Irvine, CA --- July 14, 2009 --- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL) today announced a new agreement with Kelley Blue Book to further extend the reach of its thousands of member dealers into the rapidly growing used car market, the sales of which are projected to outnumber new auto sales by 4-to-1 in 2009.1 Under the new arrangement with Kelley Blue Book, the used-vehicle inventory of dealers participating in Autobytel’s used car program may be listed in The Trusted Marketplace at www.kbb.com, which attracts millions of used car shoppers every month.
Dealers that subscribe to Autobytel’s Used Car Program will now have access to an even greater range of active, in-market vehicle shoppers through Kelley Blue Book’s new online vehicle classified shopping experience, The Trusted Marketplace on the kbb.com Web site, which attracts 12 million in-market vehicle shoppers each month. This, in combination with a steady flow of high-quality used-car customers from Autobytel’s family of Web sites and other premium sites, provides Autobytel member dealers with one of the industry’s richest streams of motivated used-car buyers at a time when more and more car buyers are opting for a used vehicle.
“Kelley Blue Book is perhaps the most recognized and revered consumer brand in the automotive market, and has long been a major force in the used car arena,” said Autobytel EVP and COO Mark Garms. “With 50 percent of car-buyers planning to purchase a used vehicle2 in what has become a very challenging new car sales market, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to connect Autobytel’s member dealers with Kelley Blue Book’s highly-qualified used-car buyers --- and, in a climate of constrained marketing budgets, to be able to provide this value-add to our member dealers on a pay-for-performance basis*.”
The Trusted Marketplace from Kelley Blue Book presents vehicles that match consumers’ desired characteristics, providing consumers an unparalleled experience in finding their next car. The Trusted Marketplace’s search function reveals the ‘Best Match’ - a list of cars that most closely reflect a shopper’s search criteria and applied intelligence gained from millions of customer queries and transactions. Additionally, Kelley Blue Book integrates its best-in-class online vehicle research with dealers’ inventory listings to allow consumers to confidently find specific vehicles of interest and help dealers to efficiently sell those selected vehicles to serious, in-market shoppers.
“Autobytel’s network of thousands of Internet savvy dealers and their diverse inventories of top-notch used vehicles will be a welcome addition to The Trusted Marketplace,” said Mike Romano, senior vice president of dealer strategy for Kelley Blue Book. “The Trusted Marketplace is designed to help our millions of used car visitors quickly and easily find their perfect used vehicle and then have the best possible purchasing experience. By partnering with Autobytel, we can provide shoppers more inventory and dealers to help them find their next car.”
Autobytel’s performance-based Used Car Program provides a high level of visibility for dealer inventory with the millions of used car shoppers searching for vehicles online every month at Autobytel’s network of sites and partner brands. Featuring pay-per-performance pricing* and free inventory listings the Autobytel Used Car Program is focused on cost-effective, and efficient customer generation for its member dealers. The program, which includes the company’s highly successful lead notification program, Rapid Responsesm, also provides pay-for-performance phone leads and includes a trackable toll-free phone number on each vehicle listing that allows shoppers to phone the dealership directly, as well as call recordings and automatic de-duplication.
*Member dealers pay only for the online and phone leads they receive. Not available in all states.
(1) Used-vehicle sales nationwide are expected to increase to 40 million this year, up 10 percent over credit-tight 2008, one of the worst used-car years since 1991, according to CNW Marketing Research of Bandon, Ore. With new auto sales projected to peak at 10.1 million in 2008, used car and truck sales will outnumber them 4-to-1.
(2) Of those consumers planning to buy in next 6 months—40% planned to buy new, 50% used, and 10% were undecided. (Conference Board Survey 1.09)
Autobytel Inc. (NASDAQ: ABTL) is an automotive marketing services company that assists automotive dealers and manufacturers in the sale of vehicles. By connecting consumers to automotive dealers and manufacturers through internet lead referral programs and on-line advertising, Autobytel provides automotive dealers and manufacturers with opportunities to efficiently market their vehicles to potential customers. Autobytel purchases from third party sites and generates from its owned websites consumer requests for pricing and availability for new and used vehicles, as well as for vehicle financing, and sells these leads primarily to its automotive dealer and manufacturer customers. Leads are purchased from a network of supplier websites, such as Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book and Yahoo!. Autobytel owns consumer-facing automotive websites, including Autobytel.com®, Autoweb.com®, AutoSite.com®, Car.comsm, CarSmart.com®, CarTV.com®, and MyRide.com®, that provide consumers with information and tools to aid them with their automotive decisions. In addition to advertising opportunities on its owned websites, Autobytel provides advertising opportunities for automotive manufacturers and other automotive advertisers through the company’s marketing network, which includes the automotive sections of third party co-branded websites operated by Autobytel, such as ESPN.com and the Autobytel AutoReach advertising network.
About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com)
Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, has provided vehicle buyers and sellers with the new and used vehicle information they need to accomplish their goals with confidence. The company’s top-rated Web site, www.kbb.com, provides the most up-to-date pricing and values, including the New Car Blue Book® Value, which reveals what people actually are paying for new cars. The company also reports vehicle pricing and values via products and services, including software products and the famous Blue Book® Official Guide. According to the C.A. Walker Research Solutions, Inc. – 2008 Spring Automotive Web Site Usefulness Study, kbb.com is the most useful automotive information Web site among new and used vehicle shoppers, and half of online vehicle shoppers visit kbb.com. Kbb.com is a leading provider of new car prices, car reviews and news, used car blue book values, auto classifieds and car dealer locations. No other medium reaches more in-market vehicle shoppers than kbb.com.
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