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Growing Consumer Interest in Manufacturer-Certified Preowned Vehicles Drives New-, Used-Car Sales, Cars.com Analysis Shows

Surge in Dealer Leads and Contacts from In-Market Cars.com Shoppers Underscores Continuing Importance, Success of Factory-Backed CPO Programs

Car buyer interest in manufacturer-certified preowned vehicles stands out as a silver lining in the current economic slowdown, a Cars.com analysis found. The automotive shopping site reviewed year-to-date leads and contacts dealers received from in-market shoppers and found a 56 percent increase versus the first three quarters of 2007. Searches on Cars.com for CPO vehicles increased 63 percent during the same period.

"Not only do manufacturer-sponsored certified programs on Cars.com drive certified buyers to local dealerships, but they also generate more overall traffic -- new, used and certified," said Mitch Golub, president of Cars.com. "Certified programs support new car sales; in fact, 30 percent of certified lead senders on Cars.com buy new cars."

Added Golub, "Manufacturers recognize that aggressively merchandising these vehicles - particularly on independent shopping sites - allows them to cost-effectively raise awareness among in-market shoppers and generate traffic for their dealers. Given the competition in today's market for each and every sale, this is no time to sit on the sidelines."

Cars.com currently maintains partnerships with 25 automakers to emphasize their dealers' local inventory of certified preowned vehicles. Among them is General Motors Corp.'s Certified Used Vehicles initiative, which began promoting Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac models on Cars.com in February 2007. Through the first nine months of 2008, these factory-certified vehicles generated 40 percent more leads and dealer contacts and 52 percent more inventory searches from Cars.com shoppers than the year-ago period.

"Getting dealers' used-car inventory viewed by as many in-market consumers as possible is the name of the game to help our dealers drive volume and profits," said Paul J. Pejza, manager, GM CUV. "GM Certified offers our dealers the most comprehensive listings program in the industry, and Cars.com is a cornerstone of that plan."

Earlier this month, GM announced the sale of its 3 millionth certified used vehicle since the CUV program launched in 1997; a silver 2008 Chevrolet Impala LS Flex-Fuel. For the past six years, GM said its CUV program has led all OEM-certified brands in sales. Chevrolet has been the industry's top-selling single-line make certified preowned vehicle brand in each of the last four years. In 2007, GM sold 451,565 certified used vehicles.

By participating in Cars.com's certified advertising program, automakers receive extra prominence for their certified inventory on the site. Certified vehicles are 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.

About Cars.com

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).

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