CHICAGO, Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cars.com, the premier online resource for buying and selling new and used vehicles, announced today that it has launched PowerDrive, a groundbreaking new advertising product for franchise dealerships. Based in extensive consumer research, PowerDrive brings together Special Offers, deeper reputation exposure and a dealership-branded video experience designed to increase the exposure of a dealership's brand, reputation and inventory on Cars.com.
"Whether a shopper uses their mobile device to read reviews right on the dealership lot, compares vehicle features and dealerships online or watches video, the digital age offers consumers 24/7 access to information and empowers them to take control of the car-buying process," said Mitch Golub, President, Cars.com. "To align with these shifts in consumer behavior, we first changed the model for new-car advertising when we launched BaseDrive in May, empowering dealers to showcase their brand and reputation, not just their inventory. PowerDrive builds on that model and dials it up, giving dealers even more ways to elevate and influence at critical moments during a shopper's online journey."
"Given that price and the availability of incentives and rebates continue to be two of the most important attributes for new-car shoppers, it was important that PowerDrive give dealers a feature to leverage this information," said Nick Hummer, Director, New Car Strategy. "Promoting special offers, which can include OEM and dealer incentives but also things that make a dealership unique, like 'free oil changes for a year,' financing incentives or lease specials, helps tell a more complete story about why a shopper should buy from a particular store."
PowerDrive promotes a dealer's Special Offers throughout the Cars.com desktop site, mobile site and mobile apps. Offers are displayed in multiple areas throughout the site on key shopper pages, including the Dealer Profile (via a PowerDrive-exclusive tab), vehicle detail pages, inventory search results pages and videos, and only PowerDrive dealers appear when shoppers filter search results by Special Offers in the guided navigation menu. Dealers can customize and modify their dealer offers through Cars.com's customer portal, as well as approve OEM offers monthly.
"After adding Special Offers to our new-car inventory listings on Cars.com, we saw a significant increase in the click-through rate to those vehicles," said Andrew DiFeo, General Manager of Hyundai of St. Augustine and PowerDrive customer. "As a result, we recently had the best new car sales month in the history of our store, part of which I attribute to Special Offers."
Deeper Reputation Exposure:
"One of the key findings of our research of new-car shoppers is that they aren't necessarily looking for the lowest price; they want a competitive price and a great purchase experience from a dealership they can trust to service their vehicle in the years ahead," said Hummer. "Dealer Reviews have been a powerful differentiator for all of our customers since their launch in 2011, and dealers have the opportunity to amplify their reputation even further with PowerDrive."
In addition the dedicated tab of the Dealer Profile featuring Dealer Reviews for all Cars.com franchise dealers, only PowerDrive customers receive featured reviews on vehicle detail pages. Customizable widgets bring Cars.com reviews to the dealership's website and Facebook, providing external content that keeps shoppers engaged with their site and Facebook page, as well as making it easy to solicit additional reviews to drive volume.
PowerDrive dealers also receive a robust reputation management tool, which aggregates reviews from Cars.com and a number of other online reviews sites and provides actionable reports that track trends over time and offer competitive analysis.
Branded Video Experience:
"Consumers are busy, and increasingly, they're choosing to do as much of their shopping as possible online," said Hummer. "Video is the closest thing to visiting a dealership in person, and the strong engagement we're seeing with video is why we made it a standard part of our advertising package in 2011. PowerDrive takes this incredibly effective medium and makes it a powerful differentiator by adding dealership branding and more ways to engage."
As part of the enhanced video experience for PowerDrive dealers, the video player on vehicle detail pages has been upgraded to feature a dealer's logo, tagline and links to their Special Offers. All of a dealer's individual videos from various VDPs are aggregated on a PowerDrive-exclusive tab on their Dealer Profile, along with exclusive make/model videos that keep a shopper engaged within a dealer's specific content as they continue to do research.
For more information or to upgrade to PowerDrive, dealers can contact their Cars.com sales representative, visit http://dealers.cars.com or visit us at the NADA Convention & Expo, Feb. 8-11 in Orlando, booth #2075.
Founded in 1998, Cars.com is an award-winning online destination for car shoppers that offers 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. Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).