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CarGurus Top-Rated Dealer: What is it and how can you earn it?

At CarGurus, we believe that transparency in car shopping makes for an easier and more pleasant transaction for shoppers and dealers. Online reviews play a crucial role in giving shoppers the transparency they crave, helping them choose one dealership over another. But for dealers, a lot goes into converting a shopper into a satisfied buyer who leaves a five-star review—open and honest communication, timely responses, and exceptional customer service are just the beginning.

We created the CarGurus Top-Rated Dealer award to celebrate and honor the dealers nationwide who put customer satisfaction above everything else, day in and day out. Below, you’ll find the lowdown on the annual award.

What are the CarGurus Top-Rated Dealer awards?

Established in 2017, the CarGurus Top-Rated Dealer awards recognize the dealers who go above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service. The awards are based on hundreds of thousands of reviews from car shoppers around the country and are given annually to a select group of car dealers with the highest average dealer ratings on CarGurus.

How do I earn a Top-Rated Dealer award?

To qualify for the prestigious award, dealers must meet several criteria, most importantly:

  • Maintain an overall average dealer rating of 4.5 or higher*
  • Have a minimum of four verified reviews collected within the year
  • Have active inventory on CarGurus
  • …and additional factors determined by our content integrity team

The awards are announced in March each year, which means that dealers must satisfy the above criteria between January and December of the previous year and have active inventory as of December 31st. For example, the 2022 Top-Rated Dealer award recognizes the dealers who met all the award criteria between January and December 31st of 2021.

What is the Gold Award?

Gold Award winners are the best of the best in the industry. This elite group is made up of dealers who have earned Top-Rated Dealer status for at least five years in a row.

What do I get as a Top-Rated Dealer?

The Top-Rated Dealer award is a great way for dealers to set themselves apart from their competition. That’s why we give winners lots of ways to showcase their award—both in-store and online. Top-Rated Dealers receive:

  • A promotional kit to help them publicize their achievement. Customers on paid listings packages automatically receive a deluxe package with information on claiming the latest edition Top-Rated Dealer plaque, plus new window clings, email, social media, and press release templates, and more.
  • A Top-Rated Dealer digital badge to display on their own dealership website.
  • Exclusive access to additional items like banners, table tents, flags, and more.
  • An advantage on CarGurus: dealers with a 4-star or better average rating receive more than 60% more connections than dealers with a 1-star average rating.**

Tips for earning the Top-Rated Dealer award every year

There’s a lot you can do to ensure your dealership qualifies for the Top-Rated Dealer award year after year. Use our checklist for collecting more reviews here and check out the tips below:

  • Encourage buyers to leave reviews. Let customers know they’ll receive an invitation to review their dealership on CarGurus after their visit and that you’d appreciate their feedback. Reviews from happy, satisfied customers are powerful tools for influencing potential buyers—and get you one step closer to earning the Top-Rated Dealer award.
  • Respond to reviews. Proactively responding to reviews shows that you care about your customers’ experiences. Plus, according to a Harvard Business Review study, responding to all customer reviews, both positive and negative, typically results in an overall higher rating.
  • Collect only authentic customer reviews. We take the integrity of our reviews very seriously and have a variety of systems in place to monitor for and prevent fraud. Any evidence of fraud could lead to a potential negative impact on their online reputation.

Want more information on the importance of reputation management, download our ebook The Art of Online Reputation Management.

For more on how reviews on CarGurus work, review the guidelines here.

*Though they are still available to users, we do not include reviews older than two years when calculating a dealer’s overall rating.

**CarGurus data, Q4 2021