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Internet Changing the Way Consumers Buy Cars

February 3, 2003

Consumers have embraced the Web to do research before buying a car, and to a far lesser extent, contacting dealers by e-mail and making offers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The phenomenon is a major topic of discussion at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual convention, which concludes Feb. 4 in San Francisco.

Once fearful of the Web, car dealers now embrace the medium as a way to reach customers. This U-turn has followed some big changes in the online auto industry over the past few years, the Chronicle said.

Traditional dealers now find themselves at the top of the food chain, with Web sites funneling them business instead of stealing it. The automotive Internet scene consists of a diversity of Web sites, beyond those simply of the car manufacturers and dealers. They offer free car-shopping advice, equipment specifications and price guides. They also feature referral services that connect shoppers with dealers, the Chronicle reported.

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