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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Automotive Web Site Traffic Still Strong

October 11, 2002

While

traffic to independent automotive Web sites by new-vehicle buyers

remains high, manufacturer and dealer sites are receiving more

attention from online shoppers, according to the J.D. Power and

Associates 2002 New Autoshopper.com Study released Oct. 11.

Independent, third-party Web sites continue to lead the automotive

Internet marketplace, with 82 percent of automotive Internet users

visiting such sites compared to 83 percent in 2001. However, while

traffic at independent sites has leveled off, more consumers than ever

before are visiting manufacturer and dealer sites. The study, now in

its fifth year, finds that 76 percent of automotive Internet users

visited a manufacturer Web site in 2002, compared to 73 percent a year

ago. Traffic to dealer sites improved to 48 percent, up from 46

percent in 2001, representing a 55 percent increase since 1999.

"Over the past five years, the Internet has been a catalyst for

change in the automotive shopping process," said Scott Weitzman,

senior director of automotive Internet research at J.D. Power and

Associates. "What we're seeing today are consumers that are more

empowered than ever before and a dealer body more receptive and

responsive to them."

Of the 60 percent of new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet while

shopping, 88 percent visit automotive Web sites before arriving at a

dealership for a test drive. The average automotive Internet user

visits seven Web sites while shopping for a new vehicle and starts the

online shopping process nearly two months before they purchase.

Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) is the most frequently visited

automotive site for the fifth consecutive year. Edmunds.com is rated

as the most useful automotive Web site for the second year in a row.

Autobytel.com continues to generate more online sales than any other

site, but has lost some ground to manufacturer sites such as GM

BuyPower.com.

"The clear opportunity for providers is to turn online researchers

into online buyers," said Weitzman. "With just 4 percent of

new-vehicle buyers currently using the Internet as a purchasing tool,

there is tremendous room for growth for online buying services that

provide customers with the detailed features they're looking for."

The 2002 New Autoshopper.com study analyzes Internet behavior

among new-vehicle buyers. The study is based on responses from 27,383

consumers who purchased a new vehicle in 2002.

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and

Associates is a global marketing information services firm whose

quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from

millions of consumers annually.

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