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Autobytel.com was launched in1995 in Irving, California by popular local 80’s car dealership owner Pete Ellis as an internet company specializing in automotive media and marketing services. It was one of the first businesses of its kind in the automotive genre, with a history of innovation. It was the first internet company of any kind to have an ad during the SuperBowl in 1997.
Today, the site serves over 10 million automotive consumers, helping them research vehicles, connects dealers with car buyers nationwide and provides brand marketing for major automakers.
Autobytel serves both automotive dealers and consumers, in that order. For Auto dealerships, Autobytel offers automotive dealers tools to manage their business. Specific products include:
Through Autobytel's marketing network, the company provides both automotive dealers and manufacturers with what they claim to be productive and cost-effective brand and product marketing opportunities.
Autobytel also provides consumers with a comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience. When it comes to resources, the site hits on all cylinders with a:
These tools are all on one website, providing convenience and full preparation for consumers to make a viable vehicle purchase. Note: The Trade in Value calculator is actually a Kelly Blue Book (KBB) calculator widget on the website. In addition to its valuable research features, Autobytel offers important shopping features to help consumers buy, sell and maintain their vehicles, including:
If your credit is not the best, Autobytel attempts to make it possible for consumers unable to secure loans through conventional lending sources to obtain vehicle financing from dealers or finance institutions through Autobytel's Specialty Finance Lead Program.
Where some auto consumer sites have one or two top ten recommendation lists, Autobytel offers a full list of recommendations in specific categories that are relevant to what car shoppers are looking for. Here's what the list looks like:
Another feature that deserves recognition is its customizable apps. More on the apps in the following section, but there are valuable benefits for dealerships. Autobytel Customized Apps:
Ultimately, these apps are structured to help dealers more effectively connect with customers and get business.
Another helpful tool Autobytel offers to consumers is MyGarage, an area of the website that helps car owners diagnose repairs and calculate costs. You can enter your car symptoms by what it looks, smells, feels or sounds like or whether it is not working at all. The website will also suggest symptoms for you to help you troubleshoot what may be wrong with your current vehicle. You can get repair estimates on a number of different possible problems with your vehicle. Autobytel will also help you find a certified mechanic in your area and let you know if there is any recalls concerning your automobile.
One last mention is regarding consumers. Autobytel offers a varied list of tips and articles for its visitors, providing topics on everything from money saving tips and leasing a car to auto shows. This is a medium they use to help keep consumers informed and knowledgeable.
Autobytel.com does not give you upfront pricing on vehicles. You have to wait for a dealer to email or call you in order to get a quote. Some leads generated by the website contain out-of-date contact information for car dealers. Overall, customers seem very satisfied with the personalized customer service and the automotive research data is excellent.
It can also be hard to find where to download the apps. Some apps like the Car Minder Plus App, is not even free to download. After searching for a while looking for the app, you finally realize that the company seems to only offer customized apps for dealerships. (If they do offer apps for consumers directly, it isn't easily accessible).
Another site faux pas is regarding end-user friendliness. There are too many clicks to get to the desired page on the Autobytel website. Each page or section has an arrowhead to the bottom far right on the screen, which you may or may not know to click on. The way the tabs are positioned makes it slower and more confusing to navigate. More user content aggregation is definitely needed for a more effective user experience.