Autobytel Announces Most Requested Vehicles in Special Mid-Year “Consumer Choice” Report
Fuel-Friendly Imports Dominate, but Employee Discount Generates Bounce for GM Car Shoppers Show Hot Interest in Online “Buzzmobiles,” Hummer H3 and Pontiac Solstice RoadsterIrvine, CA - August 3, 2005 – Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), a leading automotive marketing services company, has published a special mid-year Consumer Choice report, providing a snapshot of its online car shoppers’ vehicle choices during the first half of 2005. The report is based on online vehicle Purchase Request data, amassed by Autobytel from January through June. Overall, Autobytel customers preferred fuel-friendly imports, particularly Asian brands, to domestic autos. However, GM showed a significant bounce as a result of its much publicized “employee discount” promotion, which was reflected in significantly higher page views at Autobytel websites in June versus May. Two of GM’s new vehicles, the Hummer H3 and the yet-to-be-released Pontiac Solstice roadster, generated particularly strong Purchase Request activity on Autobytel websites.
Autobytel Car Shoppers Appear More Fuel-Focused than Offline Buyers. Interest in Fuel-Efficient Cars Spiked in March
Autobytel shoppers cited fuel-efficiency as their #1 car buying consideration in a recent online poll, and that claim is supported by a look at Autobytel’s top-15 most requested vehicles for the first six months of ‘05. While 7 of the top 15 best-selling vehicles in America during the first half of the year were either trucks or truck-based SUVs, no trucks or truck-based SUVs made Autobytel’s top-15 most requested vehicles list. (Three SUVs did make the list but they were smaller, car-based Japanese models that get at least 20 mpg.) Requests for minivans – which are typically more fuel-efficient than SUVs – continued to increase.
Consumer Choice Highlights – Fuel-friendly imports dominate
· Only two domestic vehicles, the Ford Mustang and Chrysler 300, were among the top-15 requested vehicles overall.
· Domestics dominated the truck category, but imports made gains. Toyota Tacoma was second to Ford F150.
· Eight of the top-10 most requested SUVs were imports.
· Requests for minivans grew 6%, mirroring a 5% drop-off for SUVs.
· The top-10 most requested luxury vehicles were all imports.
New "Buzzmobiles" Cause Upswing in Purchase Requests for GM
The smaller, more fuel efficient Hummer H3, dubbed a "Buzzmobile" by Autobytel's online editors, has been an instant hit, becoming the most requested SUV on Autobytel websites in June, its first month on the market. The H3’s strong popularity among car shoppers fueled a 128% increase in first-half Hummer Purchase Requests, tops among all vehicle brands on Autobytel sites. The Pontiac Solstice, another "Buzzmobile," has generated considerable online activity since April, even though the roadster is not expected to be available until September. The Solstice, in fact, garnered nearly as many Purchase Requests as Toyota's popular Scion tC in June. Overall, Purchase Requests for GM vehicles grew nearly 40% in June, during which time more than half of all GM models clocked 30%-plus gains in Purchase Requests on Autobytel sites.
About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, data and CRM (customer relationship management) products and programs. The Company owns and operates the automotive websites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com, Car.com, AutoSite.com, Autoahorros.com, and CarTV.com, as well as AIC (Automotive Information Center), a trusted industry source of automotive marketing data and technology for over 20 years. Autobytel is also a leader in dealership lead management and CRM solutions and owns and operates AVV, Inc., a top provider of dealership CRM and sales management products, and Retention Performance Marketing, Inc., (RPM®), which powers dealerships with cutting-edge customer loyalty and retention marketing programs. Autobytel was the most visited new car buying and research destination in 2004, reaching millions of car shoppers as they made their vehicle buying decisions. Autobytel Inc. is the only company to achieve top rankings for both its lead management and lead generation services among the nation's top 100 Internet dealers.
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