Autobytel.com has hired a Toyota executive to boost its service and parts business.
Glen Caffey, former corporate sales and marketing manager for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s captive insurance company, is now vice president of service products for Autobytel.com., the Irvine, Calif., online buying service.
'Glen's extensive and diverse experience in the automotive industry makes him an excellent candidate to expand this site,' said Mark Lorimer, CEO of Autobytel.com.
Autobytel.com is known mainly for referring online sales prospects to dealers for a fee. Caffey's hire is part of a plan to expand Autobytel.com's service Web site, Service.autobytel.com.
The site, which is used by consumers to get information on repair problems, does sell parts directly. Its profits come from fees paid by dealers who advertise service specials.
The buying service intends to launch an 'Online Automotive Diagnostic Center' on its service site in March. This diagnostic center feature will give consumers possible causes and solutions when they describe problems they are having with their vehicles.
The customer types in a request for advice and the answers come from a database of common repair problems.
Autobytel.com also has:
Hired a service expert to field questions from customers. The service expert will respond to e-mail service questions.
Set up message boards where consumers can post service questions. Participants post service inquiries and ask advice from other visitors to the site.
The service site, launched last June, has an 'Electronic Garage' feature that allows customers to store and receive information on their cars and trucks, including repair and maintenance needs. Customers also receive recall notices and service reminders through the service.
Dealers who subscribe to Autobytel.com's services are able to promote service specials to customers who sign up for the Electronic Garage.