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2009 Ends on a Strong Note as Shoppers Return to New Vehicles

January 6, 2010

ATLANTA, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — New car shopping activity on AutoTrader.com saw a significant burst in December compared to December of 2008 and recent previous months, as consumers began looking at more new cars. Most new vehicles on AutoTrader.com’s Top 20 list of new cars searched saw double-digit increases in views compared to December 2008, which for many automakers was one of the worst selling months.

Leading the way on AutoTrader.com was the Chevrolet Traverse crossover, which saw a 181% increase in views compared to December 2008. The Toyota Corolla was the top-gaining car on the Top 20 list for the month, with an increase of views of 154% compared to December 2008.

New vehicle prices may also be on the rebound, with average list prices for 14 of the top 20 new cars viewed on the site marking increases compared to December of 2008. The Ford F-150, the Ford Fusion and the Chevy Silverado all saw double digit average price increases over December 2008. Increases in other average list prices were more modest, but are still encouraging.

“December 2009 may be remembered as the month where interest in new cars returned if activity on our site is any indication,” said AutoTrader.com President and CEO Chip Perry. “Many consumers are feeling more confident about their jobs and the economy going into the New Year, and those factors, coupled with lots of exciting new models in showrooms, should drive an increasing amount of foot traffic to new car dealers throughout 2010. The typical AutoTrader.com visitor is looking to purchase a vehicle in 30 to 90 days, so new car dealers and auto manufacturers may have something to celebrate in the next quarter or so.”

The F-150 and the Honda Accord held the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the most viewed new car list for December 2009, positions those perennial favorites held in November of 2009 and in December of 2008.

Used Car Demand Falls as Inventories Shrink, Consumers Opt for New

Views for used and Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicles on AutoTrader.com continued to benefit trucks and SUVs, as these larger vehicles remained popular with car shoppers in December 2009. While overall shopping activity for many used and CPO vehicles was down, this was driven by the reduced inventories, rather than a loss of interest, a fact that was reflected in the increased average asking prices of these trucks and SUVs. For example, while the full-size Chevrolet Suburban SUV saw views decrease 24% in December 2009 compared to December 2008, average asking prices for available vehicles increased almost 19%, from $27,951 in December 2008 to $33,185 this past month.

“Poor sales in 2008 due to high gas prices and the economy – which caused a corresponding pull back of manufacturing new cars – has reduced the number of used and CPO vehicles now available on the market, which in turn has reduced dealer inventories and the amount of shopping activity that we are currently seeing on such vehicles,” said Perry. “As new car sales improve and these buyers trade in their now used cars, we should see also see a corresponding improvement in used-car inventories and shopping activity.

CPO inventories took a double hit as the credit crisis caused many manufacturers to pull back or eliminate leasing programs, an important avenue for late model CPO inventory. “Those CPO buyers who weren’t scared away from buying by the challenging economy found that in many cases there just wasn’t available inventory of CPO vehicles because these leasing programs had dried up,” said Perry. “But as credit eases for both consumers and auto manufacturers, we’ll see a return to normalcy in the CPO market. Certified vehicles remain an important component of manufacturers’ and dealers’ sales strategies going forward into the future.”

The Ford F-150 captured the No. 1 spot on the top viewed used vehicles list in December 2009, followed by the BMW 3 Series at No. 2, the Chevy Silverado at No. 3 and the Ford Mustang at No. 4. All four models held these same positions in November of 2009 and in December of 2008.

In CPO searches, the BMW 3 Series captured the top spot again, with, in order, the Chevy Silverado, the Honda Accord, the Chevy Tahoe and the Ford F-150 rounding out the top five most viewed CPO vehicles on AutoTrader.com.

Another Increase in Site Traffic

In December 2009, AutoTrader.com logged another traffic increase, marking the 12th consecutive month where monthly site traffic in 2009 beat traffic for the same month in 2008. In December, AutoTrader.com logged 13.05 million unique monthly visitors, up 1 percent compared to December 2008.

“Our site traffic is indicative of the continuing trend in people going to the internet to shop for vehicles,” said Perry. “Today, the vast majority of car shoppers are going to the internet to research and compare models, get pricing and specials and see inventory in their area. AutoTrader.com has been a key player in spurring this trend and car dealers who continue to refine their on-line marketing will be the big winners in 2010 and in years to come.”

About AutoTrader.com

AutoTrader.com, created in 1997 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is the Internet’s leading auto classifieds marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private owners. The site attracts about 15 million unique monthly visitors. Through innovative merchandising functionality such as multiple photos, videos, detailed descriptions and comprehensive research and compare tools, AutoTrader.com unites new and used car buyers and sellers online to improving the way people research, locate and advertise vehicles. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.


                                  Rank    Rank    Rank    Change from
    MAKE         MODEL            12/09   11/09   12/08      12/08
    ----         -----            -----   -----   -----   ----------

                                   New Cars

    Ford        F-150               1       1       1       60.53%
    Honda       Accord              2       2       2       52.15%
    Toyota      Camry               3       3       4       82.70%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 1500      4       4       3       58.86%
    Toyota      Corolla             5       6      11      154.13%
    Honda       Civic               6       5       5       63.15%
    Dodge       Ram 1500            7      11       6       48.73%
    BMW         3-Series            8      16      16      100.49%
    Nissan      Altima              9       9       7       37.31%
    Chevrolet   Malibu             10      10      14       70.95%
    Ford        F-250              11      15      27      105.88%
    Toyota      Tacoma             12      14      17       61.21%
    Ford        Focus              13      13      23       90.62%
    Chevrolet   Camaro             14       7                 N/A
    Jeep        Wrangler           15      18       9       36.19%
    Ford        Fusion             16      12      29       99.58%
    Ford        Mustang            17       8      10       35.18%
    Volkswagen  Jetta              18      20      28       68.31%
    Mazda       Mazda3             19      23      36      104.65%
    Chevrolet   Traverse           20      17      70      181.43%

                                   Used Cars

    Ford        F-150               1       1       1       -7.18%
    BMW         3-Series            2       2       2       -8.20%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 1500      3       3       3        2.43%
    Ford        Mustang             4       4       4      -13.47%
    Ford        F-250               5       5      11       25.31%
    Dodge       Ram 1500            6       7       5      -12.38%
    Honda       Accord              7       6       6      -10.61%
    Chevrolet   Tahoe               8       8       8       -2.47%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 2500      9      10      17       28.15%
    Jeep        Wrangler           10      13      13        1.55%
    Honda       Civic              11       9       9      -14.02%
    Dodge       Ram 2500           12      12      19       22.20%
    Infiniti    G35/G37            13      11       7      -25.70%
    Toyota      Tacoma             14      16      15       -0.63%
    BMW         5-Series           15      14      12      -10.22%
    Jeep        Grand Cherokee     16      17      10      -25.27%
    Nissan      Altima             17      15      16       -7.32%
    Ford        Explorer           18      18      14      -21.34%
    Toyota      Tundra             19      21      23       -2.01%
    Ford        F-350              20      23      32       19.66%

                                Avg Price -  Avg Price -   Change from
    MAKE         MODEL            12/09        12/08         12/08
    ----         -----          ---------    ---------     ----------

                                   New Cars

    Ford        F-150           $35,735.62   $31,673.68       12.82%
    Honda       Accord          $25,874.89   $26,059.86       -0.71%
    Toyota      Camry           $24,379.30   $24,196.44        0.76%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 1500  $34,193.69   $30,836.02       10.89%
    Toyota      Corolla         $18,164.78   $18,776.40       -3.26%
    Honda       Civic           $19,993.30   $20,636.39       -3.12%
    Dodge       Ram 1500        $33,724.79   $33,897.99       -0.51%
    BMW         3-Series        $50,616.18   $56,447.07      -10.33%
    Nissan      Altima          $24,834.22   $24,690.39        0.58%
    Chevrolet   Malibu          $24,578.95   $24,353.95        0.92%
    Ford        F-250           $45,191.15   $42,333.77        6.75%
    Toyota      Tacoma          $26,403.20   $25,341.87        4.19%
    Ford        Focus           $18,532.69   $18,049.70        2.68%
    Chevrolet   Camaro          $33,841.54                      N/A
    Jeep        Wrangler        $28,752.00   $27,621.26        4.09%
    Ford        Fusion          $25,598.51   $22,712.55       12.71%
    Ford        Mustang         $32,321.09   $31,838.09        1.52%
    Volkswagen  Jetta           $22,983.19   $22,399.86        2.60%
    Mazda       Mazda3          $20,363.96   $18,948.25        7.47%
    Chevrolet   Traverse        $35,610.31   $35,463.58        0.41%

                                   Used Cars

    Ford        F-150           $19,308.71   $15,686.84       23.09%
    BMW         3-Series        $25,909.36   $26,440.75       -2.01%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 1500  $18,882.59   $15,554.25       21.40%
    Ford        Mustang         $16,857.77   $16,087.19        4.79%
    Ford        F-250           $23,289.14   $19,735.17       18.01%
    Dodge       Ram 1500        $17,619.89   $14,211.91       23.98%
    Honda       Accord          $15,663.95   $15,429.18        1.52%
    Chevrolet   Tahoe           $24,135.36   $19,430.89       24.21%
    Chevrolet   Silverado 2500  $22,732.73   $19,144.04       18.75%
    Jeep        Wrangler        $19,316.77   $16,220.68       19.09%
    Honda       Civic           $13,515.42   $14,114.65       -4.25%
    Dodge       Ram 2500        $24,169.95   $20,270.38       19.24%
    Infiniti    G35/G37         $22,366.69   $20,618.89        8.48%
    Toyota      Tacoma          $19,207.12   $17,406.99       10.34%
    BMW         5-Series        $30,656.17   $30,298.16        1.18%
    Jeep        Grand Cherokee  $16,108.55   $13,946.60       15.50%
    Nissan      Altima          $14,159.99   $14,098.32        0.44%
    Ford        Explorer        $15,529.27   $13,637.04       13.88%
    Toyota      Tundra          $22,240.37   $18,246.13       21.89%
    Ford        F-350           $24,895.98   $21,337.08       16.68%


                                 Rank    Rank    Rank    Change from
    MAKE        MODEL            12/09   11/09   12/08     12/08
    ----        -----            -----   -----   -----    ----------

                              Certified Pre-Owned

    BMW        3-Series            1       1       1      -12.68%
    Chevrolet  Silverado 1500      2       3       2      -11.06%
    Honda      Accord              3       2       3      -10.05%
    Chevrolet  Tahoe               4       4       5       -2.91%
    Ford       F-150               5       7       4      -19.44%
    BMW        5-Series            6       8       6      -14.02%
    Toyota     Tundra              7       5       8       -2.95%
    Toyota     Camry               8       6      11       -4.83%
    Toyota     Tacoma              9      10       9      -12.26%
    Honda      Civic              10       9       7      -25.79%
    Audi       A4                 11      11      10      -20.80%
    Acura      TL                 12      12      19       -6.72%
    Mercedes-
     Benz      E-Class            13      13      12      -26.81%
    Toyota     Highlander         14      14      20      -11.56%
    GMC        Sierra             15      17      25       -0.18%
    Toyota     4Runner            16      21      26       -2.42%
    Chevrolet  Suburban           17      22      17      -24.57%
    Ford       Mustang            18      15      18      -23.42%
    Mercedes-
     Benz      C-Class            19      19      16      -26.07%
    GMC        Yukon              20      23      23       -9.67%

                              Avg Price -  Avg Price -    Change from
    MAKE        MODEL           12/09         12/08          12/08
    ----        -----         ---------     ---------     ----------

                              Certified Pre-Owned

    BMW        3-Series        $32,117.83   $32,006.75        0.35%

    Chevrolet  Silverado 1500  $23,188.30   $18,791.18       23.40%
    Honda      Accord          $18,398.57   $17,887.83        2.86%
    Chevrolet  Tahoe           $31,270.04   $26,024.32       20.16%
    Ford       F-150           $23,680.43   $19,609.23       20.76%
    BMW        5-Series        $37,456.97   $36,222.01        3.41%
    Toyota     Tundra          $24,927.51   $20,944.27       19.02%
    Toyota     Camry           $18,385.22   $18,506.26       -0.65%
    Toyota     Tacoma          $22,217.07   $20,214.45        9.91%
    Honda      Civic           $16,424.46   $16,789.00       -2.17%
    Audi       A4              $26,463.83   $25,187.14        5.07%
    Acura      TL              $27,036.47   $24,623.73        9.80%
    Mercedes-
     Benz      E-Class         $38,486.26   $34,059.18       13.00%
    Toyota     Highlander      $24,066.88   $21,733.18       10.74%
    GMC        Sierra          $24,250.43   $19,422.23       24.86%
    Toyota     4Runner         $24,446.34   $21,220.51       15.20%
    Chevrolet  Suburban        $33,185.64   $27,951.46       18.73%
    Ford       Mustang         $20,005.82   $18,119.20       10.41%
    Mercedes-
     Benz      C-Class         $28,880.08   $25,866.05       11.65%
    GMC        Yukon           $33,343.31   $27,178.03       22.68%


                           TOP-VIEWED          Rank    Rank
                             BRANDS            12/09   12/08
                           ----------          -----   -----

                           Ford                  1       2
                           Chevrolet             2       1
                           Toyota                3       3
                           Honda                 4       4
                           Nissan                5       6
                           Dodge                 6       5
                           BMW                   7       9
                           GMC                   8       7
                           Hyundai               9      11
                           Mercedes-Benz        10      10

SOURCE AutoTrader.com


Source: newswire



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