Chicago—February 3, 2006—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.
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 7 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.
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).
* Unique visitor numbers compiled by internal reporting