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New Study Shows Auto Dealers How to Keep Online Used Car Shoppers
Prices, Mileage, Options, and Pictures are Vital

CINCINNATI-November 7, 2000-Online used car shoppers are likely to leave an automobile dealer's Web site if they cannot easily find price, mileage, options and accessories, and pictures of used vehicles, according to new research released today by Friedman-Swift Associates, a Cincinnati-based market research firm, and The Cobalt Group (NASDAQ: CBLT), a leading provider of e-business products and services to the automotive industry.

The study indicates that auto dealers risk losing online used car shoppers in four ways:

  • By not listing prices: 85 percent of used car shoppers say they would leave a dealer's site if prices of used vehicles in inventory were not listed.
  • By not identifying mileage of used vehicles: 82 percent would leave if a dealership did not list a used vehicle's mileage.
  • By not listing options and accessories: 75 percent would leave if used vehicles' options and accessories were not listed
  • By not showing pictures: 64 percent of used car shoppers would leave if they did not see a picture of a used vehicle they were interested in.

"The supporting price information used car shoppers want most to see includes Kelley Blue Book prices (74 percent) and N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide prices (65 percent)," said Judy George, senior vice president of Friedman-Swift. "If used car shoppers can find all this information at a dealer's Web site, they'll be less likely to shop elsewhere." Seventy percent of used car shoppers wanted the ability to get an online price quote from a dealer as well, while 66% expressed interest in special prices for Internet shoppers.

"This research confirms a long held Cobalt belief: By providing detailed vehicle information and posting prices for both new and pre-owned vehicles, automotive dealers minimize the chance of losing customers to another dealership. Another benefit of this practice is that better informed customers are easier to do business with because they don't start out negotiations with bad price information," said John Holt, president and CEO of The Cobalt Group. "A Web site is an online extension of a physical dealership. Dealers should provide complete information about vehicles, just as they would in the showroom, to help consumers make their purchase decision."

Friedman-Swift's research was based on interviews with 894 online used car shoppers who visited The Cobalt Group's DealerNet.com car shopping site in June, July and August 2000, and has a margin of error of +/-3.28 percent. Nearly half-47 percent-of the used car shoppers in this study plan to buy a car in the next six months.

ABOUT FRIEDMAN-SWIFT ASSOCIATES

Friedman-Swift Associates, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a leading provider of automotive marketing research to automobile dealers in the United States. Working with auto dealers, manufacturers and advertising agencies since 1979, Friedman-Swift Associates has pioneered proprietary market research that helps dealers understand the needs of both Internet and traditional automotive shoppers.

Friedman-Swift has conducted over 4,000 automotive research studies. The firm's clients include 75 of the top 100 largest automobile dealer groups in the US, and most dealerships who lead in sales performance for each auto manufacturer.

More information about the company can be found at www.friedmanswift.com

ABOUT THE COBALT GROUP

The Cobalt Group (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.com (www.motorplace.com), a business-to-business vertical portal for the automotive industry; DealerNet® (www.dealernet.com), one of the best-known automotive destination sites on the Web; and PartsVoice® (www.partsvoice.com), 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. For more information, please visit The Cobalt Group at www.cobaltgroup.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Judy George
Friedman-Swift Associates
Office: 513-772-9204, ext. 122
Cell: 513-684-1246
judy@friedmanswift.com

Amy Anderson
The Cobalt Group
Office: 206-219-8105
Cell: 206-619-6220
amya@cobaltgroup.com


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