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Automotive Web sites are revved up and ready to help you buy.

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This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Gone are the days when dull automotive Web sites demanded your ZIP Code in return for access to limited information about their new cars and trucks. Prices were never posted, and detailed specifications were unavailable until a local dealership was notified of your interest. Today, auto manufacturers and car-buying sites have dramatically upgraded their online services, offering the latest prices, reviews, surveys, advice, car care, links and more.

At www.autobytel.com, for instance, you can get customer testimonials, insurance quotes, delivery information, extended warranty prices, trade-in values and online vehicle appraisals. One of the leading online automotive resources, www.edmunds.com, continues to upgrade its services. Edmunds' menu includes loan and lease calculations, recalls, crash-test results, financing advice, lemon checks as well as maintenance tips. Edmunds also supplies its 800,000 pages of content to The New York Times Web site. And a new feature at www.carsdirect.com is a channel that connects you directly with a dealer of your choosing or finds local dealers for you. This is also the only site where you can compare an unlimited number of new or used cars side by side.

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