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Dealers Drive Quality Traffic With Continuously Updated Pricing

Cars.Com Survey Examines Online Pricing Strategies

A used vehicle with a stale price likely will not sell quite as well, a survey found.

Nearly 50 percent of responding dealers report that continually updating vehicle pricing as the inventory ages provides the best online approach for driving quality traffic to the dealership. conducted the survey in the April issue of its monthly Internet newsletter, dealeradvantage.

"Given the fierce competition they face online, dealers understand that they have to take a more proactive approach in merchandising their vehicles," said Ralph Ebersole, director of dealer training for "Ensuring that pricing stays consistent with market conditions assures customers they're getting the value they expect and helps dealers keep their inventory moving."

As for other strategies, an almost equal number of dealers indicated that being competitive (28 percent) or offering the lowest price (20 percent) proved to be the most effective. Only five percent of respondents recommended using a formula (e.g., a set percentage more or less than invoice) to draw customers.

"Shoppers associate a substantially lower price with problems and perceive a notably higher price as an indication that they won't get a fair deal," Ebersole said. "It's important to remember that every vehicle is distinct and that pricing should reflect the vehicle's distinguishing features. Rather than simply offering the lowest price or using a strict formula that doesn't factor in competitors' pricing, savvy dealers determine an appropriate price by taking into account the vehicle's unique options, condition and mileage."

Dealeradvantage, produced by, is a free newsletter for dealers that delivers news, tips and advice about online automotive sales to help dealerships get the most out of their online advertising. To see the most recent issue and to subscribe to dealeradvantage, please visit:


Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their Web sites, 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 more than 11,000 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 as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, 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, 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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