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In Drive

A slew of sites let consumers power through car shopping.
May 1, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/177072

Nearly 87 percent of consumers who use the internet to help with their vehicle shopping and purchasing visit at least one automotive website, and 77 percent visit an independent website, according to J.D. Power. These websites save you time by letting you browse hundreds of choices and comparison-shop for your company's vehicles.

In addition to displaying photos and videos of a vehicle's exterior and interior styling and providing lists of standard and optional features and colors, automakers' online showroom sites include specifics on car loans, rebates, leasing, insurance and maintenance. Chrysler/Dodge, Ford and GM's websites offer advice on buying and servicing commercial fleets; information on safety, warranties and incentives; delivery and customizing estimates; and explanation of the benefits and functions of new high-tech features.

Other general automotive sites post reliability ratings, reviews and resale values. At www.edmunds.com, you can read about potential fraud issues, view a list of the top 10 deals each month and find the latest auto news on its "Inside Line" page. Information at www.intellichoice.com charts the lowest ownership costs and highest resale values. The most fuel-efficient vehicles are listed on both www.fueleconomy.gov and the environmentally conscious www.greenercars.com. Most automotive sites list certified pre-owned vehicles and offer CPO buying advice.

The increasingly large numbers of links are an indication that all such websites are expanding their databases. Sites usually request only your ZIP code for free quotes.

Whether you're checking out minivans, pickups, SUVs, compacts or luxury cars, other sites worth clicking are www.autoadvisor.com, www.autobytel.com, www.cars.com, www.cargurus.com, www.carsdirect.com, www.consumerreports.com, www.invoicedealers.com and www.kbb.com.

Jill Amadio is an award-winning automotive journalist and author.