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The Cobalt Group Announces Launch of Nitra 2.0

January 30, 2003

The Cobalt Group announced the launch of Nitra™ 2.0, an upgrade to its e-business platform for the automobile retail industry. Nitra 2.0 adds new features, delivers even more powerful online results, drives more profit to every part of a dealer's business, and extends new applications to automobile manufacturers (OEMs) and dealers groups, according to the company.

"In its first year on the market, Nitra has quickly become the industry standard due to its power, flexibility, ease of use and control. The Nitra platform has already been adopted by 2,500 dealers and eight manufacturer clients," said Mike Martinez, The Cobalt Group's vice president of marketing. "With Nitra 2.0, Cobalt is adding a number of new features that give our dealer customers more effective online marketing tools that are even easier to use than before, and we are also introducing powerful, scalable applications specifically geared to automobile manufacturers and dealer groups."

According to the company, the new Brand Control module of Nitra 2.0 makes it possible for a large enterprise, such as an OEM or dealer group, to closely manage their online brand on Web sites used by their dealers as a part of an OEM e-business program. This is accomplished by establishing business rules around branding guidelines that are then automatically administered by the system. Nitra preserves brand integrity and leverages the OEM's marketing investment through consistent presentation across OEM e-business programs, while giving dealers marketing flexibility by giving dealers control over specific content areas of the Web site.

In addition, the company says that for dealer groups, Nitra 2.0 delivers versatility, control and presentation options for every Web site in a dealer group family, while aggregating new and used vehicle inventory on a consolidated dealer group portal, all while still preserving compliance with manufacturer guidelines. Cobalt Nitra Dealer Group Portal extends Cobalt's Nitra platform to the entire dealer group, offering brand control, marketing capabilities, and OEM-compliant sites for each franchise. The dealer group portal aggregates new and used vehicle inventory to represent and leverage all of the brands a dealer group sells, and serves as the gateway to all franchise sites within the dealer group. The dealer group can choose from hundreds of design combinations—all customizable with the dealer group's branding to preserve the integrity of the their branding while giving franchises the flexibility to project their own individual identity.

The company says Nitra 2.0 helps keep content fresh and drive users deeper into dealer Web sites with more user-friendly content management and design tools. New features include improvements to Website Manager that make it even easier for dealers to make updates to their sites. Built-in image-optimizing software automatically ensures that images are professionally displayed and are optimized to deliver a speedy online experience.

Nitra technology is available in packages tailored to support dealers and dealer groups, and advanced package options are also available that build on the Nitra foundation to deliver even more powerful online results. Cobalt Web site packages have received the exclusive endorsement of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) four years in a row, and Nitra Web site packages have been endorsed for the two years since Nitra's release. To sign up for Nitra, or for more information, contact Cobalt at 800-909-9244 or e-mail sales@cobaltgroup.com.

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 its technology, range of services and domain knowledge.

Cobalt offers a range of 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; OEM parts locating and marketing service; and dealership e-business best practices training, consulting, and process compliance analysis.

With headquarters in Seattle, Wash., Cobalt has offices in several major 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, please visit www.cobaltgroup.com or call 800-909-8244.

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