RealTime IT News

AutoNationDirect.com Launches as Virtual Dealership

Auto retailer AutoNation Inc. launched AutoNationDirect.com, a virtual dealership offering one-price, no-haggle pricing.

AutoNationDirect.com will combine America's most extensive inventory of new and used vehicles with the Internet's most comprehensive package of automotive shopping tools. Every vehicle on AutoNationDirect.com will be sold in a one-low-price, no-haggle atmosphere.

The company said the site will offer a vehicle featuring every major manufacturer make and model and will have Q&A Live, a chat help feature allowing customers to send real-time, chatroom-like messages to Internet Sales Guides while they're at the site. Also with Q&A Live, visitors will be able to request guided tours of AutoNationDirect.com and other automotive Web sites.

With a credit card, a visitor to AutoNationDirect.com will be able to reserve a vehicle he or she may wish to buy.

Giggo.com, a finance division of DaimlerChrysler, and Progressive Insurance Co., also are on site. Home delivery is offered, as is data from Car and Driver, New Car Test Drive, Intellichoice, Kelly Blue Book and DealerNet.

The site also offers a Net Equity Calculator that allows visitors to AutoNationDirect.com to calculate how much equity is in their trade-in by taking outstanding payments into account.

"With AutoNationDirect.com, AutoNation is pairing its massive inventory of vehicles with a comprehensive package of online automotive shopping tools. That's an exclusive virtual dealership experience that no one else can provide," said Steven R. Berrard, AutoNation co-chief executive officer. "Consumers will be able to shop, finance, insure and buy their next vehicle at a single Web address."

AutoNationDirect.com's debut begins with a pilot phase in the Tampa Bay area. Inventories from the 17 AutoNation dealerships in that area will be offered online.

All other AutoNation markets -- from Atlanta to Los Angeles -- will start offering their inventories through AutoNationDirect.com beginning on Oct. 1. AutoNation has ore than 380 franchised automotive dealerships in 20 states and 45 AutoNation USA "megastores" in 13 states.