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Shoppers want dealers to show invoice prices online

CINCINNATI - April 3, 2000 - Online shoppers want-and expect-auto dealers to show the invoice prices of new vehicles on their Web sites, according to a survey conducted by Friedman-Swift Associates, a Cincinnati-based automotive market research firm and The Cobalt Group (NASDAQ: CBLT), a leading provider of Internet solutions and business-to-business services to the automotive industry.

More than 75 percent of online shoppers interviewed by Friedman-Swift Associates say it is "very important" for car dealers to show dealer invoice and MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) comparisons on their Web sites. Another 21 percent say this information is "somewhat important" to include on a dealer's site. Only three percent of online car shoppers say that dealer invoice prices are "not at all important."

Friedman-Swift's research also shows that 41 percent of online shoppers are actively searching for dealer invoice information when they visit car dealers' Web sites.

These findings, based on 934 interviews conducted by Friedman-Swift in November and December 1999 with shoppers who visited Cobalt's DealerNet® (, support the National Automobile Dealers Association's recent decision to offer shoppers access to invoice prices on, the car-shopping site NADA plans to launch next month, notes Judy George, senior vice president of Friedman-Swift Associates.

"Internet car customers believe they're entitled to accurate pricing information, and dealers need to meet them halfway to compete and thrive," said John Holt, president and CEO of The Cobalt Group. "Since invoice pricing is easily found on any number of popular Web sites, we encourage dealers to provide it on their own sites to keep customers within their online stores. By stating accurate pricing data and selling value rather than price, dealers can convince online shoppers that the best way to get a good deal is to work directly with America's new car dealers."

"Listing invoice pricing is a clear example of how dealers are embracing the Internet," says NADA Chairman Harold B. Wells. "Dealers have been the definitive source of new car information for a hundred years and we will continue to provide the services and information desired by today's technology-savvy consumer."

Most shoppers participating in Friedman-Swift's study planned to buy a car within six months, with 41 percent intending to buy within two months. The research has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percent.


Since 1979, Friedman-Swift Associates has been a leading provider of retail automotive marketing research. The firm has conducted thousands of custom marketing research studies for automobile dealers, dealer associations, major automobile manufacturers and advertising agencies. Friedman-Swift's clients include 24 of the top 30 megadealer groups in the U.S. and most dealerships that are ranked number one in each vehicle line in Ward's Dealer Business listings.


The Cobalt GroupTM (NASDAQ: CBLT), based in Seattle, is a leading provider of Internet-based products and services for the automotive industry. Through Internet-based application development and hosting, data management, and online referral services, Cobalt helps dealers, dealer groups and automobile manufacturers harness the power of the Internet to realize new efficiencies, win new prospects and better serve their customers.

With approximately 5,200 dealer Web site clients, over 10,000 dealers using its parts locating system, and relationships with 16 automotive manufacturers and more than 50 of the 100 largest dealer groups in the United States, Cobalt is one of the leading technology companies serving the automotive industry. Cobalt operates MotorPlace.comTM (, a business-to-business vertical portal for the automotive industry; DealerNet® (, one of the best-known automotive destination sites on the Web; and PartsVoice® (, a leading OEM auto parts locating and data management service. The Cobalt Group also owns IntegraLink Corporation, the auto industry's premier provider of advanced data extraction and reporting services.

Cobalt offers Web site services that are endorsed by the National Automobile Dealers Association.

More information is available at

Judy George, Friedman-Swift Associates
513-772-9204, ext. 122 (office)
513-417-6666 mobile

Friedman-Swift  |  110 Boggs Lane Suite 200  |  Cincinnati, Ohio 45246  |  513-772-9200