July 29, 2004, 12:00 AM

Car buyers turn to the web for shopping and buying

In May, 19.39 million consumers visited automobile manufacturers’ web sites, up 21% over May last year and 12.4% of all Internet users, comScore reports. More than twice that number—42.97 million consumers—visited automobile resource sites.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Car buyers like the web, according to recent numbers from comScore Networks Inc. In May, 19.39 million consumers visited automobile manufacturers’ web sites, up 21% over May last year and 12.4% of all Internet users, comScore reports. More than twice that number-42.97 million consumers-visited automobile resource sites. 11.8 million users visited both, comScore reports.

Ford Motor Co.’s 12 sites were the most popular manufacturer sites, hosting 6.31 million unique visitors in May. General Motors Corp.’s 13 sites were the next most popular with 4.9 million, then Daimler Chrysler’s seven sites with 4.18 million. The three U.S. manufacturers’ groups of sites included visits to their financing operations.

Following those three were:
Honda, 2.8 million
Toyota, 1.8 million
Nissan, 1.25 million
Yamaha, 1.13 million
BMW, 701,000
Hyundai/KIA, 665,000
Volkswagen/Audi, 652,000

The Big Three’s visitors by brand:
Ford
Ford, 1.39 million
Mazda (two sites), 908,000
Lincoln, 195,000
Land Rover, 131,000
Volvo, 130,000
Mercury, 119,000
GM
Chevrolet, 1.09 million
Pontiac, 531,000
GMC, 421,000
Cadillac, 364,000
Buick, 310,000
Saturn, 277,000
Saab, 149,000
Hummer, 142,000
Chrysler
Chrysler, 1.34 million
Dodge, 1.28 million
Mercedes Benz (two sites), 845,000
Jeep, 543,000

ComScore reported automotive resources and their visitors (in millions) in May were:
eBay Motors, 10.84
Automotive.com, 8.45
Autobytel Inc., 6.43
CarsDirect.com, 6.32
KelleyBlueBook.com, 6.04
Autotrader Sites, 4.99
AOL Auto, 4.78
MSN Autos, 3.70
Cars.com, 2.51
Yahoo Autos, 2.50

The automotive resource sites play an important role in helping customers sort through their car choices, comScore says. 84% of Ford buyers visited a third-party site 5 months or less before their purchases. 73% of Honda buyers and 69% of Toyota buyers visited such sites before buying, comScore president Gian Fulgoni reported at the recent AD:Tech conference.

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