April 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Car dealers honing their web site strategies

Many U.S. automobile dealers are expanding their web sites` functions to encompass service and marketing.

While more than 90% of car dealers in the U.S. have had their own consumer-serving web site for several years, many dealers have recently expanded the use of their sites as service and marketing tools, according to the 2006 Dealership Internet Survey from the National Automobile Dealers Association. Survey respondents reported that they’re offering more online services like financial applications and service scheduling, for example. More than half have a designated Internet sales staff, and last year 70% said they handled some sales completely on the Internet except for payment and delivery. Respondents said their sites generated a monthly average of 319.9 unsolicited prospects in 2006, up from 227.9 in 2005 and 115.7 in 2004.

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