Online automotive dealers and merged in a
big way Wednesday when CarsDirect purchased its competitor for an
undisclosed sum.

The purchase, which brings the total number of priority
dealers to nearly 3,000, provides a path for the two operators to achieve
their mutual business goals, according to Joel Manby, CEO of

“ and have a shared a vision of transforming
the car buying process into a pain-free and enjoyable experience, designed
around clear consumer preferences,” he said. “Both our business philosophies
and practices were developed to help achieve this goal.

“The consolidation now enables a critical next step — the creation of a
clear market leader with the world-class services, resources, marketing
power and the superior dealer network needed to truly delight the growing
number of online car buyers,” he said.

Although there is someone new in the driver’s seat,
retains its relationship with, which purchased a 5 percent stake
in the company about a year ago. will continue to assist the
entity by introducing it to its 29- million-plus experienced online

“We’re excited to continue our affiliation with this rapidly evolving
online industry,” said Bill Price, senior vice president of “The
strength of the combined network and the simplicity and convenience of the
service will ensure an even better shopping experience for our customers.”

The relationship with adds to’s existing
partnerships with, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.

The market potential for online car buying remains enormous, according to
Wendy Barbour, spokesperson for “The firm estimates that
some 10 million consumers will initiate an automobile transaction online by
2004, with new vehicles representing more than half that number — an
overall revenue opportunity
approaching $200 billion, she said.

“On the financing side, Killen & Associates forecasts that 40 percent of
auto loans will be booked online by 2005,” she added.

Greenlight was started in 1999 by a team of e-commerce and automotive
experts. Among the founders was Brian Kendrick, president and CEO of Asbury
Automotive, who will join the’s board of directors when the
merger is complete.

“Today’s transaction is a logical next step and validates that the
Internet continues to evolve as an important sales channel in automotive
retail,” Kendrick said. “We’re excited by the prospects that the
CarsDirect/Greenlight combination
will bring to Asbury’s

News Around the Web