Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Autobytel Announces Ad Network, Highlights MyRide.com Trends

SAN FRANCISCO and IRVINE, Calif. — Autobytel recently introduced AutoReach Ad Network, an advertising network of third-party Web sites designed to reach in-market vehicle shoppers.

Members of the AutoReach Ad Network include such sites as Overstock.com, TheTruthAboutCars.com, ClassicCars.com, Automobile.com, RightAutos.com, Vast.com and AutoMall.com.

"With the Internet well on its way to becoming the second-largest medium for automotive advertisers, we believe the AutoReach Ad Network provides industry marketers with an attractive option for making their advertising dollars go further," explained Jim Riesenbach, president and chief executive officer of Autobytel.

"By strategically targeting ads and promotions to automotive sites consumers visit often, the AutoReach Ad Network can help automotive advertisers reach qualified customers in the most cost-efficient way," Riesenbach added.

Officials explained that the AutoReach Ad Network offers advertising opportunities for Web site publishers but also provides advertising inventory for manufacturers who want to target in-market consumers.

AutoReach also monitors and manages each ad's performance to gage return on investment.

"As an innovator of the automotive Internet, Autobytel has a keen perspective on where the in-market automotive consumer is going online," noted Adrian Lee, vice president of business development at Automobile.com.

"We chose to join the AutoReach Ad Network because the program offers a cost-effective way for us to increase our ad revenue and work with larger advertisers without getting lost in the shuffle," Lee continued. "Autobytel's new ad network is committed to offering automotive consumers relevant advertising, as well as providing automotive advertisers with high quality customers for their products."

Added Riesenbach: "Automotive publishers are consistently looking to increase revenue on their sites with quality advertisers, but sales and ad operations resources are difficult to develop from scratch."

"By participating in the network, these complexities are eliminated for the automotive publishers as they bridge the challenges of building a comprehensive advertising program," Riesenbach continued.

Consumer Choice Awards Announced

Moving on, winners of the 2008 Autobytel/MyRide.com Consumer Choice Awards were announced at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in San Francisco last week.

According to the company, the awards recognize the vehicles most requested by Autobytel's online shoppers during the past year.

Winners of the Consumer Choice Awards were as follows:

Top Overall Most Requested New Vehicle - Toyota Camry

—Most Requested Truck - Dodge Ram

—Most Requested New Passenger Car - Toyota Camry

—Most Requested New SUV - Toyota RAV4

—Most Requested New Luxury Car - BMW 3 Series

—Most Requested New Minivan - Honda Odyssey

The Top 10 list of Overall Most Requested Vehicles for 2007 includes:

1. Toyota Camry

2. Honda Civic

3. Honda Accord

4. Mini Cooper

5. Nissan Altima

6. Toyota Corolla

7. Toyota Prius

8. Toyota RAV4

9. Honda CR-V

10. BMW 3-Series

"This year's Top 10 list for Most Requested vehicles underscores an increasing interest in fuel efficiency among online new-vehicle shoppers," officials commented. "While that's nothing new, it shows that fuel economy as an online purchase hot button has staying power."

"As gas prices continue to soar, and offline car shoppers continue to buy trucks in record numbers, Autobytel's online car shoppers are more frequently opting for fuel-efficient vehicles, even at the expense of vehicle size and capability," they continued. "Although accounting for over half of total U.S. sales in 2007, trucks and SUVs are notably absent at the top of Autobytel's Most Requested List."

Officials also anticipated further trends for 2008.

"Despite not making the list in 2007, trucks and especially SUVs/Crossovers are a category to watch more closely in '08," they pointed out. "General Motors' breakthrough two-mode hybrid technology and new line up of crossover vehicles like the Buick Enclave and new Chevrolet Traverse will give the automaker a significant fuel economy platform, especially when it comes to large SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe Two-Mode Hybrid."

"In addition, Ford and Toyota, with modestly redesigned hybrid versions of their SUVs hitting showrooms, may help breathe some life into the flagging category as fuel-efficient, eco-friendly hybrids," they continued.

"And with the impressive slate of better-designed, more cutting-edge and fuel-efficient vehicles coming from the Big Three in '08, the overwhelming dominance of import brands in Autobytel's 2007 Consumer Choice report, may see a domestic shakeup in 2008," they concluded.


Moving on, MyRide.com also announced its most-researched vehicle, which was the Honda Civic.

"Given these turbulent economic times, $3.00-plus gas prices and Honda aggressively marketing themselves of late as ‘the most fuel efficient car company in America,' it's no wonder Honda's affordable, fuel-conscious sedan is seeing action at MyRide.com," officials commented.

Another trend the company pointed out is that most consumers visit MyRide.com, the first thing most do is search for a used vehicle.

While new vehicle sales in 2007 hit their lowest level since 1998, used sales have been running strong, officials noted. In fact, used sales were up 6.4 percent in December 2007 over the previous year, according to research.

Considering recent offline sales trends and news regarding the economy, the company noted it makes sense that more and more consumers are considering a used vehicle for their next purchase.

MyRide.com also announced the top-five accessory searches on MyRide.com, and coming in first was exhaust systems.

MyRide.com conducted a poll of online consumers and found that 71 percent typically research and shop for accessories online, either exclusively or in combination with visits to local retailers."

Recent studies show that 51 million Internet users search online for auto parts each year, with tires and accessories being the most popular search items. At MyRide.com, exhaust systems were followed by car alarms, performance parts, auto appearance accessories and tinted windows.

Additionally, MyRide.com noted its most viewed vehicle review on the site, which was Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Concept

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