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Consumers Buying a New Car Online Will Jump 75% This Year, Study Says

September 18, 2000|JOHN O'DELL

The number of new cars sold through online buying services will jump almost 75% this year as more and more auto shoppers turn to the Internet, according to a new study by automotive marketing specialist J.D. Power & Associates.

Although online sales are still only a small part of the overall car market, online services accounted for 4.7% of new vehicle sales in the first three months of this year, up from 2.7% in 1999, according to Power's 2000 New Autoshopper.com Study.

That's a pace of about 53,000 new cars sold through online services each month, said Chris Denove, head of automotive retailing research and consulting at Agoura Hills-based J.D. Power.

Among buying services, Irvine-based Autobytel.com, one of the online auto industry's pioneers, is the most popular, accounting for almost a quarter of all online sales, the study shows.

Microsoft's CarPoint is second and CarsDirect.com third, according to the study.

The study also found that the percentage of auto shoppers who use the Internet for information gathering continues to grow, hitting 54% this year versus 40% in 1999.

"To sustain growth, the industry will need to improve the content of Web sites in order to attract fence-sitters who already have Internet access but choose to stay offline while vehicle shopping," he said.

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