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Report: Automotive Website Traffic Still Strong

While traffic to independent automotive Websites 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.

Independent, third-party Websites 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 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 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.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information on this report, click here.

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