Dealer Elite's Exclusive Interview with "CarsDirect.com"
1.What is CarsDirect?
CarsDirect.com has been in the online automotive business for over 12 years now. We are one of the pioneers of selling cars online. As a leader in the online automotive community, we partner with dealers to give them access to our automotive network. Our network spans to nearly 100 automotive enthusiast and forum sites. We also own Autos.com, SellMyCar.com, and NewCarTestDrive.com.
2. How long have you been a Dealer Elite member?
I joined on LinkedIn months ago, but recently got more involved on the site because of the overwhelming response from fellow colleagues.
3. What do you like best about Dealer Elite?
Dealer Elite is about networking with others interested in helping one another and grow in this exciting industry. I love meeting the people at dealerships all over the country and helping them reach their business objectives. dE is the Best of All the Automotive Social Sites because their focus is on education,motivation and not promotion.
4. What does CarsDirect.com do that is different from every other car buying website in the history of the internet?
Our automotive network is the key to our success. We are where the customers are researching and engaging in the vehicles of interest. When they are finally ready to buy; we introduce them to our dealer partners in their community.
5. This all sounds interesting? Can you explain in more detail?
We all know the first place people research cars is on the web. People will usually land on one of our Forum or Special Interest sites through our own SEO/SEM efforts. They typically will ask others what they think of a particular vehicle and where to buy; get recommendations, read reviews, and ask about the best places to buy. That’s where we come in. Once they are ready to buy, we redirect them to one of our sites.
6. O.K. Tony, so how does the site work?
Well, we do a standard PPL for new cars if the dealer likes. The product that has really been interesting has been our “New Connect” program. It basically hand holds the customer down the car buying path. It’s a step-by-step process to build out the new car they want through the OEM offerings. It’s a lead generator rather than a lead provider type of product. In addition, it’s a great advertising piece with a great landing page. It gives the dealer opportunities for the customer to contact them immediately through email, a trackable 800#, or link right to their web site; after their information has been sent to the dealer.
Our “Used Connect” program is a vertical search listing service, not a “pay to play” type of listing. The dealer’s inventory and pricing decides where the vehicle is placed. We do not make our dealers outbid each other for position. Our research has shown that customers are looking to get the most cars for the lowest price. In addition, our search defaults to 75 miles. It gives dealers a better opportunity to get placed on page one of a particular search.
7. Why should dealers partner with CarsDirect.com versus other companies?
Well, we have been awarded the Diamond Award by Auto Dealer Monthly for the last six years. We have also been rated as one of the best places for new car research by various tech sites. Most of all, we give stellar customer service. I work with my dealers on a weekly basis to make sure we are performing. If not, we re-plan and attack.
8. How much does CarsDirect.com Cost?
Like I said earlier, for new car advertising we offer a standard PPL or the “New Connect” subscription program. Rates are based off make and territory for the subscription program. We can also do custom zones with specific zip codes for targeting. For our “Used Connect” program, rates are based off the dealer’s used inventory size. Both subscription programs are month to month with a 30-day out. Since we don’t do the traditional advertising from the various mediums like television, newspaper, and radio; we are able to pass those savings on to our dealer partners.
9. What can car dealers do to make CarsDirect.com better?
Partner with us. We are always looking for dealer partners on our wholesale side as well as dealers looking to gain some customers. Basically it comes down to ROI. Most of our programs can be made back on 1-3 used cars sold.
10. How would a dE member contact you?
800.431.2500 toll free x 4191