A Letter From Autobytel CEO Jeffrey Schwartz
|Wishing you a safe, happy holiday season|
Jun 10, 2004 22:16:14|
As 2002 comes to a close, we can all take satisfaction in one of the best sales years in industry history. In the face of recession, the industry worked hard to keep the automotive segment strong, and provide a much-needed bedrock for an otherwise shaky economy. Reflecting back, I'm proud to say that 2002 was also a time when Autobytel truly came into its own, with a solid fiscal performance, and a renewed focus on our core business -- that is, helping you sell more for less.
The year held many milestones for Autobytel. We enjoyed our first-ever positive cash flow quarter. We saw our dealers' close rates skyrocket 35%, and the average cost per-car-sold through Autobytel plummet to $120 (hundreds of dollars less than the average traditional sale). For the fourth consecutive year we provided the most customers to dealers of any automotive website (OEM or independent), according to J.D. Power and Associates. We listened to our dealer partners, and aggressively developed the tools you need to succeed in an increasingly Internet-driven sales environment. Some notable 2002 innovations include our EMP street pricing model, which bridges the often-costly gap between dealer/shopper price expectations, as well as the introduction of the industry's most rigorous customer quality verification process.
Analysts estimate that nearly 90% of Automotive Internet Users go online before visiting a dealership, and that two out of three auto shoppers currently make their car-buying decisions online. My New Year's resolution is to continue to encourage OEMs and dealers to put their marketing dollars where these active, on-the-fence multibrand shoppers live -- where it will work for them. I'm not just selling Autobytel; I'm touting a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy. Invest in your web sites, your OEM programs, your email programs -- take advantage of the opportunities offered by the single most efficient and effective auto-marketing medium.
In closing, I'd like to wish you and your families a safe, happy holiday season, from all of your friends at Autobytel, and to say thanks again for a memorable 2002. We look forward to seeing you at NADA -- and to sharing continued success in the New Year and beyond.
President and CEO
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