Autobytel.com again ranks highest in overall dealer satisfaction among the major online buying services, a survey finds.
Dealer satisfaction is measured mostly by the number of leads generated.
'Autobytel.com maintains its lead because it generates nearly as many new-vehicle sales as its two closest competitors combined,' said Chris Denove, director of consulting operations for J.D. Power and Associates of Agoura Hills, Calif., which conducted the survey. Autobytel.com has a slightly higher closing ratio than other buying services and the greatest number of dealer subscribers.
Autobytel.com also was rated highest in dealer satisfaction in last year's survey on buying services.
The surprises in this year's study were provided by two newcomers that outranked major players such as Autoweb.com, a buying service in Santa Clara, Calif., that went public March 23.
Price Costco, a division of Costco Companies Inc. of Issaquah, Wash., and AAA of Heathrow, Fla., were among the five online buying services that scored above average in dealer satisfaction.
Costco bested all but Autobytel.com and both services topped Autoweb.com in dealer satisfaction.
Costco and AAA began as membership referral services and have only recently added online buying services. Though they do not generate as many leads as the others, their sales closing ratios are twice as high as the services that lure consumers solely through the Internet. According to J.D. Power, their close ratios top 30 percent.