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Toyota and GM Lose Ground with Consumers in February

Hyundai, Kia and Ford Accelerate on Cars.com as Longtime Market Leaders See Declining Interest

Amidst concerns over the Toyota recall, interest in the several of the brand's popular models declined sharply in February on Cars.com. According to the most recent Cars.com Consumer Search Index, which tracks the fluctuation of consumer contact with dealers originating from the site, 6 of the top 10 decreases were for Toyota models including Rav4, Corolla, Camry, Highlander, Prius and FJ Cruiser. GM rounded out the top ten decreases, with four models experiencing sharp declines in consumer interest - Sierra 1500, Corvette, Tahoe and Equinox.

The Korean manufacturers Hyundai and Kia benefited directly from Toyota's troubles. Interest in the new Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Tucson and the Kia Sorento skyrocketed in the month of February according. In addition to the two Korean manufacturers, Ford continued its strong performance on the site which has helped propel the manufacturer past GM in terms of total sales for the first time since 1998.

The Hyundai Sonata topped Cars.com's list of new cars experiencing the largest increase in consumer contacts to dealers, with a whopping 106 percent increase. The Sonata was followed by the Hyundai Tucson at 83 percent and the Kia Sorento at 69 percent. Ford also had three cars in the top 10. The new Fusion, Escape and F-150 ranked 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.

The Toyota Sienna, which wasn't part of the recall and received positive reviews on Cars.com for its recent redesign, surprisingly bucked the trend and ranked 4th out of the 10 vehicles experiencing the largest increase in consumer contacts to dealers.

"The aggressive marketing efforts on the part of Hyundai and Kia are working when it comes to generating interest among car shoppers," said Cars.com Editor in Chief Patrick Olsen. "It's nothing short of surprising to see the activity that the new Toyota Sienna has generated, considering all the turmoil surrounding the automaker's recalls."

Cars.com Consumer Search Index -- February 2010:

February Movers % Increase in Consumer Contacts to Dealers
-- Hyundai Sonata 106%
-- Hyundai Tucson 83%
-- Kia Sorento 69%
-- Toyota Sienna 30%
-- Honda Odyssey 19%
-- Ford Fusion 15%

-- Ford Escape 11%
-- Ford F150 10%
-- Honda Civic 9%
-- Chevrolet Camaro 7%

February Losers % Decrease in Consumer Contacts to Dealers
-- GMC Sierra 1500 51%
-- Toyota RAV4 50%
-- Toyota Camry 38%
-- Toyota Corolla 37%
-- Toyota Highlander 37%
-- Chevrolet Corvette 35%
-- Toyota Prius 34%
-- Chevrolet Tahoe 33%
-- Chevrolet Equinox 28%
-- Toyota FJ Cruiser 25%

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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