Irvine, Calif.— Autobytel Inc., a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, and Van Tuyl, the nation's largest privately owned automotive dealership group, today announced that the companies have signed an agreement to create a national online customer referral program from Autobytel to VT/AIG's dealerships. The marketing agreement will encompass Van Tuyl's franchises in 10 states.

“This relationship creates one of the industry's largest automotive marketing channels,” said Autobytel Inc. president and CEO Jim Riesenbach. “Van Tuyl is considered one of the premier automotive operations in the world. We're excited that a top-tier Fortune 500 company recognizes the benefits of Autobytel's proven online marketing expertise.”

In addition to receiving Purchase Requests for new and used cars and trucks from Autobytel's vast audience of monthly Web car buyers, VT/AIG dealerships will benefit from Autobytel's proprietary seven-step Quality Verification System(SM), one of the industry's most rigorous programs to verify the purchase-intent of online customers and a critical component in the conversion ratio of's leads which have the highest closing ratio among large new-car lead services. Autobytel also provides members of its dealer network with personalized on site Internet sales training.

“We understand that today's online customers are serious about buying,” said Van Tuyl director of customer retention and marketing Cassie Broemmer. “Autobytel is known for not only providing large numbers of customers but, more importantly, for bringing dealers in-market, ready-to-buy car and truck shoppers. We expect positive results from our new marketing alliance with Autobytel.”