Internet car-shopping service Autobytel.com Inc. said Tuesday its affiliated dealers generated more than $3.4 billion in sales this quarter, up 26% from the first quarter last year.
The Irvine company couldn't say how much revenue it would receive from the transactions, but said its Autobytel.com and CarSmart.com Web sites are expected to attract more than 3 million users this quarter.
About 2 million people used online information to shop for vehicles in 1998, and by 2003, almost 8 million new-vehicle purchases will be influenced by the Internet, according to Forrester Research Inc. Forrester expects online sales of new vehicles to rise to 500,000 in 2003 from about 15,000 last year.
Direct sales through AutobytelDirect, which was started in January and lets users pick, finance and take delivery of a car or truck without contacting a dealership, and CarSmart.com's Personal Shopper have exceeded $8.5 million, said Autobytel.com President Mark Lorimer.
The stock, which has lost more than 41% of its value this year, closed at $8.94, up 56 cents a share, in Nasdaq trading.