Donchak cites company research that concludes 85 percent of Hispanic shoppers would prefer to do their research and buying in a Spanish-language environment. Autobytel's sales numbers show those consumers want to buy over the Internet, he says.
Angela Jacobson, Autobytel's Hispanic outreach manager, says Hispanics are three times more likely than are non-Hispanic consumers to purchase a vehicle over the Internet.
"Hispanics are willing to go there to shop," Jacobson says. "We think we've been in front of the trend."
Autobytel spent nearly two years preparing the Spanish site. The first phase consisted of two pages of Spanish-language information that helped consumers through the vehicle-buying process.
The company then added articles and comparison tools through AIC, Autobytel's vehicle data and content division.
Autobytel En Espanol does not display used-vehicle inventory in Spanish. But Autobytel plans to debut at least three initiatives on the site in the next few months, Donchak says.
One will enable a site visitor to contact a Spanish-speaking dealer, he says. New partnerships with automakers' consumer Web sites are on the way, he adds.
Donchak did not disclose Autobytel's investment in the new site. But Lombardo says Autobytel is not charging her more for the Spanish-language service.
She pays $600 a month to include her inventory and dealer purchase page on Autobytel's site.
Says Lombardo: "The Spanish site only helps."