- Repair & Care
Chicago—July 1, 2008—Cars.com announced today an expansion of its certified used-vehicle advertising program through partnerships with Infiniti, Saturn and Subaru. In-market car buyers searching Cars.com can now access basic listings for the automakers' complete inventory of certified vehicles available nationwide at local dealerships. Eighteen manufacturers now actively promote their certified programs on Cars.com with complete listings on the site.
"The launch of our new certified partnerships with Infiniti, Saturn and Subaru is great for shoppers on Cars.com who are increasingly searching for certified inventory and for the automakers who are helping to drive sales of certified vehicles for their local dealers," said Dennis Galbraith, Cars.com vice president of advertising products.
Moves by these manufacturers to advertise their certified inventory on Cars.com coincide with strong industry-wide sales of certified used vehicles, growing consumer interest in manufacturer-certified cars and increased demand for information online about certified programs. For example, May certified sales were the highest on record, up more than 5 percent from the same month a year ago despite a soft economy and slow sales of other vehicle segments.
Heightened interest in certified cars is also being seen online. Through May, email and phone leads to Cars.com dealers on certified vehicles have increased 63 percent year-over-year. For the same period, the available inventory of these vehicles on the site grew an average of 15 percent.
Awareness of certified vehicles and their benefits among Cars.com shoppers is also on the rise. A recent Cars.com survey found that more than 60 percent of the site's visitors indicate they understand the benefits of buying certified. That number represents a 53 percent increase from 2006.
"Car buyers increasingly cross-shop between new, used and certified used vehicles to find the one that best meets their needs, so it is important to provide prospects with the full range of options for them to consider," Galbraith said. "When automakers connect with in-market shoppers about their certified programs, the message resonates, and the cars sell."
By participating in Cars.com's certified advertising program, automakers receive extra prominence for their certified inventory on the site. Infiniti, Saturn and Subaru certified vehicles will be distinguished by a manufacturer-certified logo to help in-market shoppers identify these vehicles on search results pages. Consumers researching these cars on Cars.com can learn more about purchasing a certified vehicle, access more details about each certification program and contact local dealers.
"The internet is among the most effective mediums for advertising certified vehicles and promoting the value of certification," Galbraith said. "Unlike other media, the internet allows them to provide in-depth program information in a format that is convenient for car buyers to access and easier to process. Certified programs have many features and are too complex to be adequately communicated in a 30-second TV or radio spot. The internet is far better suited for complex messages."
Respondents to a recent Cars.com survey most commonly attributed their knowledge of CPO programs to third-party websites (23 percent) and dealerships (22 percent).
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).