Chicago—May 3, 2006—As gas prices near an average of $3 a gallon nationwide, consumer searches and email leads sent to dealers for more fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have once again gained momentum. According to the latest Cars.com Consumer Search Index, the Toyota Prius now ranks third on the list of new cars showing the greatest increase in searches month over month, and it has also cracked the top 10 in terms of most email leads sent to dealers.
"Consumer reaction to high gasoline prices this year is very similar to what we experienced last year when gasoline prices spiked above $3 a gallon," said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com senior editor. "However, this year the conversion of consumer searches into email leads to dealers has happened at a much faster rate, indicating that consumers may be more inclined to purchase a more fuel-efficient car this summer."
As consumer searches for more fuel-efficient cars escalate, searches for large SUVs and trucks are experiencing a noticeable decline. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, Nissan Titan and Chevrolet Tahoe all made the list of top new cars experiencing a decline month over month.
Several new-car introductions continue to experience early success in terms of search numbers and email leads to dealers. The Toyota FJ Cruiser and Dodge Caliber continue to top the list of cars that saw the largest month over month increases. The Caliber also is among the top 10 vehicles searched 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 8.3 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 1.5 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).