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Consumer Searches Hit Record High on Cars.com in January

Car searches on Cars.com hit a record high in January, with the number of unique visitors exceeding 7.4 million*, according to the most recent Consumer Search Index report.

Third-party online automotive websites like cars.com saw a lull in number of searches and online traffic after manufacturers' employee-discount programs ended in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2005. The dramatic increase in site traffic at the beginning of this year is especially significant given January tends to be a slower month for car sales.

"The fact that we have experienced such a large rebound in site traffic is significant not only for sites like cars.com, but it certainly represents a positive start to 2006 for the automotive industry as a whole," said Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor at cars.com. "In fact, many manufacturers already are reporting better-than-expected sales in January."

Intense media coverage of the North American International Auto Show also helped drive consumer traffic to vehicles that received favorable coverage at the show. The Dodge Challenger concept car that was unveiled in Detroit led to a more-than-100-percent increase in searches for used Challengers on cars.com.

Vehicle Searches (January)
Models with the largest number of searches performed on cars.com
Top New-Car Vehicle SearchesTop Used-Car Vehicle Searches
1. Honda Civic1. Honda Accord
2. Honda Accord2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry3. Ford Mustang
4. Toyota RAV 44. Toyota Camry
5. Acura MDX5. Ford F-150
6. Toyota Corolla6. Toyota Corolla
7. Ford Mustang7. Toyota Tacoma
8. BMW 3258. Jeep Grand Cherokee
9. Toyota Tacoma9. Nissan Maxima
10. Nissan Altima10. Chevrolet Corvette

Search Increases (December-January)
Models with the largest increase in the number of searches performed on cars.com
Top New-Car Search IncreasesTop Used-Car Search Increases
1. Chevrolet Tahoe95.84%1. Dodge Challenger108.24%
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee 37.83%2. Ford Fusion63.07%
3. Pontiac Solstice29.31%3. Chevrolet Cobalt55.78%
4. Toyota RAV 423.24%4. Pontiac G655.13%
5. Mitsubishi Eclipse22.44%5. Volkswagen Cabrio48.73%
6. Jeep Commander19.65%6. Chrysler 30048.02%
7. Ford Fusion19.19%7. Dodge Charger46.50%
8. Dodge Charger19.10%8. Kia Spectra46.20%
9. Chevrolet Cobalt16.88%9. Lexus IS 25045.82%
10. Ford Mustang15.44%10. Scion TC45.76%

Search Decreases (December-January)
Models with the largest decrease in the number of searches performed on cars.com
Top New-Car Search DecreasesTop Used-Car Search Decrease**
1. Toyota Sequoia 19.81%
2. Volkswagen Passat 15.41%
3. Hummer H314.51%
4. Toyota Avalon13.97%
5. Toyota Sienna12.33%
6. Lexus RX 33012.29%
7. Honda CR-V10.65%
8. Nissan Xterra10.61%
9. Honda Pilot9.88%
10. Acura TSX9.56%

Top Dealer Email Inquiries (January)
New Cars Yielding the Most Dealer InquiriesUsed Cars Yielding the Most Dealer Inquiries
1. Honda Civic (2006)1. Honda Civic (2000)
2. Honda Accord (2006)2. Ford Explorer (2002)
3. Toyota RAV 4 (2006)3. Honda Accord (2003)
4. Toyota Camry (2006)4. Honda Accord (2002)
5. Honda Odyssey (2006)5. Honda Accord (2000)
6. Toyota Corolla (2006)6. Honda Civic (2002)
7. Toyota Prius (2006)7. Audi A4 (1995)
8. Toyota Tacoma (2006)8. Honda Civic (1998)
9. Toyota Sienna (2006)9. Honda civic (2001)
10. Toyota Highlander (2006)10. Infiniti G35 (2003)

Top Cars Listed For Sale By Owner (January)
1. Honda Civic
2. Honda Accord
3. Volkswagen Jetta
4. Ford Explorer
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
6. BMW 325
7. Ford F-150
8. BMW 323
9. BMW 330
10. Ford Mustang

* Unique visitor numbers compiled by internal reporting

** There were no significant decreases for used cars due to the large increase in search volume.

About the Cars.com Consumer Search Index

The Cars.com Consumer Search Index offers a comprehensive look at the internet search behavior of cars.com visitors. The statistical information is compiled by tracking the more than 6 million unique visitors that log on to cars.com each month and the vehicles that are most popular. The lists are based off a minimum of 4,000 searches for any given vehicle. Dealer inquiries measure the volume of emails consumers send to dealers seeking information about a particular vehicle. The information is supported by expert analysis from the cars.com editorial staff. More statistical information to support automotive-related stories is available upon request. Please contact Steve Nolan directly at 312-601-5163.

About cars.com

Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.4 million vehicles from 10,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private-parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by six leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).

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