Dealers appear to be dumping third-party online buying services as they gain experience fielding Internet sales leads themselves, according to new statistics from the National Automobile Dealers Association.
The percentage of dealerships saying they subscribe to these services dropped for the first time since NADA began surveying dealerships about their Web sites in 1997. Internet buying services, which send dealers online referrals for a fee or actually broker transactions and collect a commission on the sale, had seen substantial increases in their dealer business in recent years.
Now, however, less than half of dealers subscribe to third-party online buying services.
'Those buying services charge for referrals and dealers are increasingly discovering that they can develop their own referrals,' said Paul Taylor, chief economist for NADA.
This year 40.5 percent of the dealerships surveyed said they subscribe to an online buying service, compared with 54 percent in 1999, 30.8 percent in 1998 and 21.4 percent in 1997.