfortable.
We are transparent. We believe transparency is the foundation of trust and enables better decision making. We communicate clearly and honestly. We deliver unbiased guidance. Our products, services and company culture are built on these principles.
We are data-driven. We rely on data, not hunches, to make decisions. We listen to our instincts but we validate through rapid testing, learning and optimizing. We translate complex data into actionable insights for our users, our customers and our people.

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We are collaborative. We celebrate our individual strengths and perspectives but know that our success requires teamwork. We partner, we listen and we leverage feedback from each other, our users and our customers.
We move quickly. We believe there’s power in speed. We iterate quickly and often, continuously improving as we go. We are not afraid to break things. If we fail, we do it fast, learn from it and move on.
We have integrity. We act responsibly and consider the impact of our actions on each other, our partners and the world around us. We believe empathy, respect and fairness are essential. We set high ethical standards and expect principled leadership from our people.

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and Equal Employment Policy

We are an equal opportunity employer and strive to build and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative. With support from our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Advisory Team, we seek to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and to build a workplace where everyone can thrive. Our commitment to these efforts helps us attract and retain the best talent, enables employees to realize their full potential and drives high performance through innovation and collaboration. In 2021, based on data from employees who chose to self-identify, we increased representation among women and non-binary employees (32.8% to 35.1%) and underrepresented racial minorities (30.0% to 30.1%) within our U.S. workforce. We also saw year-over-year increases in the U.S. among women and non-binary employees in technical (23.3% to 25.9%) and management-level roles (34.2% to 38.6%), as well as among underrepresented racial minorities in technical roles (43.6% to 45.7%).

Compensation and Benefits

The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. Accordingly, we provide our eligible employees with competitive wages and access to flexible and convenient medical programs intended to meet their needs and the needs of their families. In addition to standard medical coverage, we offer the following benefits to our U.S. employees (availability internationally varies): dental and vision coverage, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, flexible work schedules on a case-by-case basis, employee assistance programs, short term and long term disability insurance and term life insurance, as well as paid access to certain wellness and family care resources. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented changes that we determined were in the best interest of our employees, as well as the communities in which we operate, and which comply with government regulations. These changes included requiring our employees to work from home.

Employee Engagement

Each year, we conduct an employee engagement survey to help our management team gain insight into and gauge employees’ feelings, attitudes, and behaviors around working at CarGurus. Our latest survey, completed in September 2021, had a participation rate of approximately 85% of our eligible employees worldwide. The survey results indicated that we excelled in areas including manager empathy, career development, belonging, as well as overall excitement about CarGurus’ future. Based on employee feedback, we also identified certain company-wide opportunity areas to improve engagement and drive long-term success. Our culture and commitment to building a workplace where we can all thrive has been recognized externally with the following awards: Built In Boston’s “Best Places to Work” in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022; the Mass TLC “Tech Top 50” Company Culture in 2020; Fortune’s “Best Places to Work” in 2019; Computerworld’s “Best Places to Work in IT” in 2019 and 2020; Boston Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021; Boston Globe’s “Top Place to Work” in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018; and Comparably’s 2021 “Best Perks & Benefits”, “Best Work-Life Balance”, and “Best CEO”.

Training and Development

Our people and talent strategy is essential for our ability to continue to develop and market innovative products and customer solutions. We continually invest in our employees’ career growth and provide employees with a wide range of development opportunities, including mandatory quarterly compliance training courses as well as one-on-one, virtual, social and self-directed learning, mentoring, coaching, and external development. In 2021, nearly 100% of our employees participated in learning and development activities worldwide.

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Technology and Product Development

We are a technology company focused on innovative, actionable data analysis. We design our mobile and web products to create a transparent experience for both consumers and dealers. We believe in rapid development, release frequent updates and have internal tools and automation that allow us to efficiently evolve our products. Our software is built using a combination of internally developed software, third-party software and services, and open source software.

Our Search Technology

Our search and ranking technology is served by a proprietary in‑memory search index solution that is scalable, fast, and extensible. We have highly flexible interfaces that allow dealers to automatically add their inventory to our index, enabling us to quickly integrate hundreds of inventory sources with minimal effort and easily support inventory growth.

Our Mobile Technology

We have designed our marketplace to appeal to mobile users by developing our products with a mobile‑first mindset. All of our search results pages use a single‑page application type approach to eliminate page reloads and improve responsiveness. We also use techniques to load content onto a user’s mobile device more efficiently.

Our Integrations

We make available several application program interfaces and web widgets that integrate with customer relationship management and inventory management solutions, among other platforms. These integrations allow dealers to incorporate designated data and tools into the fabric of their marketing and customer engagement strategies. For example, our Deal Rating Badges are used on dealer websites, which show our Deal Rating for cars that have been rated as a Great Deal, Good Deal, or Fair Deal. Our Deal Rating serves as trusted, third‑party validation on dealer websites.

Infrastructure

Our development servers and U.S. and Canadian websites are hosted at third-party data centers in the U.S. near each of Boston, Massachusetts and Dallas, Texas, as well as through third-party cloud services in the U.S. Our European websites are hosted on third-party cloud computing services near each of London, England and Dublin, Ireland. We use third-party content distribution networks to cache and serve many portions of our sites at locations across the globe. We monitor and test at the application, host, network, and full site levels to maintain availability and promote performance. We use third-party cloud computing services for many data processing jobs and backup/recovery services.

Intellectual Property

We protect our intellectual property through a combination of patents, copyrights, trademarks, service marks, domain names, trade secret protections, confidentiality procedures, and contractual restrictions.

We have one issued U.S. patent with an expiration date of May 2034, two pending U.S. patent applications, and two pending international patent applications. These applications cover proprietary technology that relates to various functionalities on our platform, generally in connection with pricing, ranking and detecting fraud in online listings. We intend to pursue additional patent protection to the extent we believe it would be beneficial to our competitive position.

We have a number of registered and unregistered trademarks, including “CarGurus,” the CarGurus logo, the CG logo, and related marks, which we have registered as trademarks in the U.S. and certain other jurisdictions. We pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe doing so would be beneficial to our competitive position. Additionally, CarOffer has a number of registered and unregistered trademarks, including “CarOffer” and the CarOffer logo, and related marks, which CarOffer has registered as trademarks in the U.S. CarOffer pursues additional trademark registrations to the extent it believes doing so would be beneficial to its competitive position. Our and CarOffer’s registered trademarks remain enforceable in the countries in which they are registered for as long as we and CarOffer, as applicable, continue to use the marks, and pay the fees to maintain the registrations, in those countries.

We are the registered holder of several domestic and international domain names that include “CarGurus” and variations of our trade names.

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In addition to the protection provided by our intellectual property rights, we enter into confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements with our employees and relevant consultants, contractors, and business partners. We control the use of our proprietary technology and intellectual property through provisions in contracts with our customers and partners and our general and product-specific terms of use on our websites.

Regulatory

Various aspects of our business are, may become, or may be viewed by regulators from time to time as subject, directly or indirectly, to U.S. federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations. In particular, the advertising and sale of new or used motor vehicles is highly regulated by the states and jurisdictions in which we do business. Although we do not sell motor vehicles and we believe that vehicle listings on our sites are not themselves advertisements, regulatory authorities or third parties could take the position that some of the laws or regulations applicable to dealers or to the manner in which motor vehicles are advertised and sold generally are directly applicable to our business. These advertising laws and regulations, which often originated decades before the emergence of the internet, are frequently subject to multiple interpretations, are not uniform across jurisdictions, sometimes impose inconsistent requirements with respect to new or used motor vehicles, and the manner in which they should be applied to our business model is not always clear. Regulators or other third parties could take, and on some occasions have taken, the position that our marketplace or related products violate applicable brokering, birddog, consumer protection, or advertising laws or regulations.

Our wholesale operations through CarOffer are regulated by the states in which we operate and by the U.S. federal government. These activities may also be subject to state and local licensing requirements. Additionally, we may be subject to regulation by individual state dealer licensing authorities and state consumer protection agencies.

In order to operate in this regulated environment, we develop our products and services with a view toward appropriately managing the risk that our regulatory compliance, or the regulatory compliance of the dealers whose inventory is listed on our websites, could be challenged.

We consider applicable advertising and consumer protection laws and regulations in designing our products and services. With respect to paid advertising, other than Featured Listings, Featured Priority Listings and products marketed under our RPM digital advertising suite, we believe that most of the content displayed on the websites we operate does not constitute paid advertising for the sale of motor vehicles. Nevertheless, we endeavor to design our website content in a manner that would comply with relevant advertising regulations and consumer protection laws if, and to the extent that, the content is considered to be vehicle sales advertising.

Our websites and mobile applications enable us, dealers, and users to send and receive text messages and other mobile phone communications, which requires us to comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, in the U.S. The TCPA, as interpreted and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, and federal and state courts, imposes significant restrictions on utilization of telephone calls and text messages to residential and mobile telephone numbers as a means of communication, particularly when the prior express consent of the person being contacted has not been obtained.

In addition, we are subject to numerous federal, national, state, and local laws and regulations in the United States and around the world regarding privacy and the collection, processing, storage, sharing, disclosure, use, cross-border transfer, and protection of personal information and other data. While the scope of these laws and regulations is changing and remains subject to differing interpretations, we seek to comply with industry standards and all applicable laws, policies, legal obligations, and industry codes of conduct relating to privacy and data protection. We are also subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties.

Corporate Information

We were originally organized on November 10, 2005 as a Massachusetts limited liability company under the name “Nimalex LLC.” Effective July 15, 2006, we changed our name to “CarGurus LLC.” On June 26, 2015, we converted from a Delaware limited liability company into a Delaware corporation and changed our name to “CarGurus, Inc.”

Our principal executive offices are located at 2 Canal Park, 4th Floor, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02141, and our telephone number is (617) 354-0068. Our U.S. website is www.cargurus.com.

CarGurus, the CarGurus logo, and other trademarks or service marks of CarGurus appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of CarGurus, Inc. Trade names, trademarks, and service marks of other companies appearing in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective holders. We have omitted the ® and ™ designations, as applicable, for the trademarks used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Additional Information

The following filings are available on our investor relations website after we file them with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC: Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Proxy Statements for our annual meetings of stockholders. These filings are also available for download free of charge on our investor relations website. Our investor relations website is located at http://investors.cargurus.com.

We webcast our earnings calls and certain events that we participate in or host with members of the investment community on our investor relations website. Additionally, we provide news and announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events, press and earnings releases, on our investor relations website. Corporate governance information, including our policies concerning business conduct and ethics, is also available on our investor relations website under the heading “Governance.” No content from any of our websites is intended to be incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any reference to our websites is intended to be an inactive textual reference only.

 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes, before evaluating our business. Our business, financial condition, operating results, cash flow, and prospects could be materially and adversely affected by any of these risks or uncertainties. In that event, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline. See “Special Note Regarding Forward‑Looking Statements.”

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

Our business has been, and we expect it to continue to be, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an international health crisis and resulted, and may continue to result, in significant disruptions to the global economy as well as businesses and capital markets around the world. Recently identified variants of COVID-19, Delta and Omicron, which appear to be more transmissible and contagious than previous COVID-19 variants, have caused an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally. The impact of COVID-19 and, in particular, the Delta and Omicron variants or other variants that may emerge, cannot be predicted at this time, and could depend on a number of factors, including the availability of vaccines in different parts of the world, vaccination rates among the population, and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta and Omicron variants and any other variants that may emerge.

Our operations have been and may continue to be materially adversely affected by a range of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, we temporarily closed all of our offices and began requiring, subject to limited exceptions, all of our employees to work remotely until further notice, which has disrupted and may continue to disrupt how we operate our business. In addition, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as states and localities in the United States, implemented or mandated, and some continue to, or may in the future, implement or mandate, significant restrictions on travel and commerce, shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, and business closures, and these government responses may increase in light of the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases as a result of the Delta and Omicron variants. Fluctuation in infection rates in the regions in which we operate has resulted in periodic changes in restrictions that vary from region to region and may require rapid response to new or reinstated orders. Many of these orders resulted in, and may continue to result in, restrictions on the ability of consumers to buy and sell automobiles by restricting operations at dealerships and/or by closing or reducing the services provided by certain service providers upon which dealerships rely. In addition, these restrictions and continued concern about the spread of the disease have impacted car shopping by consumers and disrupted the operations of car dealerships, which has adversely affected and may continue to adversely affect the market for automobile purchases.

The automotive industry is also facing, and may continue to face, inventory supply problems, including for reasons attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic issues, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage. This decline in vehicle inventory has led to an increase in bids per vehicle at auction and corresponding increases to wholesale auction prices. As the price of replenishing inventory through wholesale auctions has increased, dealers have increased, and may continue to increase, the prices they charge consumers. A high volume of price increases on vehicle sales at a rapid rate could impact our proprietary IMV and distribution of Deal Ratings. In addition, if our paying dealers continue to operate at reduced inventory levels or with increased costs, they may reduce or be unwilling to increase their advertising spend with us and/or may terminate their subscriptions prior to the commencement of the applicable renewal term. Our ability to add new paying dealers or increase our fees with dealers may be impeded if dealers perceive they have less of a need for our products and services because of their limited inventory. Inventory challenges in the automotive industry have adversely impacted, and could continue to adversely impact, the amount of inventory on our websites and have contributed to higher prices and reduced lease options for new vehicles, which in turn has reduced, and may continue to reduce, consumer demand, which could contribute to a decline in the number of consumer visits to our websites and/or the number of connections between consumers and dealers through our marketplaces. These inventory-related issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic issues may materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As a result of the travel and commerce restrictions that have been implement or that may be implement as a result of the Delta and Omicron variants and any future variants that may emerge, and the corresponding impact on their businesses, a number of our dealer customers have, or are temporarily closed or are operating on a reduced capacity, and many dealerships are facing significant financial challenges. Such closures and circumstances led, and may in the future lead, some paying dealers to cancel their subscriptions and/or reduce their spending with us, which has had and may continue to have a material adverse effect on our revenues and on our business. Additionally, we reduced our spending on brand advertising and traffic acquisition at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to increasing cancelations and reduced consumer demand, which has contributed to a year-over-year decline in the number of consumers using our platform for each of the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, which in turn has, and may continue to, materially and adversely affect our business. While we have since restored a portion of that historical consumer spend, we may not in the future fully restore prior spending levels if we elect to redirect our investments elsewhere, including in favor of new product development. If such a strategy were not to result in the benefits that we expect, our business could be harmed. Our business relies on the ability of consumers to borrow funds to acquire automobiles and banks and other financing companies may limit or restrict lending

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to consumers as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may also materially and adversely affect our business.

Further, in the past, we have taken measures to help our paying dealers maintain their business health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by proactively reducing the subscription fees for paying dealers for certain service periods, and we may decide to re-institute further billing relief as we continue to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our paying dealers and business operations. Any further billing relief could result in a decline in our revenue and have a material adverse effect to our business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also experienced, and may continue to experience, increased account delinquencies from dealer customers challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic that failed to pay us on time or at all.

These effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on our revenue caused us to implement certain cost-savings measures across our business, which previously disrupted our business and operations and, if we implement future similar cost saving measures, may affect our future business and operations and may yield unintended consequences, such as loss of key employees, increased costs in hiring new employees, undesired attrition, and the risk that we may not achieve the anticipated cost savings at the levels we expect, any of which may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and/or financial condition.

We continue to monitor and assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the effects of the Delta variant, the Omicron variant, and other variants that may emerge, on our commercial operations, including the impact on our revenue. However, we cannot at this time accurately predict what effects these conditions will ultimately have on our operations due to uncertainties relating to the duration of the pandemic, the extent and effectiveness of governmental responses and other preventative, treatment and containment actions or developments, including the distribution and acceptance of vaccines, shifts in behavior going forward, and the length or severity of the travel and commerce restrictions that are currently in effect and may be imposed in the future by relevant governmental authorities. Nor can we predict the adverse impact on the global economies and financial markets in which we operate, which may have a significant negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business is substantially dependent on our relationships with dealers. If a significant number of dealers terminate their subscription agreements with us, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

Our primary source of revenue consists of subscription fees paid to us by dealers for access to enhanced features on our automotive marketplaces. Our subscription agreements with dealers generally may be terminated by us with 30 days’ notice and by dealers with 30 days’ notice prior to the commencement of the applicable renewal term. The majority of our contracts with dealers currently provide for one-month committed terms and do not contain contractual obligations requiring a dealer to maintain its relationship with us beyond the committed term. Accordingly, these dealers may cancel their subscriptions with us in accordance with the terms of their subscription agreements. A dealer’s decision to cancel its subscription with us may be influenced by several factors, including national and regional dealership associations, national and local regulators, automotive manufacturers, consumer groups, and consolidated dealer groups. If any of these influential groups indicate that dealers should not enter into or maintain subscription agreements with us, this belief could become shared by dealers and we may lose a number of our paying dealers. If a significant number of our paying dealers terminate their subscriptions with us, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to maintain or increase the number of dealers that pay subscription fees to us, or fail to maintain or increase the fees paid to us for subscriptions, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

As a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many paying dealers cancelled their subscriptions with us (including, in some cases, with our permission prior to the end of the applicable contract term and notice period), and it is possible that additional dealers will cancel their subscriptions in the future for a variety of reasons, including as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If paying dealers do not receive the volume of consumer connections that they expect during their subscription period, do not experience the level of car sales they expect from those connections, or fail to attribute consumer connections or sales to our platform, they may terminate their subscriptions prior to the commencement of the applicable renewal term. If we fail to maintain or expand our base of paying dealers or fail to maintain or increase the level of fees that we receive from them, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

We allow dealers to list their inventory in CarGurus marketplaces for free; however, we impose certain limitations on such free listings, such as capping the number of leads that non-paying dealers in the U.S. may receive, not displaying non-paying dealer identity and contact information, and prohibiting access to the paid features of our marketplaces. We continue to adapt our free listings product, Restricted Listings, in our CarGurus marketplaces and in the future, we may decide to impose additional restrictions on Restricted Listings or modify the services available to non-paying dealers. These changes to our Restricted Listings product may result in less inventory being displayed to consumers, which may impair our efforts to attract consumers, and cause paying and non-paying dealers to receive fewer leads and connections, which may make it more difficult for us to convert non-paying dealers to paying dealers or maintain or expand our base of paying dealers. If dealers do not subscribe to our paid offerings at the rates we expect, our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

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If we fail to continue to realize transaction synergies from our acquisition of a 51% interest in CarOffer, or if the CarOffer business fails to continue to grow at the rate we expect, our revenue and business would be harmed.

In January 2021 we completed our acquisition of a 51% interest in CarOffer, which added wholesale vehicle acquisition and selling capabilities to our portfolio of dealer offerings. A significant amount of our revenue for the year ended December 31, 2021 was derived from the wholesale sale of automobiles. Continued achievement of our transaction synergies and our ability to continue to grow the CarOffer business and the revenue associated with it depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, our ability to continue to: expand the number of dealers engaging on the CarOffer platform; retain existing customers and increase the share of wholesale transactions which they complete on the CarOffer platform; attract prospective customers who have historically purchased or sold vehicles through physical auctions and may choose not to transact online; and successfully compete with competitors, including other online vehicle auction companies and large, national offline vehicle auction companies that are expanding into the online channel and have launched online auctions in connection with their physical auctions. If our anticipated transaction synergies do not fully materialize and/or the CarOffer business fails to continue to grow at the rate we expect, our revenue and business would be harmed.

Industry conditions such as a significant change in vehicle retail prices or a decline in the used vehicle inventory supply coming to the wholesale market could also adversely impact CarOffer’s business and growth. For example, if retail prices for used vehicles rise relative to retail prices for new vehicles, it could make buying a new vehicle more attractive to consumers than buying a used vehicle, which could result in reduced used vehicle wholesale sales on the CarOffer platform. Used vehicle dealers may also decide to retail more of their vehicles on their own rather than selling them on the CarOffer platform, which could adversely impact the volume of vehicles offered for sale on the CarOffer platform and the demand for those used vehicles. Inventory challenges in the automotive industry, including for reasons attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, has contributed and could continue to contribute to a decrease in the supply of vehicles coming to the wholesale market and reduce the number of vehicles sold on the CarOffer platform. An inability by CarOffer to retain customers and/or increase or find alternative sources of vehicle supply would adversely impact our revenue and business.

If dealers or other advertisers reduce their advertising spending with us and we are unable to replace the reduced advertising spending, our advertising revenue and business would be harmed.

A portion of our revenue is derived from advertising revenues generated primarily through advertising sales, including on-site advertising and audience targeting services, to dealers, auto manufacturers, and other auto-related brand advertisers. We compete for this advertising revenue with other online automotive marketplaces and with television, print media, and other traditional advertising channels. Our ability to attract and retain advertisers and to generate advertising revenue depends on a number of factors, including our ability to: increase the number of consumers using our marketplaces; compete effectively for advertising spending with other online automotive marketplaces; continue to develop our advertising products; keep pace with changes in technology and the practices and offerings of our competitors; and offer an attractive ROI to our advertisers for their advertising spend with us.

Our agreements with dealers for advertising generally include terms ranging from one month to one year and may be terminated by us with 30 days’ notice and by dealers with 30 days’ notice prior to the commencement of the applicable renewal term. The contracts do not contain contractual obligations requiring an advertiser to maintain its relationship with us beyond the committed term. Certain of our other advertising contracts, including those with auto manufacturers, typically do not have ongoing commitments to advertise in our marketplaces beyond a committed term. As a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some advertisers cancelled or reduced their advertising with us and it is possible that advertising customers will cancel or reduce their advertising with us in the future for a variety of reasons, including as a result of the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the year-over-year decline in the number of consumer visits to our sites as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the delivery of fewer impressions for our advertising customers than anticipated year-over-year for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, which has caused, and may continue to cause, an adverse impact on our advertising revenues. We may not succeed in capturing a greater share of our advertisers’ spending if we are unable to convince advertisers of the effectiveness or superiority of our advertising offerings as compared to alternative channels. If current advertisers reduce their advertising spending with us and we are unable to replace such reduced advertising spending, our advertising revenue and business and financial results would be harmed.

If we are unable to provide a compelling vehicle search experience to consumers through our platform, the number of connections between consumers and dealers using our marketplaces may decline and our business and financial results would be materially and adversely affected.

If we fail to continue to provide a compelling vehicle search experience to consumers, the number of connections between consumers and dealers through our marketplaces could decline, which in turn could lead dealers to suspend listing their inventory in our marketplaces, cancel their subscriptions, or reduce their spending with us. If dealers pause or cancel listing their inventory in our marketplaces, we may not be able to attract a large consumer audience, which may cause other dealers to pause or cancel their use of our marketplaces. This reduction in the number of dealers using our marketplaces would likely materially and adversely affect our marketplaces and our business and financial results. As consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to access the internet and our marketplaces, our success depends, in part, on our ability to provide consumers with a robust and user-friendly experience through their mobile devices. We believe that our ability to provide a compelling vehicle search experience, both on desktop computers and through

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mobile devices, is subject to a number of factors, including our ability to: maintain attractive marketplaces for consumers and dealers; continue to innovate and introduce products for our marketplaces; launch new products that are effective and have a high degree of consumer engagement; display a wide variety of automobile inventory to attract more consumers to our websites; provide mobile applications that engage consumers; maintain the compatibility of our mobile applications with operating systems, such as iOS and Android, and with popular mobile devices running such operating systems; and access and analyze a sufficient amount of data to enable us to provide relevant information to consumers, including pricing information and accurate vehicle details.

Any inability by us to develop new products, or achieve widespread consumer and dealer adoption of those products, could negatively impact our business and financial results.

Our success depends on our continued innovation to provide products that make our marketplaces, websites, and mobile applications useful for consumers and dealers or that otherwise provide value to consumers and dealers. For example, as we transition to a more digitally-initiated environment, during 2021 we launched IMCO, a newer offering that allows consumers in certain states to sell their vehicles to dealers entirely online. We also continue to develop digital retail offerings, including those that expand a dealer’s geographic footprint and others that bring additional elements of the car buying experience online through our websites. A failure by us to capture the benefits that we expect from our rollout of IMCO and these digital retail investments could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

In addition to introducing new offerings within our existing products, we anticipate that over time we may reach a point when investments in our current products are less productive and the growth of our revenue will require more focus on developing new products for consumers and dealers. These new products, in the aggregate, must be widely adopted by consumers and dealers in order for us to continue to attract consumers to our marketplaces and dealers to our products and services. Accordingly, we must continually invest resources in product, technology, and development in order to improve the attractiveness and comprehensiveness of our marketplaces and their related products and effectively incorporate new internet and mobile technologies into them. Our ability to engage in these activities may decline as a result of the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and any cost-savings initiatives on our business. These product, technology, and development expenses may include costs of hiring additional personnel, engaging third-party service providers and conducting other research and development activities. There can be no assurance that innovations to our products like IMCO, or the development of future products, will increase consumer or dealer engagement, achieve market acceptance, create additional revenue or become profitable. In addition, revenue relating to new products is typically unpredictable and our new products may have lower gross margins, lower retention rates, and higher marketing and sales costs than our existing products. We are likely to continue to modify our pricing models for both existing and new products so that our prices for our offerings reflect the value those offerings are providing to consumers and dealers. Our pricing models may not effectively reflect the value of products to dealers, and, if we are unable to provide marketplaces and products that consumers and dealers want to use, they may reduce or cease the use of our marketplaces and products. Without innovative marketplaces and related products, we may be unable to attract additional, unique consumers or retain current consumers, which could affect the number of dealers that become paying dealers and the number of advertisers that want to advertise in our marketplaces, as well as the amounts that they are willing to pay for our products, which could, in turn, negatively impact our business and financial results.

We rely on internet search engines to drive traffic to our websites, and if we fail to appear prominently in the search results, our traffic would decline and our business would be adversely affected.

We rely, in part, on internet search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to drive traffic to our websites. The number of consumers we attract to our marketplaces from search engines is due in part to how and where our websites rank in unpaid search results. These rankings can be affected by a number of factors, many of which are not under our direct control and may change frequently. For example, when a consumer searches for a vehicle in an internet search engine, we rely on a high organic search ranking of our webpages to refer the consumer to our websites. Our competitors’ internet search engine optimization efforts may result in their websites receiving higher search result rankings than ours, or internet search engines could change their methodologies in a way that would adversely affect our search result rankings. If internet search engines modify their methodologies in ways that are detrimental to us, if our efforts to improve our search engine optimization are unsuccessful or less successful than our competitors’ internet search engine optimization efforts, our ability to attract a large consumer audience could diminish and traffic to our marketplaces could decline. In addition, internet search engine providers could provide dealer and pricing information directly in search results, align with our competitors, or choose to develop competing products. Reductions in our own search advertising spend or more aggressive spending by our competitors could also cause us to incur higher advertising costs and/or reduce our market visibility to prospective users. Our websites have experienced fluctuations in organic and paid search result rankings in the past, and we anticipate fluctuations in the future. Any reduction in the number of consumers directed to our websites through internet search engines could harm our business and operating results.

We may be unable to maintain or grow relationships with data providers, or may experience interruptions in the data they provide, which may create a less valuable or transparent shopping experience and negatively affect our business and operating results.

We obtain data from many third-party data providers, including inventory management systems, automotive website providers, customer relationship management systems, dealer management systems, governmental entities, and third-party data licensors. Our business relies on our ability to obtain data for the benefit of consumers and dealers using our marketplaces. For example, our success

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in each market is dependent in part upon our ability to obtain and maintain inventory data and other vehicle information for those markets. The large amount of inventory and vehicle information available in our marketplaces is critical to the value we provide for consumers. The loss or interruption of such inventory data or other vehicle information could decrease the number of consumers using our marketplaces. We could experience interruptions in our data access for a number of reasons, including difficulties in renewing our agreements with data providers, changes to the software used by data providers, efforts by industry participants to restrict access to data, increased fees we may be charged by data providers and the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our marketplaces could be negatively affected if any current provider terminates its relationship with us or our service from any provider is interrupted. If there is a material disruption in the data provided to us, the information that we provide to consumers and dealers using our marketplaces may be limited. In addition, the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of this information may suffer, which may lead to a less valuable and less transparent shopping experience for consumers using our marketplaces and could negatively affect our business and operating results.

The failure to build, maintain and protect our brands would harm our ability to attract a large consumer audience and to expand the use of our marketplaces by consumers and dealers.

While we are focused on building our brand recognition, maintaining and enhancing our brands will depend largely on the success of our efforts to maintain the trust of consumers and dealers and to deliver value to each consumer and dealer using our marketplaces. Our ability to protect our brands is also impacted by the success of our efforts to optimize our significant brand spend and overcome the intense competition in brand marketing across our industry, including competitors that may imitate our messaging. In addition, we have reduced our brand spend in comparison to our pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, and it is possible that we may in the future decide to further suppress such spend depending on the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or other macro-economic effects. If consumers believe that we are not focused on providing them with a better automobile shopping experience, or if we fail to overcome brand marketing competition and maintain a differentiated value proposition in consumers’ minds, our reputation and the strength of our brands may be adversely affected.

Complaints or negative publicity about our business practices and culture, our management team and employees, our marketing and advertising campaigns, our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, the integrity of the data that we provide to consumers, data privacy and security issues, and other aspects of our business, irrespective of their validity, could diminish consumers’ and dealers’ confidence and participation in our marketplaces and could adversely affect our brands. There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain or enhance our brands, and failure to do so would harm our business growth prospects and operating results.

Portions of our platform enable consumers and dealers using our marketplaces to communicate with one another and other persons seeking information or advice on the internet. Claims of defamation or other injury could be made against us for content posted on our websites. In addition, negative publicity and user sentiment generated as a result of fraudulent or deceptive conduct by users of our marketplaces could damage our reputation, reduce our ability to attract new users or retain our current users, and diminish the value of our brands.

Our recent, rapid growth is not indicative of our future growth, and our revenue growth rate in the future is uncertain, including due to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our revenue increased to $951.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 from $551.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, representing a 73% increase between such periods. Our revenue for 2022 and beyond may not grow at such a rate and could potentially be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was for the year ended December 31, 2020. In addition, we will not be able to grow as expected, or at all, if we fail to: increase the number of consumers using our marketplaces; maintain and expand the number of dealers that subscribe to our marketplaces and maintain and increase the fees that they are paying; attract and retain advertisers placing advertisements in our marketplaces; further improve the quality of our marketplaces and introduce high quality new products; and increase the number of connections between consumers and dealers using our marketplaces and connections to paying dealers, in particular. If our revenue declines or fails to grow, investors’ perceptions of our business may be adversely affected, and the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.

We may require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows or if capital is not available to us, our business, operating results, financial condition, and prospects could be adversely affected.

If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows, we would require additional capital to pursue our business objectives and respond to business opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to make marketing expenditures to improve our brand awareness, develop new products, further improve our platform and existing products, enhance our operating infrastructure, and acquire complementary businesses and technologies. Accordingly, we may need to engage in equity or debt financings to secure additional funds. However, additional funds may not be available when we need them on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. Volatility in the equity and credit markets, including due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may also have an adverse effect on our ability to obtain equity or debt financing. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to pursue our business objectives and to respond to business

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opportunities, challenges, or unforeseen circumstances could be significantly limited, and our business, operating results, financial condition, and prospects could be adversely affected.

Our international operations involve risks that may differ from, or are in addition to, our domestic operational risks.

In addition to the United States, we operate marketplaces in the United Kingdom and Canada, which are less familiar competitive environments and involve various risks, including the need to invest significant resources and the likelihood that returns on such investments will not be achieved for several years, or possibly at all. We have incurred losses in prior periods in the United Kingdom and Canada and may incur losses there again in the future. We also face various other challenges in those jurisdictions. For example, our competitors may be more established or otherwise better positioned than we are to succeed in the United Kingdom and Canada. Our competitors may offer services to dealers that make dealers dependent on them, such as hosting dealers’ websites and providing inventory feeds for dealers, which would make it difficult to attract dealers to our marketplaces. Dealers may also be parties to agreements with other dealers and syndicates that prevent them from being able to access our marketplaces. Any of these barriers could impede our operations in our international markets, which could affect our business and potential growth.

In addition to English, we have made portions of our marketplaces available in French and Spanish. We may have difficulty in modifying our technology and content for use in non-English-speaking market segments or gaining acceptance by users in non-English-speaking market segments. Our ability to manage our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable management attention and resources, and is subject to the particular challenges of supporting a business in an environment of multiple languages, cultures, customs, legal and regulatory systems, alternative dispute resolution systems, and commercial infrastructures. Operating internationally may subject us to different risks or increase our exposure in connection with current risks, including risks associated with: recruiting, managing and retaining qualified multilingual employees, including sales personnel; adapting our websites and mobile applications to conform to local consumer behavior; increased competition from local websites and mobile applications and potential preferences by local populations for local providers; compliance with applicable foreign laws and regulations, including different privacy, censorship, and liability standards and regulations, and different intellectual property laws; providing solutions in different languages and for different cultures, which may require that we modify our solutions and features so they are culturally relevant in different countries; the enforceability of our intellectual property rights; credit risk and higher levels of payment fraud; compliance with anti-bribery laws, including compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act; currency exchange rate fluctuations; adverse changes in trade relationships among foreign countries and/or between the United States and such countries, including as related to the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, or the EU, commonly referred to as “Brexit”; double taxation of our international earnings and potentially adverse tax consequences arising from the tax laws of the United States or the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate; and higher costs of doing business internationally.

Dealer closures or consolidations could reduce demand for our products, which may decrease our revenue.

In the past, the number of United States dealers has declined due to dealership closures and consolidations as a result of factors such as global economic downturns or other macroeconomic issues. When dealers consolidate, the services they previously purchased separately are often purchased by the combined entity in a lesser quantity or for a lower aggregate price than before, leading to volume compression and loss of revenue. Further dealership consolidations or closures could reduce the aggregate demand for our products and services. If dealership closures and consolidations occur in the future, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We depend on key personnel to operate our business, and if we are unable to retain, attract and integrate qualified personnel, or if we experience turnover of our key personnel, our ability to develop and successfully grow our business could be materially and adversely affected.

We believe our success has depended, and continues to depend, on the efforts and talents of our executives and employees. Our future success depends on our continuing ability to attract, develop, motivate, and retain highly qualified and skilled employees. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have encountered increased rates of turnover of our employee base and encountered intense competition for retaining and attracting qualified and skilled employees. Additionally, on September 9, 2021, President Biden announced a proposed new rule requiring all employers with at least 100 employees to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to get a negative test at least once a week. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, issued an Emergency Temporary Standard, or ETS, on November 5, 2021. The Supreme Court issued a stay of the ETS on January 13, 2022. OSHA subsequently announced that it was withdrawing the ETS effective January 26, 2022 and instead would focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard, which it has not yet issued. Accordingly, we have incurred, and we may continue to incur, significant costs to attract new employees and retain existing ones, and we may in the future become less competitive in attracting and retaining employees as a result of any expense reduction efforts that we may initiate or our compliance with any COVID-19 healthcare standards to which we may become subject.

In addition, any unplanned turnover or our failure to develop an adequate succession plan for any of our executive officers or key employees, or the reduction in their involvement in the management of our business, could materially adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan and strategy, and we may not be able to find adequate replacements on a timely basis, or at all. Our executive

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officers and other employees are at-will employees, which means they may terminate their employment relationships with us at any time, and their knowledge of our business and industry would be extremely difficult to replace. We cannot ensure that we will be able to retain the services of any members of our senior management or other key employees. If we do not succeed in attracting well-qualified employees or retaining and motivating existing employees, our business could be materially and adversely affected. Additionally, we may face risks related to the transitions that occurred in our senior management team during 2021 and other future transitions in our leadership team, including the disruption of our operations and the depletion of our institutional knowledge base.

We may be subject to disputes regarding the accuracy of Instant Market Values, Deal Ratings, Dealer Ratings, New Car Price Guidance and other features of our marketplaces.

We provide consumers using our CarGurus marketplaces with our proprietary IMV, Deal Ratings, and Dealer Ratings, as well as other features to help them evaluate vehicle listings, including price guidance for new car listings, or New Car Price Guidance. Our valuation models depend on the inventory listed on our sites as well as public information regarding automotive sales. If the inventory on our site declines significantly, or if the number of automotive sales declines significantly or used car sales prices become volatile, whether as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, our valuation models may not perform as expected. Revisions to or errors in our automated valuation models, or the algorithms that underlie them, may cause the IMV, the Deal Rating, New Car Price Guidance, or other features to vary from our expectations regarding the accuracy of these tools. In addition, from time to time, regulators, consumers, dealers and other industry participants may question or disagree with our IMV, Deal Rating, Dealer Rating or New Car Price Guidance. Any such questions or disagreements could result in distraction from our business or potentially harm our reputation, could result in a decline in consumers’ confidence in, or use of, our marketplaces and could result in legal disputes.

We are subject to a complex framework of laws and regulations, many of which are unsettled, still developing and contradictory, which have in the past, and could in the future, subject us to claims, challenge our business model, or otherwise harm our business.

Various aspects of our business are, may become, or may be viewed by regulators from time to time as subject, directly or indirectly, to United States federal, state and local laws and regulations, and to foreign laws and regulations.

Local Motor Vehicle Sales, Advertising and Brokering, and Consumer Protection Laws

The advertising and sale of new and used motor vehicles is highly regulated by the jurisdictions in which we do business. Although we do not sell motor vehicles, and although we believe that vehicle listings on our sites are not themselves advertisements, regulatory authorities or third parties could take the position that some of the laws or regulations applicable to dealers or to the manner in which motor vehicles are advertised and sold generally are directly applicable to our business. These advertising laws and regulations are frequently subject to multiple interpretations and are not uniform from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, sometimes imposing inconsistent requirements with respect to new or used motor vehicles. If our marketplaces and related products are determined to not comply with relevant regulatory requirements, we or dealers could be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including fines, or the award of significant damages in class actions or other civil litigation, as well as orders interfering with our ability to continue providing our marketplaces and related products and services in certain jurisdictions. In addition, even absent such a determination, to the extent dealers are uncertain about the applicability of such laws and regulations to our business, we may lose, or have difficulty increasing the number of paying dealers, which would affect our future growth.

If regulators or other third parties take the position that our marketplaces or related products violate applicable brokering, bird-dog, consumer protection, consumer finance or advertising laws or regulations, responding to such allegations could be costly, could require us to pay significant sums in settlements, could require us to pay civil and criminal penalties, including fines, could interfere with our ability to continue providing our marketplaces and related products in certain jurisdictions, or could require us to make adjustments to our marketplaces and related products or the manner in which we derive revenue from dealers using our platform, any or all of which could result in substantial adverse publicity, termination of subscriptions by dealers, decreased revenues, distraction for our employees, increased expenses, and decreased profitability.

Federal Laws and Regulations

The United States Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, has the authority to take actions to remedy or prevent acts or practices that it considers to be unfair or deceptive and that affect commerce in the United States. If the FTC takes the position in the future that any aspect of our business, including our advertising and privacy practices, constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice, responding to such allegations could require us to defend our practices and pay significant damages, settlements, and civil penalties, or could require us to make adjustments to our marketplaces and related products and services, any or all of which could result in substantial adverse publicity, distraction for our employees, loss of participating dealers, lost revenues, increased expenses, and decreased profitability.

Our platforms enable us, dealers, and users to send and receive text messages and other mobile phone communications. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or the TCPA, as interpreted and implemented by the United States Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, and federal and state courts, impose significant restrictions on utilization of telephone calls and text messages to residential and mobile telephone numbers as a means of communication, particularly if the prior express consent of the person being contacted has not been obtained. Violations of the TCPA may be enforced by the FCC, by state attorneys general, or by others through

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litigation, including class actions. Furthermore, several provisions of the TCPA, as well as applicable rules and orders, are open to multiple interpretations, and compliance may involve fact-specific analyses.

Any failure by us, or the third parties on which we rely, to adhere to, or successfully implement, appropriate processes and procedures in response to existing or future laws and regulations could result in legal and monetary liability, fines and penalties, or damage to our reputation in the marketplace, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Even if the claims are meritless, we may be required to expend resources and pay costs to defend against regulatory actions or third-party claims. Additionally, any change to applicable laws or their interpretations that further restricts the way consumers and dealers interact through our platforms, or any governmental or private enforcement actions related thereto, could adversely affect our ability to attract customers and could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Antitrust and Other Laws

Antitrust and competition laws prohibit, among other things, any joint conduct among competitors that would lessen competition in the marketplace. A governmental or private civil action alleging the improper exchange of information, or unlawful participation in price maintenance or other unlawful or anticompetitive activity, even if unfounded, could be costly to defend and could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

Claims could be made against us under both United States and foreign laws, including claims for defamation, libel, invasion of privacy, false advertising, intellectual property infringement, or claims based on other theories related to the nature and content of the materials disseminated by our marketplaces and on portions of our websites. Our defense against any of these actions could be costly and involve significant time and attention of our management and other resources. If we become liable for information transmitted in our marketplaces, we could be directly harmed and we may be forced to implement new measures to reduce our exposure to this liability.

The foregoing description of laws and regulations to which we are or may be subject is not exhaustive, and the regulatory framework governing our operations is subject to continuous change. We are, and we will continue to be, exposed to legal and regulatory risks including with respect to privacy, tax, law enforcement, content, intellectual property, competition, and other matters. The enactment of new laws and regulations or the interpretation of existing laws and regulations, both domestically and internationally, may affect the operation of our business, directly or indirectly, which could result in substantial regulatory compliance costs, civil or criminal penalties, including fines, adverse publicity, loss of subscribing dealers, lost revenues, increased expenses, and decreased profitability. Further, investigations by governmental agencies, including the FTC, into allegedly anticompetitive, unfair, deceptive or other business practices by us or dealers using our marketplaces, could cause us to incur additional expenses and, if adversely concluded, could result in substantial civil or criminal penalties and significant legal liability, or orders requiring us to make adjustments to our marketplaces and related products and services.

Our business is subject to risks related to the larger automotive industry ecosystem, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

Decreases in consumer demand could adversely affect the market for automobile purchases and, as a result, reduce the number of consumers using our platform. Consumer purchases of new and used automobiles generally decline during recessionary periods and other periods in which disposable income is adversely affected. Purchases of new and used automobiles are typically discretionary for consumers and have been, and may continue to be, affected by negative trends in the economy, including: the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of energy and gasoline; the availability and cost of credit; rising interest rates; reductions in business and consumer confidence; stock market volatility; and increased unemployment.

Further, in recent years the market for motor vehicles has experienced rapid changes in technology and consumer demands. Self-driving technology, ride sharing, transportation networks, and other fundamental changes in transportation could impact consumer demand for the purchase of automobiles. A reduction in the number of automobiles purchased by consumers could adversely affect dealers and car manufacturers and lead to a reduction in other spending by these groups, including targeted incentive programs.

In addition, our business has been and may continue to be negatively affected by challenges to the larger automotive industry ecosystem, including global supply chain challenges, the global semiconductor chip shortage, changes to trade policies, including tariff rates and customs duties, trade relations between the United States and China and other macroeconomic issues, including the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenue, results of operations, and financial condition.

A significant disruption in service on our websites or mobile applications could damage our reputation and result in a loss of consumers, which could harm our business, brands, operating results, and financial condition.

Our brands, reputation, and ability to attract consumers, dealers, and advertisers depend on the reliable performance of our technology infrastructure and content delivery. We have experienced, and we may in the future experience, interruptions with our systems. Interruptions in these systems, whether due to system failures, computer viruses, ransomware, physical break-ins, electronic breaches, or otherwise, could affect the security or availability of our marketplaces on our websites and mobile applications, and prevent or inhibit the ability of dealers and consumers to access our marketplaces. For example, past disruptions have impacted our ability to

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activate customer accounts and manage our billing activities in a timely manner. Such interruptions have resulted, and may in the future result, in third parties accessing our confidential and proprietary information, including our intellectual property. Problems with the reliability or security of our systems could harm our reputation, harm our ability to protect our confidential and proprietary information, result in a loss of consumers and dealers, and result in additional costs.

Substantially all of the communications, network, and computer hardware used to operate our platforms is located in the United States near each of Boston, Massachusetts and Dallas, Texas, and internationally near each of London, England and Dublin, Ireland. Although we can host our U.S. CarGurus’ marketplace from two alternative locations in the United States and we believe our systems are redundant, there may be exceptions for certain hardware or software. In addition, we do not own or control the operation of these facilities. We also use third-party hosting services to back up some data but do not maintain redundant systems or facilities for some of the services. A disruption to one or more of these systems has caused, and may in the future cause, us to experience an extended period of system unavailability, which could negatively impact our relationship with consumers, customers and advertisers. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from fire, flood, power loss, telecommunications failure, terrorist attacks, acts of war, electronic breaches, physical break-ins, computer viruses, earthquakes, and similar events. The occurrence of any of these events could result in damage to our systems and hardware or could cause them to fail. In addition, we may not have sufficient protection or recovery plans in certain circumstances.

Problems faced by our third-party web hosting providers could adversely affect the experience consumers have while using our marketplaces. Our third-party web hosting providers could close their facilities without adequate notice. Any financial difficulties, up to and including bankruptcy, faced by our third-party web hosting providers or any of the service providers whose services they use, which may be exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, may have negative effects on our business, the nature and extent of which are difficult to predict. If our third-party web hosting providers are unable to keep up with our capacity needs, our business could be harmed.

Any errors, defects, disruptions, or other performance or reliability problems with our network operations could cause interruptions in access to our marketplaces as well as delays and additional expense in arranging new facilities and services and could harm our reputation, business, operating results, and financial condition. Although we carry insurance, it may not be sufficient to compensate us for the potentially significant losses, including the potential harm to the future growth of our business, that may result from interruptions in our service as a result of system failures.

We collect, process, store, transfer, share, disclose, and use consumer information and other data, and our actual or perceived failure to protect such information and data or respect users’ privacy could damage our reputation and brands and harm our business and operating results.

Some functions of our marketplaces involve the storage and transmission of consumers’ information, such as IP addresses, contact information of users who connect with dealers and profile information of users who create accounts on our marketplaces, as well as dealers’ information. We also process and store personal and confidential information of our vendors, partners, and employees. Some of this information may be private, and security breaches could expose us to a risk of loss or exposure of this information, which could result in potential liability, litigation, and remediation costs. For example, hackers could steal our users’ profile passwords, names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information. We rely on encryption and authentication technology licensed from third parties to effect secure transmission of such information. Like all information systems and technology, our websites, mobile applications, and information systems are subject to computer viruses, break-ins, phishing attacks, attempts to overload the systems with denial-of-service or other attacks, ransomware, and similar incidents or disruptions from unauthorized use of our computer systems, any of which could lead to interruptions, delays, or website shutdowns, and could cause loss of critical data and the unauthorized disclosure, access, acquisition, alteration, and use of personal or other confidential information. If we experience compromises to our security that result in website or mobile application performance or availability problems, the complete shutdown of our websites or mobile applications, or the loss or unauthorized disclosure, access, acquisition, alteration, or use of confidential information, consumers, customers, advertisers, partners, vendors, and employees may lose trust and confidence in us, and consumers may decrease the use of our websites or stop using our websites entirely, dealers may stop or decrease their subscriptions with us, and advertisers may decrease or stop advertising on our websites.

Further, outside parties have attempted and will likely continue to attempt to fraudulently induce employees, consumers, or advertisers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our information or our consumers’, dealers’, advertisers’, and employees’ information. As cyber-attacks increase in frequency and sophistication, our cyber-security and business continuity plans may not be effective in anticipating, preventing and effectively responding to all potential cyber-risk exposures. In addition, because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently, often are not recognized until after having been launched against a target, and may originate from less regulated and remote areas around the world, we may be unable to proactively address these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures.

Any or all of the issues above could adversely affect our brand reputation, negatively impact our ability to attract new consumers and increase engagement by existing consumers, cause existing consumers to reduce or stop the use of our marketplaces or close their accounts, cause existing dealers and advertisers to cancel their contracts, cause employees to terminate their employment, cause

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employment candidates to be unwilling to pursue employment opportunities or accept employment offers, and/or subject us to governmental or third-party lawsuits, investigations, regulatory fines, or other actions or liability, thereby harming our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

There are numerous federal, national, state, and local laws and regulations in the United States and around the world regarding privacy and the collection, processing, storage, sharing, disclosure, use, cross-border transfer, and protection of personal information and other data. These laws and regulations are evolving, are subject to differing interpretations, may be costly to comply with, may result in regulatory fines or penalties, may subject us to third-party lawsuits, may be inconsistent between countries and jurisdictions, and may conflict with other requirements.

We seek to comply with industry standards and are subject to the terms of our privacy policies and privacy-related obligations to third parties, as well as all applicable laws and regulations relating to privacy and data protection. However, it is possible that these obligations may be interpreted and applied in new ways or in a manner that is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another and may conflict with other rules or our practices and that new regulations could be enacted. Several proposals have recently become effective or are pending, as applicable, before federal, state, local, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies that could significantly affect our business, including the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, or the GDPR, which went into effect on May 25, 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or the CCPA, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and the California Privacy Rights Act, or the CPRA, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, or the VCDPA, each of which goes into effect on January 1, 2023, and the Colorado Privacy Act, or the CPA, which goes into effect on July 1, 2023. The GDPR and CCPA in particular have already required, and along with the CPRA, VCDPA, and CPA, may further require, us to change our policies and procedures and may in the future require us to make changes to our marketplaces and other products. These and other requirements could reduce demand for our marketplaces and other offerings, require us to take on more onerous obligations in our contracts and restrict our ability to store, transfer, and process data, which may seriously harm our business. Similarly, Brexit and the Schrems II decision of the Court of Justice of the EU, which effectively invalided the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, may require us to change our policies and procedures and, if we are not in compliance, may also seriously harm our business. We may not be entirely successful in our efforts to comply with the evolving regulations to which we are subject due to various factors within our control, such as limited internal resource allocation, or outside our control, such as a lack of vendor cooperation, new regulatory interpretations, or lack of regulatory guidance in respect of certain GDPR, CCPA, CPA, CPRA, or VCDPA requirements.

Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with United States and international data protection laws and regulations, our privacy policies, or our privacy-related obligations to consumers, customers, employees and other third parties, or any compromise of security that results in the unauthorized release or transfer of sensitive information, which could include personal information or other user data, may result in governmental investigations, enforcement actions, regulatory fines, litigation, criminal penalties, or public statements against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and could cause consumers and dealers to lose trust in us, which could significantly impact our brand reputation and have an adverse effect on our business. Additionally, if any third party that we share information with experiences a security breach or fails to comply with its privacy-related legal obligations or commitments to us, such matters may put employee, consumer or dealer information at risk and could in turn expose us to claims for damages or regulatory fines or penalties and harm our reputation, business, and operating results.

Our ability to attract consumers to our own websites and to provide certain services to our customers depends on the collection of consumer data from various sources, which may be restricted by consumer choice, privacy restrictions, and developments in laws, regulations and industry standards.

The success of our consumer marketing and the delivery of internet advertisements for our customers depends on our ability to leverage data, including data that we collect from our customers, data we receive from our publisher partners and third parties, and data from our operations. Using cookies and non-cookie-based technologies, such as mobile advertising identifiers, we collect information about the interactions of users with our customers’ and publishers’ digital properties (including, for example, information about the placement of advertisements and users’ shopping or other interactions with our customers’ websites or advertisements). Our ability to successfully leverage such data depends on our continued ability to access and use such data, which could be restricted by a number of factors, including: increasing consumer adoption of “do not track” mechanisms as a result of legislation including GDPR, CCPA, CPA, CPRA, and VCDPA; privacy restrictions imposed by web browser developers, advertising partners or other software developers that impair our ability to understand the preferences of consumers by limiting the use of third-party cookies or other tracking technologies or data indicating or predicting consumer preferences; and new developments in, or new interpretations of, privacy laws, regulations and industry standards.

Each of these developments could materially impact our ability to collect consumer data and deliver relevant internet advertisements to attract consumers to our websites or to deliver targeted advertising for our advertising customers. If we are unsuccessful in evolving our advertising and marketing strategies to adapt to and mitigate these evolving consumer data limitations, our business results could be materially impacted.

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We have been, and may again be, subject to intellectual property disputes, which are costly to defend and could harm our business and operating results.

We have been, and expect in the future to be, subject to claims and litigation alleging that we infringe others’ intellectual property rights, including the trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights of third parties, including from our competitors or non-practicing entities. We may also learn of possible infringement to our trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property. In addition, we could be subject to lawsuits where consumers and dealers posting content on our websites disseminate materials that infringe the intellectual property rights of third parties.

Patent and other intellectual property litigation may be protracted and expensive, and the results are difficult to predict and may result in significant settlement costs or payment of substantial damages. Many potential litigants, including patent holding companies, have the ability to dedicate substantially greater resources to enforce their intellectual property rights and to defend claims that may be brought against them. Furthermore, a successful claimant could secure a judgment that requires us to stop offering some features or prevents us from conducting our business as we have historically done or may desire to do in the future. We might also be required to seek a license and pay royalties for the use of such intellectual property, which may not be available on commercially acceptable terms, or at all. Alternatively, we may be required to modify our marketplaces and features while we develop non-infringing substitutes, which could require significant effort and expense and may ultimately not be successful.

In addition, we use open source software in our platform and will use open source software in the future. From time to time, we may face claims from companies that incorporate open source software into their products, claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the source code, the open source software, or derivative works that were developed using such software, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open source license. These claims could also result in litigation, require us to purchase a costly license or require us to devote additional product, technology, and development resources to change our platforms or services, any of which would have a negative effect on our business and operating results. Even if these matters do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor or without significant cash settlements, these matters, and the time and resources necessary to litigate or resolve them, could harm our business, our operating results, and our reputation.

Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could harm our business and operating results.

Our business depends on our intellectual property, the protection of which is crucial to the success of our business. We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright law and contractual restrictions to protect our intellectual property. In addition, we attempt to protect our intellectual property, technology, and confidential information by requiring our employees and consultants to enter into confidentiality and assignment of inventions agreements and third parties to enter into nondisclosure agreements as we deem appropriate. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our platform’s features, software, and functionality or obtain and use information that we consider proprietary.

Competitors may adopt trademarks or trade names similar to ours, thereby harming our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to user confusion. In addition, there could be potential trade name or trademark infringement claims asserted against us by owners of other registered or unregistered trademarks logos or slogans, for our use of registered or unregistered trademarks, logos or slogans, or third party trademarks that incorporate variations of our trademarks. We have registered the CARGURUS and CG logos, as well as the word-mark CARGURUS, in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, CarOffer has a number of registered and unregistered trademarks, including “CarOffer” and the CarOffer logo, and related marks, which CarOffer has registered as trademarks in the U.S.

We currently hold the “CarGurus.com” internet domain name and various other related domain names relating to our brands. The regulation of domain names is subject to change. Regulatory bodies could establish additional top-level domains, appoint additional domain name registrars, or modify the requirements for holding domain names. As a result, we may not be able to acquire or maintain all domain names that use the names of our brands. In addition, third parties have created and may in the future create copycat or squatter domains to deceive consumers, which could harm our brands, interfere with our ability to register domain names, and result in additional costs.

We may be unable to halt the operations of websites that aggregate or misappropriate our data.

From time to time, third parties may misappropriate our data through website scraping, robots, or other means and aggregate this data with data from other sources. In addition, copycat websites may misappropriate data in our marketplaces and attempt to imitate our brands or the functionality of our websites. If we become aware of such activities, we intend to employ technological or legal measures in an attempt to halt their operations. However, we may be unable to detect and remedy all such activities in a timely manner. In some cases, our available remedies may not be adequate to protect us against the impact of such operations. Regardless of whether we can successfully enforce our rights against these third parties, any measures that we may take could require us to expend significant financial or other resources, which could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition. In addition, to the extent that such activity creates confusion among consumers or advertisers, our brands and business could be harmed.

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Seasonality and other factors may cause fluctuations in our operating results and our marketing spend.

Across the retail automotive industry, consumer purchases are typically greatest in the first three quarters of each year, due in part to the introduction of new vehicle models from manufacturers and the seasonal nature of consumer spending, and our consumer-marketing spend generally fluctuates accordingly. This seasonality has not been immediately apparent historically due to the overall growth of other operating expenses. In addition, any reduction of our marketing spend in response to COVID-19-related expense management or otherwise, and shifts in demand from dealers and consumers could impact the efficiency of our marketing spend. As our growth rates moderate or cease, the impact of these seasonality trends and other influences on our results of operations could become more pronounced. In addition, the volume of wholesale vehicle sales fluctuates from quarter to quarter as a result of macroeconomic issues, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage, which may have a corresponding impact on our results of operations. This variability is caused by several factors including the timing of used vehicles available for sale from selling customers, the seasonality of the retail market for used vehicles and/or inventory challenges in the automotive industry, which affect the demand side of the wholesale industry.

Failure to deal effectively with fraud or other illegal activity could lead to potential legal liability, harm our business, cause us to lose paying dealer customers and adversely affect our reputation, financial performance and prospects for growth.

Based on the nature of our business, we are exposed to potential fraudulent and illegal activity in our marketplaces, including: listings of automobiles that are not owned by the purported dealer or that the dealer has no intention of selling at the listed price; receipt of fraudulent leads that we may send to our dealers; and deceptive practices in our peer-to-peer marketplace. The measures we have in place to detect and limit the occurrence of such fraudulent and illegal activity in our marketplaces may not always be effective or account for all types of fraudulent or other illegal activity. Further, the measures that we use to detect and limit the occurrence of fraudulent and illegal activity must be dynamic, as technologies and ways to commit fraud and illegal activity are continually evolving. Failure to limit the impact of fraudulent and illegal activity on our websites could lead to potential legal liability, harm our business, cause us to lose paying dealer customers and adversely affect our reputation, financial performance and prospects for growth.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Our founder controls a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock, and, therefore, has control over key decision-making and could control our actions in a manner that conflicts with the interests of other stockholders.

Primarily by virtue of his holdings in shares of our Class B common stock, which has a ten-to-one voting ratio compared to our Class A common stock, Langley Steinert, our founder, Chairman of the Board and Executive Chairman, is able to exercise voting rights with respect to a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock and therefore has the ability to control the outcome of matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. This concentrated control could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support, or conversely this concentrated control could result in the consummation of such a transaction that our other stockholders do not support. This concentrated control could also discourage a potential investor from acquiring our Class A common stock, which might harm the trading price of our Class A common stock. In addition, Mr. Steinert has significant influence in the management and major strategic investments of our company as a result of his position as Executive Chairman, and his ability to control the election or replacement of our directors. As Chairman of the Board and our Executive Chairman, Mr. Steinert owes a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of our stockholders. If Mr. Steinert’s status as an officer and a director is terminated, his fiduciary duties to our stockholders will also terminate, but his voting power as a stockholder will not be reduced as a result of such termination unless such termination is either made voluntarily by Mr. Steinert or due to Mr. Steinert’s death, or if the sum of the number of shares of our capital stock held by Mr. Steinert, by any Family Member of Mr. Steinert, and by any Permitted Entity of Mr. Steinert (as such capitalized terms are defined in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation attached to this Annual Report on Form 10-K as Exhibit 3.1), assuming the exercise and settlement in full of all outstanding options and convertible securities and calculated on an as-converted to Class A common stock basis, is less than 9,091,484 shares. As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Steinert is entitled to vote his shares in his own interests, which may not always be aligned with the interests of our other stockholders.

We believe that Mr. Steinert’s continued control of a majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock is beneficial to us and is in the best interests of our stockholders. In the event that Mr. Steinert no longer controls a majority of the voting power, whether as a result of the disposition of some or all his shares of Class A or Class B common stock, the conversion of the Class B common stock into Class A common stock in accordance with its terms, or otherwise, our business or the trading price of our Class A common stock may be adversely affected.

The multiple class structure of our common stock has the effect of concentrating voting control with our founder and certain other holders of our Class B common stock, which will limit or preclude the ability of our stockholders to influence corporate matters.

Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Our founder and certain of his affiliates hold a substantial number of the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock and therefore hold a substantial majority of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A

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common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore are able to control all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval so long as the shares of Class B common stock represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock. This concentrated control will limit or preclude the ability of our other stockholders to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those transferred shares converting into Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected for estate planning or charitable purposes. The conversion of Class B common stock into Class A common stock has had and will continue to have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain such shares. If, for example, Mr. Steinert retains a significant portion of his holdings of Class B common stock, he could continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our outstanding capital stock.

Our status as a “controlled company” could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm the trading price of our Class A common stock.

More than 50% of our voting power is held by Mr. Steinert. As a result, we are a “controlled company” under the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies and may elect not to comply with certain Nasdaq corporate governance requirements. We rely and have relied on certain or all of these exemptions. Accordingly, should the interests of our controlling stockholder differ from those of other stockholders, the other stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance rules for Nasdaq-listed companies. Our status as a controlled company could make our Class A common stock less attractive to some investors or otherwise harm our stock price.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and the value of our stockholders’ investment in our stock could decline.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and may continue to be volatile and fluctuate substantially. The trading price of our Class A common stock depends on a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock include the following: changes in the operating performance and stock market valuations of other technology companies generally, or those in our industry in particular; sales of shares of our Class A common stock by us or our stockholders; adverse changes to recommendations regarding our stock by securities analysts that cover us; failure of securities analysts to maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors; announcements by us or our competitors of new products; the public’s reaction to our issuances of earnings guidance or other public announcements and filing; real or perceived inaccuracies in our key metrics; actions of an activist stockholder; actual or anticipated changes in our operating results or fluctuations in our operating results or developments in our business, our competitors’ businesses, or the competitive landscape generally; litigation involving us or investigations by regulators into our operations or those of our competitors; developments or disputes concerning our proprietary rights; announced or completed acquisitions of businesses or technologies by us or our competitors; new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business; changes in accounting standards, policies, or guidelines; any significant change in our management; changes in the automobile industry; and general economic conditions, including as related to the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

General Risk Factors

We participate in a highly competitive market, and pressure from existing and new companies may adversely affect our business and operating results.

We face significant competition from companies that provide listings, car-shopping information, lead generation, marketing, wholesale, and digital car-buying and -selling services designed to help consumers and dealers shop for cars and to enable dealers to reach these consumers. Our competitors include: online automotive marketplaces and websites; internet search engines; peer-to-peer marketplaces; social media marketplaces; sites operated by automobile dealers; online dealerships; and vehicle auction companies. We compete with these and other companies for a share of dealers’ overall marketing budget for online and offline media marketing spend and we compete with these and other companies in attracting consumers to our websites. To the extent that dealers view alternative marketing and media strategies to be superior to our marketplaces, we may not be able to maintain or grow the number of dealers subscribing to, and advertising on, our marketplaces, and our business and financial results may be adversely affected. We also expect that new competitors will continue to enter the online automotive retail and wholesale industries with competing marketplaces, products, and services, and that existing competitors will expand to offer competing products or services, which could have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

Our competitors could significantly impede our ability to expand the number of dealers using our marketplaces or could offer discounts that could significantly impede our ability to maintain our pricing structure. Our competitors may also develop and market new technologies that render our existing or future platforms and associated products less competitive, unmarketable, or obsolete. In addition, if our competitors develop platforms with similar or superior functionality to ours, or if our web traffic declines, we may need

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to decrease our subscription and advertising fees. If we are unable to maintain our current pricing structure due to competitive pressures, our revenue would likely be reduced and our financial results would be negatively affected.

Our existing and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing, and other resources than we have, which may allow them to offer more competitive pricing and the ability to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, and support of their marketplaces, products, and services. They may also have more extensive automotive industry relationships than we have, longer operating histories, and greater name recognition. In addition, these competitors may be able to respond more quickly with technological advances and to undertake more extensive marketing or promotional campaigns than we can. To the extent that any competitor has existing relationships with dealers or auto manufacturers for marketing or data analytics solutions, those dealers and auto manufacturers may be unwilling to partner with us. If we are unable to compete with these competitors, the demand for our marketplaces and related products and services could substantially decline.

We rely on third-party service providers and strategic partners for many aspects of our business, and any failure to maintain these relationships or to successfully integrate certain third-party platforms could harm our business.

Our success depends upon our relationships with third parties, including, among others: our payment processor; our data center hosts; our information technology providers; our data providers for inventory and vehicle information; and our partners for vehicle transportation, inspection and other logistics associated with our CarOffer business and IMCO. If these third parties experience difficulty meeting our requirements or standards, have adverse audit results, violate the terms of our agreements or applicable law, fail to obtain or maintain applicable licenses, or if the relationships we have established with such third parties expire or otherwise terminate, it could make it difficult for us to operate some aspects of our business, which could damage our business and reputation. In addition, if such third-party service providers or strategic partners were to cease operations, temporarily or permanently, face financial distress or other business disruptions, increase their fees, or if our relationships with these providers or partners deteriorate or terminate, whether as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise, we could suffer increased costs and we may be unable to provide similar services until an equivalent provider could be found or we could develop replacement technology or operations. In addition, if we are unsuccessful in identifying or finding high-quality partners, if we fail to negotiate cost-effective relationships with them, or if we ineffectively manage these relationships, it could have an adverse impact on our business and financial results.

Our enterprise systems require that we integrate the platforms hosted by certain third-party service providers. We are responsible for integrating these platforms and updating them to maintain proper functionality. Issues with these integrations, our failure to properly update third-party platforms or any interruptions to our internal enterprise systems could harm our business by causing delays in our ability to quote, activate service and bill new and existing customers on our platform.

We must maintain proper and effective internal control over financial reporting and any failure to maintain the adequacy of these internal controls may adversely affect investor confidence in our company and, as a result, the value of our Class A common stock.

We are required, pursuant to Section 404 and the related rules adopted by the SEC, to furnish a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting on an annual basis. This assessment includes disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. During the evaluation and testing process, if we identify and fail to remediate one or more material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal controls are effective.

In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404. Our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse to us in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our controls are documented, designed or operating. We may not be able to remediate any future material weaknesses, or to complete our evaluation, testing and required remediation in a timely fashion. We are also required to disclose significant changes made to our internal control procedures on a quarterly basis. Our compliance with Section 404 requires that we incur substantial accounting expense and expend significant management efforts.

Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition or results of operations. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective or our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting when it is required to issue such opinion, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by Nasdaq, the SEC or other regulatory authorities.

We expect our results of operations to fluctuate on a quarterly and annual basis.

Our revenue and results of operations could vary significantly from period to period and may fail to match expectations as a result of a variety of factors, some of which are outside of our control, including the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic issues, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage. Our results may vary as a result of fluctuations in the number of dealers subscribing to our marketplaces and the size and seasonal variability of our advertisers’ marketing budgets. As a result of the potential variations in our revenue and results of operations, period-to-period comparisons may not be meaningful and the results of any

33


one period should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. In addition, our results of operations may not meet the expectations of investors or public market analysts who follow us, which may adversely affect the trading price of our Class A common stock.

We could be subject to adverse changes in tax laws, regulations and interpretations, plus challenges to our tax positions.

We are subject to taxation in the United States and certain other jurisdictions in which we operate. Changes in applicable tax laws or regulations may be proposed or enacted that could materially and adversely affect our effective tax rate, tax payments, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. In addition, tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to varying interpretations. There is also uncertainty over sales tax liability as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., which could precipitate reactions by legislators, regulators and courts that could adversely increase our tax administrative costs and tax risk, and negatively affect our overall business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. We are also regularly subject to audits by tax authorities. Any adverse development or outcome in connection with any such tax audits, and any other audits or litigation, could materially and adversely impact our effective tax rate, tax payments, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Confidentiality agreements may not adequately prevent disclosure of our trade secrets and other proprietary information.

In order to protect our technologies and processes, we rely in part on confidentiality agreements with our employees, independent contractors, and other advisors. These agreements may not effectively prevent disclosure of confidential information, including trade secrets, and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. To the extent that our employees, contractors, or other third parties with whom we do business use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights to related or resulting know-how and inventions. In addition, any changes in, or unexpected interpretations of, intellectual property laws may compromise our ability to enforce our trade secret and intellectual property rights. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain protection of our trade secrets or other proprietary information could harm our business, results of operations, reputation, and competitive position.

 

34


Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

Not applicable.

Item 2. Properties.

We do not own any real property. Our principal executive offices are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts where we lease a total of approximately 185,064 square feet of space in various parcels in three buildings with lease terms that expire in November 2023, August 2023, January 2025, and December 2033, as applicable. We also lease office space in Addison, Texas, Dublin, Ireland, and San Francisco, California for our CarOffer, European and Autolist operations, respectively. We believe that our current facilities are suitable and adequate to meet our current needs. We believe that suitable additional space or substitute space will be available in the future to accommodate our operations as needed. In 2019, we entered into a lease for office space at 1001 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, which we expect to occupy in 2023.

From time to time we may become involved in legal proceedings or be subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business. We are not presently subject to any pending or threatened litigation that we believe, if determined adversely to us, individually, or taken together, would reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on our business or financial results.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

35


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information for Common Stock

Our Class A common stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CARG” since October 12, 2017. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock. Our initial public offering, or IPO, was priced at $16.00 per share on October 11, 2017.

On February 23, 2022, the last reported sale price of our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was $31.01 per share.

Holders

As of February 18, 2022, we had seven holders of record of our Class A common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than this number of record holders, and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. The number of holders of record does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock. We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings to fund development and growth of our business, and we do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

36


Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, or otherwise be subject to the liabilities under that section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of CarGurus, Inc. under the Exchange Act or the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

The following graph shows a comparison from October 12, 2017 (the date our Class A common stock commenced trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market) through December 31, 2021 of the cumulative total return for our Class A common stock, the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index. All values assume a $100 initial cash investment and data for the Nasdaq Composite Index and the S&P 500 Index assume reinvestment of dividends, if any. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.

https://cdn.kscope.io/ccb6873cee541a1fca8d204280d4b905-img195593270_0.jpg 

 

 

 

10/12/2017

 

 

12/31/2017

 

 

12/31/2018

 

 

12/31/2019

 

 

12/31/2020

 

 

12/31/2021

 

CARG

 

 

100

 

 

 

109

 

 

 

122

 

 

 

128

 

 

 

115

 

 

 

122

 

S&P 500 Index

 

 

100

 

 

 

105

 

 

 

101

 

 

 

132

 

 

 

157

 

 

 

202

 

Nasdaq Computer Index

 

 

100

 

 

 

105

 

 

 

102

 

 

 

139

 

 

 

202

 

 

 

247

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.

Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

Item 6. Selected Consolidated Financial Data.

Not applicable.

37


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and our performance and future success, includes forward‑looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” You should review the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward‑looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

In this discussion, we use financial measures that are considered non‑GAAP financial measures under Securities and Exchange Commission rules. These rules regarding non-GAAP financial measures require supplemental explanation and reconciliation, which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Investors should not consider non‑GAAP financial measures in isolation from or in substitution for, financial information presented in compliance with United States generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP.

This section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K discusses 2021 and 2020 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2021 and 2020. Discussions of 2019 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019 can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. The period‑to‑period comparison of financial results is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Company Overview

CarGurus is a multinational, online automotive platform for buying and selling vehicles that is building upon its industry-leading listings marketplace with both digital retail solutions and the CarOffer online wholesale platform. The CarGurus marketplace gives consumers the confidence to purchase or sell a vehicle either online or in-person, and it gives dealerships the power to accurately price, effectively market, instantly acquire and quickly sell vehicles, all with a nationwide reach. We use our proprietary technology, search algorithms and data analytics to bring trust, transparency and competitive pricing to the automotive shopping experience.

We are headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and were incorporated in the State of Delaware on June 26, 2015.

We operate principally in the United States. In the United States, we also operate as independent brands the Autolist online marketplace, which we wholly own, and CarOffer digital wholesale marketplace, in which we own a 51% equity interest. In addition to the United States, we operate online marketplaces under the CarGurus brand in Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, we also operate as an independent brand the PistonHeads online marketplace, which we wholly own. We also operated online marketplaces in Germany, Italy, and Spain until we ceased the operations of each of these marketplaces in the second quarter of 2020.

We have subsidiaries in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, we have two reportable segments, United States and International. See Note 13 and Note 15 of our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further segment reporting and geographical information.

We generate marketplace revenue primarily from (i) dealer subscriptions to our Listings packages and Real-time Performance Marketing, or RPM, digital advertising suite, (ii) advertising revenue from auto manufacturers and other auto‑related brand advertisers and (iii) revenue from partnerships with financing services companies. We generate wholesale revenue primarily from transaction fees earned by CarOffer from facilitating the purchase and sale of vehicles between dealers. We generate product revenue primarily from aggregate proceeds received on the sale of vehicles.

For the year ended December 31, 2021, we generated revenue of $951.4 million, a 73% increase from $551.5 million of revenue in the year ended December 31, 2020.

For the year ended December 31, 2021, we generated consolidated net income of $110.4 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $249.5 million, compared to consolidated net income of $77.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $160.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020.

See “Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin” below for more information regarding our use of Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, and a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to our consolidated net income.

38


COVID-19 Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an international health crisis and resulted in significant disruptions to the global economy as well as businesses and capital markets around the world.

Our operations have been materially adversely affected by a range of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, all of our offices have been temporarily closed and, subject to limited exceptions, all of our employees have worked remotely, which has disrupted how we operate our business. In addition, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as states and localities in the United States, implemented or mandated significant restrictions on travel and commerce, shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, and business closures. Fluctuation in infection rates in the regions in which we operate has resulted in periodic changes in restrictions that vary from region to region and may require rapid response to new or reinstated orders. Many of these orders resulted in restrictions on the ability of consumers to buy and sell automobiles by restricting operations at dealerships and/or by closing or reducing the services provided by certain service providers upon which dealerships rely. In addition, these restrictions and continued concern about the spread of the disease have impacted car shopping by consumers and disrupted the operations of car dealerships, which has adversely affected the market for automobile purchases.

The automotive industry is also facing inventory supply problems, including for reasons attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic issues, such as the global semiconductor chip shortage, which have adversely affected the amount of inventory on our websites.

As a result of the travel and commerce restrictions and the impact on their businesses, a number of our dealer customers have, or are temporarily closed or are operating on a reduced capacity, and many dealerships have faced significant financial challenges, which caused us to experience increased customer cancellation rates and slowed paying dealer additions during the year ended December 31, 2020. However, since the second quarter of 2020, cancellations by paying dealers have begun to stabilize, which we believe resulted primarily from the resumption of consumer activity.

Further, in the past, we have taken measures to help our paying dealers maintain their business health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by proactively reducing the subscription fees for paying dealers for certain service periods. As a result, the level of fees we received from paying dealers materially decreased during the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared to the prior year, resulting in a material decline in our revenue on a year-over-year basis and a material adverse effect to our business. These effects on our revenue caused us to implement a cost-savings initiative during the second quarter of 2020, or the Expense Reduction Plan, that included a reduction in our workforce, a limitation in discretionary spend across our business, reduced consumer marketing across both algorithmic traffic acquisition and brand spend, and ceasing certain international operations and expansion efforts. We have since increased our consumer marketing and other expenses, though remaining short of pre-pandemic levels, as consumer activity increased, and governments implemented re-opening policies. For the year ended December 31, 2021, we also returned to normal contractual billings in all markets except for our suspension of charging subscription fees to paying dealers in the United Kingdom during the February 2021 service period. Although the fee reductions had a material adverse effect on our revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020, they did not have a material adverse impact for the year ended December 31, 2021.

We continue to monitor and assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our commercial operations, including the impact on our revenue. Recently identified variants of COVID-19, Delta and Omicron, which appear to be more transmissible and contagious than previous COVID-19 variants, have caused an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally. The impact of COVID-19 and, in particular, the Delta and Omicron variants or other variants that may emerge, cannot be predicted at this time, and could depend on a number of factors, including the availability of vaccines in different parts of the world, vaccination rates among the population, and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta and Omicron variants and any other variants that may emerge. Accordingly, we cannot at this time accurately predict what effects these conditions will ultimately have on our future revenue and operations. See the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further discussion of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business.

39


Key Business Metrics

We regularly review a number of metrics, including the key metrics listed below, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends affecting our business, formulate financial projections, and make operating and strategic decisions. We believe it is important to evaluate these metrics for the United States and International segments. The International segment derives revenues from marketplace revenue from customers outside of the United States. International markets perform differently from the United States market due to a variety of factors, including our operating history in each market, our rate of investment, market size, market maturity, competition and other dynamics unique to each country. The metrics presented below exclude CarOffer as we believe such metrics are either not applicable for the CarOffer business or do not provide a meaningful way to evaluate the CarOffer business.

Monthly Unique Users

For each of our websites, we define a monthly unique user as an individual who has visited any such website within a calendar month, based on data as measured by Google Analytics. We calculate average monthly unique users as the sum of the monthly unique users of each of our websites in a given period, divided by the number of months in that period. We count a unique user the first time a computer or mobile device with a unique device identifier accesses any of our websites during a calendar month. If an individual accesses a website using a different device within a given month, the first access by each such device is counted as a separate unique user. If an individual uses multiple browsers on a single device and/or clears their cookies and returns to our site within a calendar month, each such visit is counted as a separate unique user. We view our average monthly unique users as a key indicator of the quality of our user experience, the effectiveness of our advertising and traffic acquisition, and the strength of our brand awareness. Measuring unique users is important to us and we believe it provides useful information to our investors because our marketplace revenue depends, in part, on our ability to provide dealers with connections to our users and exposure to our marketplace audience. We define connections as interactions between consumers and dealers on our marketplace through phone calls, email, managed text and chat, and clicks to access the dealer’s website or map directions to the dealership.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

Average Monthly Unique Users

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

United States

 

 

31,646

 

 

 

36,228

 

International

 

 

7,495

 

 

 

8,335

 

Total

 

 

39,141

 

 

 

44,563

 

Monthly Sessions

We define monthly sessions as the number of distinct visits to our websites that take place each month within a given time frame, as measured and defined by Google Analytics. We calculate average monthly sessions as the sum of the monthly sessions in a given period, divided by the number of months in that period. A session is defined as beginning with the first page view from a computer or mobile device and ending at the earliest of when a user closes their browser window, after 30 minutes of inactivity, or each night at midnight (i) Eastern Time for our United States and Canada websites, other than the Autolist website, (ii) Pacific Time for the Autolist website, (iii) Greenwich Mean Time for our U.K. websites, and (iv) Central European Time (or Central European Summer Time when daylight savings is observed) for our Germany, Italy, and Spain websites, which ceased operations in the second quarter of 2020. A session can be made up of multiple page views and visitor actions, such as performing a search, visiting vehicle detail pages, and connecting with a dealer. We believe that measuring the volume of sessions in a time period, when considered in conjunction with the number of unique users in that time period, is an important indicator to us of consumer satisfaction and engagement with our marketplace, and we believe it provides useful information to our investors because the more satisfied and engaged consumers we have, the more valuable our service is to dealers.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

Average Monthly Sessions

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

United States

 

 

79,316

 

 

 

90,909

 

International

 

 

17,309

 

 

 

19,326

 

Total

 

 

96,625

 

 

 

110,235

 

 

40


Number of Paying Dealers

We define a paying dealer as a dealer account with an active, paid marketplace subscription at the end of a defined period. The number of paying dealers we have is important to us and we believe it provides valuable information to investors because it is indicative of the value proposition of our marketplace products, as well as our sales and marketing success and opportunity, including our ability to retain paying dealers and develop new dealer relationships.

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

Number of Paying Dealers

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

United States

 

 

23,860

 

 

 

23,934

 

International

 

 

6,770

 

 

 

6,697

 

Total

 

 

30,630

 

 

 

30,631

 

Quarterly Average Revenue per Subscribing Dealer (QARSD)

We define QARSD, which is measured at the end of a fiscal quarter, as the marketplace revenue primarily from subscriptions to our Listings packages and RPM digital advertising suite during that trailing quarter divided by the average number of paying dealers in that marketplace during the quarter. We calculate the average number of paying dealers for a period by adding the number of paying dealers at the end of such period and the end of the prior period and dividing by two. This information is important to us, and we believe it provides useful information to investors, because we believe that our ability to grow QARSD is an indicator of the value proposition of our products and the return on investment, or ROI, that our paying dealers realize from our products. In addition, increases in QARSD, which we believe reflect the value of exposure to our engaged audience in relation to subscription cost, are driven in part by our ability to grow the volume of connections to our users and the quality of those connections, which result in increased opportunity to upsell package levels and cross-sell additional products to our paying dealers.

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

Quarterly Average Revenue per Subscribing Dealer (QARSD)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

United States

 

$

5,633

 

 

$

5,304

 

International

 

$

1,546

 

 

$

1,060

 

Consolidated

 

$

4,731

 

 

$

4,382

 

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin

To provide investors with additional information regarding our financial results, we monitor and have presented within this Annual Report on Form 10-K, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin, each of which are non‑GAAP financial measures. These non‑GAAP financial measures are not based on any standardized methodology prescribed by United States generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, and are not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other companies.

We define Adjusted EBITDA as consolidated net income, adjusted to exclude: depreciation and amortization, impairment of long-lived assets, stock‑based compensation expense, acquisition-related expenses, restructuring expenses, other income, net, provision for income taxes, and net income attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest. In addition, we evaluate our Adjusted EBITDA in relation to our revenue. We refer to this as Adjusted EBITDA margin and define it as Adjusted EBITDA divided by total revenue.

We have presented Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin within this Annual Report on Form 10-K because they are key measures used by our management and board of directors to understand and evaluate our operating performance, generate future operating plans, and make strategic decisions regarding the allocation of capital. In particular, we believe that the exclusion of certain items in calculating Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin can produce useful measures for period‑to‑period comparisons of our business.

We use Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin to evaluate our operating performance and trends and make planning decisions. We believe Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin help identify underlying trends in our business that could otherwise be masked by the effect of the expenses that we exclude. Accordingly, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin provide useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating our operating results, enhancing the overall understanding of our past performance and future prospects, and allowing for greater transparency with respect to key financial metrics used by our management in its financial and operational decision‑making.

41


Our Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, and should not be considered in isolation of, or as an alternative to, measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are a number of limitations related to the use of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin rather than consolidated net income and consolidated net income margin, respectively, which are the most directly comparable GAAP equivalents. Some of these limitations are:

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude depreciation and amortization expense and, although these are non‑cash expenses, the assets being depreciated may have to be replaced in the future;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude impairment of long-lived assets and, although these are non‑cash adjustments, the assets being impaired may have to be replaced in the future;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude stock‑based compensation expense, which will be, for the foreseeable future, a significant recurring expense for our business and an important part of our compensation strategy;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude transaction and one-time acquisition-related expenses incurred by us during a reporting period, which may not be reflective of our operational performance during such period, for acquisitions that have been completed as of the filing date of our annual or quarterly report (as applicable) relating to such period;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude restructuring expenses incurred by us during a reporting period, which may not be reflective of our operational performance during such period;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude other income, net which primarily includes interest income earned on our cash, cash equivalents, and investments, and net foreign exchange gains and losses;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude the provision for income taxes;
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin exclude the income attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest, adjusted for all prior limitations to Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin as described above; and
other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin differently, which reduce their usefulness as comparative measures.

Because of these limitations, we consider, and you should consider, Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin together with other operating and financial performance measures presented in accordance with GAAP.

For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, the following table presents a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin to consolidated net income and consolidated net income margin, respectively, the most directly comparable measures calculated in accordance with GAAP, for each of the periods presented.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated net income

 

$

110,373

 

 

$

77,553

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

40,476

 

 

 

10,191

 

Impairment of long-lived assets

 

 

3,128

 

 

 

1,151

 

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

77,710

 

 

 

45,321

 

Acquisition-related expenses

 

 

709

 

 

 

2,906

 

Restructuring expenses (1)

 

 

 

 

 

3,514

 

Other income, net

 

 

(1,092

)

 

 

(1,354

)

Provision for income taxes

 

 

38,987

 

 

 

21,557

 

Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA

 

 

270,291

 

 

 

160,839

 

Net income attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest

 

 

(20,784

)

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

249,507

 

 

$

160,839

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated net income margin

 

 

12

%

 

 

14

%

Adjusted EBITDA margin

 

 

26

%

 

 

29

%

 

42


(1)
Excludes stock-based compensation expense of $753 for the year ended December 31, 2020 related to the Expense Reduction Plan, as the amount is already included within the stock-based compensation line item in the Reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin.

Components of Consolidated Income Statements

Revenue

We derive revenue from three sources: (i) marketplace revenue, which consists primarily of dealer subscriptions to our Listings packages and RPM digital advertising suite, advertising revenue from auto manufacturers and other auto‑related brand advertisers, and revenue from partnerships with financing services companies; (ii) wholesale revenue, which consists primarily of transaction fees earned by CarOffer from facilitating the purchase and sale of vehicles between dealers; and (iii) product revenue, which consists primarily of aggregate proceeds received on the sale of vehicles.

Marketplace Revenue

We offer multiple types of marketplace Listings packages to our dealers for our CarGurus U.S. platform (availability varies on our other marketplaces): Restricted Listings, which is free; and various levels of Listings packages, which each require a paid subscription under a monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual subscription basis.

Our subscriptions for customers generally auto-renew on a monthly basis and are cancellable by dealers with 30 days’ advance notice prior to the commencement of the applicable renewal term, although during the second quarter of 2020 we did not require 30 days’ advance notice of termination from dealers who cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Subscription pricing is determined based on a dealer’s inventory size, region, and our assessment of the connections and ROI the platform will provide them and is subject to discounts and/or fee reductions that we may offer from time to time. We also offer all dealers on our platform access to our Dealer Dashboard, which includes a performance summary, Dealer Insights tool, and user review management platform. Only dealers subscribing to a paid Listings package have access to the Pricing Tool, Market Analysis tool and our IMV Scan tool.

In addition to displaying inventory in our marketplace and providing access to the Dealer Dashboard, we offer dealers subscribing to certain of our Listings packages other subscription advertising and customer acquisition products and enhancements marketed under our RPM digital advertising suite. Through RPM, dealers can buy advertising that appears in our marketplace, on other sites on the internet and/or on high-converting social media platforms. Such advertisements can be targeted by the user’s geography, search history, CarGurus website activity and a number of other targeting factors, allowing dealers to increase their visibility with in-market consumers and drive qualified traffic for dealers.

We also offer paid Listings packages for the Autolist website and paid Listings and advertising products for the PistonHeads website.

Marketplace revenue also consists of non-dealer advertising revenue from auto manufacturers and other auto-related brand advertisers sold on a cost per thousand impressions, or CPM, basis. An impression is an advertisement loaded on a web page. In addition to advertising sold on a CPM basis, we also have advertising sold on a cost per click basis. Auto manufacturers and other brand advertisers can execute advertising campaigns that are targeted across a wide variety of parameters, including demographic groups, behavioral characteristics, specific auto brands, categories such as Certified Pre-Owned, and segments such as hybrid vehicles.

Marketplace revenue also includes revenue from partnerships with certain financing services companies pursuant to which we enable eligible consumers on our CarGurus U.S. website to pre-qualify for financing on cars from dealerships that offer financing through such companies. We primarily generate revenue from these partnerships based on the number of funded loans from consumers who pre-qualify with our lending partners through our site.

We also offer non-dealer advertising products for the Autolist and PistonHeads websites.

Wholesale Revenue

Wholesale revenue includes transaction fees earned by CarOffer from facilitating the purchase and sale of vehicles between dealers, where CarOffer collects fees from both the buyer and seller. CarOffer also sells vehicles to dealers that CarOffer acquires at other marketplaces – in these instances, CarOffer collects a transaction fee from the buyer.

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Wholesale revenue also includes fees earned by CarOffer from performing inspection and transportation services, where CarOffer collects fees from the buyer. Inspection and transportation service revenue is inclusive of dealer to dealer transactions, other marketplace to dealer transactions, and customer to dealer transactions.

Wholesale revenue also includes fees earned by CarOffer from certain guarantees offered to dealers, where CarOffer collects fees from the buying dealer or selling dealer, as applicable.

Product Revenue

Product revenue includes the aggregate proceeds received on the sale of vehicles. This revenue relates to vehicles sold to dealers that CarOffer acquires directly from customers, inclusive of transaction fees collected from the buyer, and in limited situations across all CarOffer transactions, vehicles CarOffer resells after acquiring a vehicle via arbitration. Arbitration is the process by which CarOffer investigates and resolves claims from buying dealers.

Cost of Revenue

Marketplace Cost of Revenue

Marketplace cost of revenue includes expenses related to supporting and hosting digital product offerings. These expenses include personnel and related expenses for our customer support team, including salaries, benefits, incentive compensation, and stock-based compensation, third-party service provider expenses such as advertising, data center and networking expenses, depreciation expense associated with our property and equipment, amortization of developed technology, amortization of capitalized website development and allocated overhead expenses. The Company allocates overhead expenses, such as rent and facility expenses, information technology expense, and employee benefit expense, to all departments based on headcount. As such, general overhead expenses are reflected in cost of revenue and each operating expense category.

Wholesale Cost of Revenue

Wholesale cost of revenue includes expenses related to supporting the facilitation of the purchase and sale of vehicles between dealers, the sale by CarOffer to dealers of vehicles that it acquires at other marketplaces, and net losses on vehicles related to guarantees offered to dealers. These expenses include vehicle transportation and inspection expenses, personnel and related expenses for employees directly involved in the fulfillment and support of transactions, including salaries, benefits, incentive compensation and stock-based compensation, third-party service provider expenses, amortization of developed technology, amortization of capitalized website development and allocated overhead expenses.

Product Cost of Revenue

Product cost of revenue includes expenses related to vehicles sold to dealers that CarOffer acquires directly from consumers and in limited situations across all CarOffer transactions, in which CarOffer acquires the vehicle via arbitration. These expenses include expenses for vehicles in which CarOffer controls the vehicle and therefore acts as a principal in the transaction.

Operating Expenses

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel and related expenses for our sales and marketing team, including salaries, benefits, incentive compensation, commissions, and stock-based compensation; expenses associated with consumer marketing, such as traffic acquisition, brand building, and public relations activities; expenses associated with dealer marketing, such as content marketing, customer and promotional events, and industry events; amortization of hosting arrangements; and allocated overhead expenses. A portion of our commissions that are related to obtaining a new contract are capitalized and amortized over the estimated benefit period of customer relationships. All other sales and marketing expenses are expensed as incurred. We expect sales and marketing expenses to fluctuate from quarter to quarter as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the macroeconomic and competitive landscapes affecting our existing dealers, consumer audience and brand awareness, which will impact our annual results of operations.

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Product, Technology, and Development

Product, technology, and development expenses, consist primarily of personnel and related expenses for our research and development team, including salaries, benefits, incentive compensation, stock-based compensation and allocated overhead expense. Other than website development and internal-use software expenses, research and development expenses are expensed as incurred. We expect product, technology, and development expenses to increase as we invest in additional engineering resourcing to develop new solutions and make improvements to our existing platform.

General and Administrative

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of personnel and related expenses for our executive, finance, legal, people & talent, and administrative teams, including salaries, benefits, incentive compensation, and stock-based compensation, in addition to the expenses associated with professional fees for external legal, accounting and other consulting services, insurance premiums, payment processing and billing expenses, and allocated overhead expenses. General and administrative expenses are expensed as incurred. We expect general and administrative expenses to increase as we continue to scale our business.

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization expenses consist of depreciation on property and equipment and amortization of intangible assets and internal-use software.

Other Income, Net

Other income, net consists primarily of interest income earned on our cash, cash equivalents, and investments, and net foreign exchange gains and losses.

Provision for Income Taxes

We are subject to federal and state income taxes in the United States and taxes in foreign jurisdictions in which we operate. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, we have recognized a provision for income taxes as a result of our consolidated taxable income position. We recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities based on temporary differences between the financial reporting and income tax bases of assets and liabilities using statutory rates. We regularly assess the need to record a valuation allowance against net deferred tax assets if, based upon the available evidence, it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, our valuation allowances against our net deferred tax assets were both immaterial.

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Results of Operations

For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, our consolidated income statements are as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

Revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketplace

 

$

636,942

 

 

$

551,451

 

Wholesale

 

 

195,127

 

 

 

 

Product

 

 

119,304

 

 

 

 

Total revenue

 

 

951,373

 

 

 

551,451

 

Cost of revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketplace

 

 

47,689

 

 

 

42,706

 

Wholesale

 

 

127,679

 

 

 

 

Product

 

 

118,647

 

 

 

 

Total cost of revenue

 

 

294,015

 

 

 

42,706

 

Gross profit

 

 

657,358

 

 

 

508,745

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

290,574

 

 

 

256,979

 

Product, technology, and development

 

 

106,423

 

 

 

85,726

 

General and administrative

 

 

97,678

 

 

 

62,166

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

14,415

 

 

 

6,118

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

509,090

 

 

 

410,989

 

Income from operations

 

 

148,268

 

 

 

97,756

 

Other income, net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest income

 

 

120

 

 

 

1,075

 

Other income, net

 

 

972

 

 

 

279

 

Total other income, net

 

 

1,092

 

 

 

1,354

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

149,360

 

 

 

99,110

 

Provision for income taxes

 

 

38,987

 

 

 

21,557

 

Consolidated net income

 

 

110,373

 

 

 

77,553

 

Net income attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest

 

 

1,129

 

 

 

 

Net income attributable to CarGurus, Inc.

 

$

109,244

 

 

$

77,553

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

 

(dollars in thousands)

 

Additional Financial Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

United States

 

$

909,033

 

 

$

519,835

 

International

 

 

42,340

 

 

 

31,616

 

Total

 

$

951,373

 

 

$

551,451

 

Income (Loss) from Operations

 

 

 

 

 

 

United States

 

$

158,532

 

 

$

120,836

 

International

 

 

(10,264

)

 

 

(23,080

)

Total

 

$

148,268

 

 

$

97,756

 

 

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For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, our consolidated income statements as a percentage of revenue are as follows (amounts may not sum due to rounding):

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketplace

 

 

67

%

 

 

100

%

Wholesale

 

 

21

 

 

 

 

Product

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

Total revenue

 

 

100

 

 

 

100

 

Cost of revenue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketplace

 

 

5

 

 

 

8

 

Wholesale

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

Product

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

Total cost of revenue

 

 

31

 

 

 

8

 

Gross profit

 

 

69

 

 

 

92

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales and marketing

 

 

31

 

 

 

47

 

Product, technology, and development

 

 

11

 

 

 

16

 

General and administrative

 

 

10

 

 

 

11

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

2