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The Cobalt Group's MotorPlace Auto Exchange Launches FleetDirect

February 11, 2002

MotorPlace Auto Exchange, the wholesale used-vehicle division of The Cobalt Group, on Feb. 11 announced the launch of its new fleet vehicle sales unit, FleetDirect.

With FleetDirect, MotorPlace Auto Exchange says it has substantially expanded its vehicle inventory, giving dealers and other wholesale vehicle buyers electronic access to thousands of fleet vehicles throughout the country.

The company says it is extending its online exchange and customer service to more effectively match buyers and sellers of wholesale fleet vehicles and reduce inefficiencies and costs associated with remarketing and purchasing these vehicles.

"We found there is a strong demand for fleet vehicles among buyers using MotorPlace Auto Exchange," said Jeff Danford, vice president and general manager of Cobalt's MotorPlace Auto Exchange. "With FleetDirect, we are providing valuable new benefits to dealers who want to buy eight or more units of the same make and model and sellers such as rental car companies and automotive manufacturers who up until this point have not had an efficient way to reach these buyers."

FleetDirect offers fleet vehicle sellers a convenient way to manage their fleet business and remarket their vehicles to Cobalt's extensive network of 12,000 dealers throughout North America. By reaching a broad national market without transporting the vehicles to auction, FleetDirect brings efficiencies and increased profits to fleet vehicle transactions by significantly reducing remarketing costs and accelerating the sales cycle.

"MotorPlace Auto Exchange's FleetDirect offers an excellent way for me to manage my fleet vehicle inventory," said Barry Schneble, vice president, Budget Rent A Car franchisee, Aspen and Vail, Colo. "FleetDirect helps me maintain the right mix of vehicles conveniently and at a compelling value. The service allows me to track market conditions on a day-to-day basis and conduct transactions at a considerable cost savings without leaving my business."

FleetDirect also expands MotorPlace Auto Exchange's reach to include fleet owners from franchised and independent dealerships, car rental companies, corporations, and government entities. These buyers can browse and purchase fleet vehicles at MotorPlace.com or contact MotorPlace Auto Exchange customer relationship managers to locate and purchase specific fleet vehicles.

To manage this new line of business, MotorPlace Auto Exchange has hired automotive industry veteran Michael Szarwark, Jr. Szarwark brings 14 years of automotive rental and leasing experience to MotorPlace Auto Exchange. Szarwark is responsible for all aspects of FleetDirect, including developing relationships with fleet vehicle buyers and sellers including rental car companies and automotive manufacturers, dealer groups and individual dealers.

Prior to joining MotorPlace Auto Exchange, Szarwark held management positions with Thrifty Car Rental, Budget Rent A Car, Premier Car Rental, and Mayfair Rent-A-Car and Leasing. Szarwark reports to Jeff Danford, vice president and general manager of MotorPlace Auto Exchange.

To buy or sell vehicles through MotorPlace Auto Exchange, dealers and wholesalers can register for free and with no obligation at www.MotorPlace.com, by calling (800) 406-4988, or by e-mailing [email protected].

About The Cobalt Group

The Cobalt Group works exclusively in the automotive retail market to help manufacturers and dealers develop integrated e-business programs by leveraging technology, services and domain knowledge.

Cobalt offers products and services developed specifically for the automotive marketplace including enterprise software for manufacturers and dealers; customer relationship management (CRM) software applications; online automotive commerce applications; an OEM parts locating and marketing service; dealership e-business best practices training, consulting, and process compliance analysis; and wholesale used-vehicle remarketing services.

Cobalt operates a dealer network including 12,000 franchised dealers and 70 of the 100 largest dealer groups. Cobalt is the only software technology provider ever endorsed by 14 manufacturers and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

With headquarters in Seattle, Wash., Cobalt has offices in five U.S. cities, and a field sales and services force in 30 states, including all major U.S. metropolitan sales areas (MSAs).

For more information, visit www.cobaltgroup.com or call (800) 909-8244.

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