Internet automotive marketing services company Autobytel today announced that it has signed an agreement to provide a national online customer referral program for the Asbury Automotive Group, the fourth-largest auto retailer in the nation.
The agreement, which encompasses all 139 of Asbury’s franchises, provides for online customer referrals for new and used vehicles, as well as CRM tools and Web site research and advertising services through Autobytel.
“This relationship creates one of the industry’s largest automotive marketing and fulfillment channels,” Autobytel President and CEO Jeffrey Schwartz said.
“It’s an excellent fit between two businesses that have always understood that the Internet has the power to market and sell vehicles more efficiently. We’re excited to add such a respected, high performing dealer group to our program,” he added.
In addition to receiving purchase requests from Autobytel’s Web car buyers, Asbury dealers also will have the opportunity to take advantage of a range of Autobytel dealership marketing services.
Those services include AVV’s prospect management system, Web Control, regionally targeted advertising on Autobytel’s Web sites and a suite of multibrand vehicle research tools (AIC AutoSuite) that can be custom-branded for each participating dealer’s website.
Asbury dealers also will benefit from Autobytel’s proprietary, seven-step Quality Verification System, a rigorous customer scrubbing program, as well as onsite Internet sales best-practices training.
“Today approximately half of all online vehicle customers are generated by independent third-party sites — it’s simply where the car buyers are,” Allen Levenson, Asbury vice president of sales and marketing, said.
He explained, “It’s critical, therefore, to complement our own Internet marketing initiatives and OEM Web sites with a strong, productive independent program.”
The Asbury Automotive Group has 139 franchises in 11 states at 94 locations. The company is one of the largest and one of the nation’s fastest-growing automotive groups.
The company attributes part of it’s success to its aggressive development and adoption of efficient Internet-based marketing, CRM and operational programs, including its regional Web site platforms, all nine of which have won “Golden Web” awards for outstanding design, content and originality.
The Asbury Group also uses Autobytel’s prospect management system, AVV Web Control, for most of its dealerships nationwide.
Autobytel, a major Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, data and CRM products and programs.
Autobytel owns and operates the automotive Web sites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com, Car.com and AutoSite.com, as well as AIC (Automotive Information Center), an industry source of automotive marketing data and technology for more than 20 years.
Autobytel also offers dealership lead management and CRM support and owns and operates AVV, a provider of dealership CRM and sales management products, and Retention Performance Marketing, which provides dealerships with customer loyalty and retention marketing programs.
As the Internet’s largest new-car buying service, Autobytel generates more than a billion dollars a month in car sales for dealers through its services and was the most visited new car buying and research destination in 2003, reaching millions of car shoppers as they made their vehicle buying decisions.
Asbury Automotive Group, headquartered in New York City, is one of the largest automobile retailers in the U.S., with 2003 revenues of $4.8 billion.
Built through a combination of organic growth and a series of strategic acquisitions, Asbury now operates through nine geographically concentrated, individually branded “platforms.” These platforms currently operate 100 retail auto stores, encompassing 139 franchises for the sale and servicing of 34 different brands of American, European and Asian automobiles.