RealTime IT News

Autoweb Directly Targeting Consumers

In a move to expand beyond its referral model, Autoweb.com Wednesday launched a new direct-to-consumer auto buying service.

Autoweb plans to begin testing the service Aug. 30 in several unnamed states. Visitors to Autoweb's site will be able to browser the direct-to-consumer channel if the service is offered in their area.

The company is partnering with more than 5,000 member dealers in the launch of its new consumer service.

"The new channel has been developed to provide the best consumer experience and to anticipate the growing needs of our dealers to sell more cars in partnership with Autoweb.com," said Dean DeBiase, AutoWeb's president and chief executive officer.

Consumers who buy autos directly from Autoweb will deal with specially-trained "advocates" who will handle all the research, financing, insurance and paperwork. They will also deliver the car to the consumer.

The move puts Autoweb in a unique position among Internet car sites. Its main competitor, Autobytel.com still exclusively uses the dealer referral model.