Pursuing its goal of becoming the leading provider of automotive information to consumers, Edmunds.com is launching several new programs to bolster its Internet presence. In addition, the Santa Monica, Calif., company last month hired retail consultant Jeremy Anwyl of Marketec Systems Inc. in Santa Ana, Calif., to be its COO.
Edmunds has long been known for its consumer-friendly lists of vehicle invoice prices and incentive data. But now the company is redesigning its Web site, Edmunds.com, to be more user-friendly, so that it doesn't require hopping among a lot of links to get information. It is expanding its scope, too, including all vehicle specifications going back 10 years.
Edmunds also has launched a simplified Internet link accessible from Web-ready cellular telephones and PalmPilots, and is creating glossy-paper workbooks for every new vehicle on the market. These will detail pricing, vehicle specifications and equipment packages with competitive comparisons, a staff review, and a summary of recent discussions in the Town Hall chat room. Think of it as an impartial product brochure.
On the retail side of the business, Edmunds is listing new and used cars from dealer aggregators such as MSN CarPoint, Autobytel.com and Priceline, which will pay Edmunds to list their vehicles on the site. But instead of just linking to those e-commerce services, Edmunds.com will let consumers rank and critique those services at the Edmunds site.
Edmunds also will put its public face forward when it conducts consumer ride-and-drive clinics around the country this summer. Although manufacturers often perform road shows, Anwyl believes this will be the first time a third-party service will let prospects test vehicles without a salesperson present.
The ride-and-drives will be held in 10 cities, with an expected total attendance of between 75,000 and 100,000 people.
Anwyl predicts visitors to the Edmunds.com site will soar from 1.5 million last month to 2.4 million by year end. Now that's growth.
Mark Rechtin can be reached at [email protected] or (323) 651-3710