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New Car News: Internet Use by New Car Dealers Climbs to 92 Percent, According to New Survey

MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 10, 2003; The Internet presence of U.S. franchised new car and truck dealers has reached an all-time high this year, according to new survey research from the National Automobile Dealers Association's (NADA) Industry Analysis Division. NADA's annual survey of Internet utilization found that 92 percent of new car and truck dealerships have websites -- up from 91 percent last year and 74 percent in 1999. Of these sites, 99 percent are interactive, with most allowing car shoppers to view stock and MSRPs, fill out finance forms, and schedule sales and service appointments. Many others provide customers the convenience of ordering on-line and linking directly to related financial, insurance and auto sites.

"The survey confirms that new car dealers are increasingly using the Internet to make the car-shopping process more convenient for their customers," said NADA Chief Economist Paul Taylor. "As more consumers organize their daily lives using the Internet, franchised new car dealers have made researching, buying and servicing a car online readily available and easy."

Dealers report their most common website interactions with customers are: responding to requests for price quotes and setting up service and sales appointments.

Of the 8 percent of all dealerships that currently do not have websites, the NADA survey found that nearly half, or 47.3 percent, plan to have an Internet presence within the next six months.

The National Automobile Dealers Association represents more than 19,800 new car and truck dealers, with more than 43,000 separate franchises, both domestic and import.

(Survey Summary Follows) Key Findings of NADA 2003 Internet Utilization Survey Findings

* Dealerships with websites have grown from 47 percent in 1997 to 92 percent in 2003.

* Ninety-nine percent of dealer websites are interactive.

* Sixty-four percent of dealers with a website have completed a sale on the Internet (excluding delivery and payment).

* Services offered by dealership websites include:

View stock -- 92 percent View MSRP -- 77 percent Link to manufacturer website -- 72 percent Schedule service appointments -- 68 percent Schedule sales appointments -- 58 percent