Sixty-two percent of all new-vehicle buyers are turning to the Internet for automotive information while shopping for their vehicle. Most of these shoppers go online for automotive information before they begin visiting dealers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2001 New Study. The study shows an 8-percentage-point growth in automotive Internet usage this year – up from 54 percent in 2000. On average, an automotive Internet user visits 6.8 automotive sites before making a purchase. Automotive Internet users indicate a clear preference for independent, third-party Web sites. Manufacturer sites were the preferred choice only for looking up vehicle facts such as options and features information. Independent sites were preferred for anything related to pricing or buying. According to the study, Kelley Blue Book ( remains the most visited site for the fourth straight year, while was viewed as the most useful Web site. was the most frequently visited manufacturer site. The study findings show that again sells more vehicles online than any other independent Web site service. GM is the leading factory-sponsored Web site for generating online new-vehicle sales. Industry wide, 6 percent of all new vehicles were sold through an online buying service – up from 4.7 percent in 2000.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials