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Domestic and Korean Automakers Find Opportunities in the Mid-Winter Chill
Severe Snowstorms Cool Dealers' Lots in February, but Record AutoTrader.com Site Traffic Points to a Warm Spring

ATLANTA, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- New car shopping among retail customers took a turn downward in February as winter weather kept consumers away from dealers' lots in large parts of the country. Still many manufacturers saw good news, as average asking prices continued a steady creep upwards. In addition, record AutoTrader.com site traffic and other market indicators mean that consumers may be ready to buy once the weather turns warmer.

"Winter weather early in the month slowed shopping for new vehicles down in entire parts of the Northeast and Midwest United States," said AutoTrader.com President and CEO Chip Perry. "For dealers looking to move new vehicles, spring weather cannot arrive soon enough."

Shopping activity for some new Toyota vehicles took a dip on AutoTrader.com after showing resilience during the company's current recall situation. Perennial top 20 new models the Toyota Camry and Corolla fell off the top 20 in February. However, the new Toyota Tacoma actually jumped up six spaces, from No. 18 in January of 2010 to No. 12 last month. Toyota was the No. 3 most-viewed brand on AutoTrader.com in February, a position it held in February of last year.

"In the longer term, Toyota will most certainly move past these troubles and will regain the confidence and consideration of consumers searching for their next new vehicle," added Perry.

Two entries from Korea, the new Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan and new Kia Sorento crossover, both benefiting from exposure during the Superbowl, saw big jumps on AutoTrader.com in February. The Sorento jumped from the No. 43 most-viewed new vehicle on AutoTrader.com in January 2010 to No. 18 in February. A year ago February, the Sonata ranked at No 113. The new Hyundai Sonata jumped from No. 95 in January of 2010 to No. 16 last month. The Sonata ranked No. 94 in February of 2009.

"Major events like the Superbowl remain a great way to expose people to a brand and get them to put it in their consideration set," said Perry. "The activity the Sonata and the Sorento experienced on our site following that Superbowl exposure shows how integrating marketing across all channels - mainstream media and on-line - can influence consumers to take a look at your vehicle."

New Ford and Chevrolet models dominated the top 5 of AutoTrader.com's top 20 most-viewed new cars list in February, with Ford capturing the top spot again with the new F-150 pickup truck and Chevy following at No. 2 with the new Camaro.

Used Cars Hold Steady in Activity, Average Asking Prices Rise

The used car market continued to hold steady, as both demand and average asking prices climbed steadily throughout February. Demand for pick-up trucks and SUVs, most likely driven partially by the weather in February, was especially strong. The biggest gainers in views were all among heavy-duty 2500-series pick-ups, including the Ford F-250, up 29% compared to February 2009, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500, up almost 28% from last February, and the Dodge Ram 2500, up 25% from last February. Average asking prices were similarly up for these vehicles, with increases running between 14% for the F-250 to 16% for the Ram.

Shopping for Certified Pre-Owned vehicles was also down due to the same concerns around weather, as well as depleted inventories for these vehicles due to reduced leasing and general slowness in new vehicle sales over the past several years. Still, pricing for CPO vehicles generally rose during February, with trucks and SUVs again leading the way. The Chevrolet Silverado saw average asking prices increase of almost 17% compared to February 2009 for Certified models, while the Honda Pilot crossover saw an increase in average asking prices of 17% compared to last February.

"While shopping activity overall was down somewhat, we still recorded traffic to our site, indicating consumers are more engaged now than they were during most of 2009 in the process of researching a new or used vehicle purchase," said Perry. "Shopping activity on dealer lots slowed by bad weather will likely lead to a strong March as consumers who stayed away from the lots in February venture back out as the weather warms."

In February, AutoTrader.com logged 15.5 million unique monthly visitors, the highest February traffic the company had ever experienced. AutoTrader.com also hit a record traffic day on February 15 with 986,052 unique visitors on that day.

About AutoTrader.com

AutoTrader.com, created in 1997 and headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., is the Internet's leading auto classifieds marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private owners. The site attracts about 15 million unique monthly visitors. Through innovative merchandising functionality such as multiple photos, videos, detailed descriptions and comprehensive research and compare tools, AutoTrader.com unites new and used car buyers and sellers online to improving the way people research, locate and advertise vehicles. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.




                                       Change      Avg       Avg       Change
                     Rank  Rank  Rank   from      Price -   Price -     from
    MAKE     MODEL   2/10  2/09  1/10   2/09       2/10      2/09       2/09
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       New Cars
                                       --------
    Ford     F-150   1     1     1    -36.20%  $36,055.04  $33,242.28    8.46%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet   Camaro  2   516     3  39303.57%  $33,996.88         N/A      N/A
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford     Mustang 3     3     4    -31.58%  $32,275.55  $32,495.91   -0.68%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-   Silverado
    -rolet   1500    4     2     2    -36.70%  $34,044.33  $31,848.41    6.89%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet   Equinox 5    88     5    209.42%  $27,316.13  $26,254.35    4.04%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet   Tahoe   6    16     6    -28.72%  $49,518.23  $47,709.91    3.79%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeep    Wrangler 7     5    13    -42.66%  $28,936.64  $27,337.18    5.85%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Accord   8    12    10    -35.10%  $25,958.71  $25,871.68    0.34%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    F-250    9    13    12    -34.85%  $44,521.29  $42,261.61    5.35%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Civic   10    14    14    -35.20%  $19,955.25  $20,895.57   -4.50%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    Fusion  11    40     9     19.38%  $25,706.41  $22,628.46   13.60%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toyota  Tacoma  12     6    18    -45.38%  $26,176.99  $25,141.20    4.12%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GMC    Terrain  13   N/A     8       N/A   $29,856.59         N/A     N/A
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nissan  Altima  14    25    19    -19.11%  $24,696.06  $24,544.49    0.62%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    Escape  15    23    15    -22.96%  $27,659.60  $25,975.57    6.48%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hyundai Sonata  16    94    95    124.19%  $21,588.11  $21,828.39   -1.10%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GMC     Sierra
             1500   17    26    16    -22.24%  $36,231.49  $34,239.77    5.82%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kia    Sorento  18   113    43    187.34%  $26,128.20  $24,431.63    6.94%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Volks-
    -wagen  Jetta   19    31    30    -18.96%  $23,354.64  $22,509.63    3.75%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dodge Ram 1500  20     4    21    -57.70%  $34,248.32  $33,851.53    1.17%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                      Used Cars
                                      ---------
    Ford    F-150    1     1     1      9.44%  $19,419.85  $16,495.26   17.73%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-  Silverado
    -rolet   1500    2     2     2     10.62%  $18,907.32  $16,082.87   17.56%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    Mustang  3     4     3    -13.05%  $16,972.80  $16,063.85    5.66%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    F-250    4     5     8     29.53%  $23,243.20  $20,305.38   14.47%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Accord   5     6     4     -4.38%  $15,612.72  $15,119.13    3.26%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dodge   Ram      6     7     5     -4.26%  $17,486.41  $14,898.53   17.37%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet  Tahoe    7     8     9     10.26%  $24,322.19  $20,586.32   18.15%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Civic    8     9     7    -11.61%  $13,410.80  $13,512.40   -0.75%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeep   Wrangler  9    11    11     11.38%  $19,169.42  $16,171.96   18.53%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-  Silverado
    -rolet   2500   10    10    17     27.79%  $22,768.32  $19,829.73   14.82%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nissan  Altima  11    12    13      5.48%  $14,428.10  $13,976.05    3.23%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Infiniti G35/G37 12   14     6    -23.22%  $22,174.67  $20,380.81    8.80%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Dodge   Ram 2500 13   13    20     24.99%  $24,279.56  $20,874.87   16.31%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    Explorer 14   17    14     -3.46%  $15,523.03  $14,011.62   10.79%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toyota  Tacoma   15   15    16     -2.69%  $18,902.66  $17,188.78    9.97%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeep   Grand                                                      
           Cherokee  16   18    10    -17.34%  $16,386.46  $14,505.73   12.97%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BMW    5-Series  17   16    12    -12.22%  $29,673.73  $29,524.91    0.50%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Volks-
    -wagen  Jetta    18   23    22     -4.27%  $12,983.42  $12,551.62    3.44%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Audi     A4      19   22    15    -20.33%  $20,599.06  $20,268.76    1.63%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GMC    Sierra 
            1500     20   24    37     27.02%  $19,816.00  $16,783.04   18.07%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------



                                       Change      Avg       Avg       Change
                     Rank  Rank  Rank   from      Price -   Price -     from
    MAKE     MODEL   2/10  2/09  1/10   2/09       2/10      2/09       2/09
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                   Certified Pre-Owned
                                   -------------------
    BMW    3-Series  1     1      1   -20.20%  $31,199.47  $31,614.70   -1.31%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda  Accord    2     2      2    -5.00%  $18,140.18  $17,672.41    2.65%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-  Silverado
    -rolet   1500    3     3      3   -12.64%  $23,351.81  $19,978.35   16.89%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet  Tahoe    4     4      4    -4.27%  $31,631.90  $27,590.83   14.65%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    F-150    5     5      6    -4.91%  $23,603.74  $21,076.88   11.99%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BMW     5-Series 6     6      5   -18.28%  $37,037.79  $35,786.19    3.50%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toyota  Tundra   7     7      7   -27.06%  $24,747.78  $21,605.32   14.54%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Audi    A4       8    11     11   -18.01%  $26,455.67  $24,689.76    7.15%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Civic    9     9      8   -22.68%  $16,154.28  $16,334.56   -1.10%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toyota  Tacoma  10    10     12   -24.03%  $21,868.32  $20,096.18    8.82%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toyota  Camry   11     8      9   -31.61%  $18,172.03  $18,287.68   -0.63%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Acura   TL      12    12     16    -7.34%  $27,026.21  $24,174.21   11.80%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mercedes-
     Benz   E-Class 13    14     10   -39.09%  $37,564.41  $34,090.31   10.19%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ford    Mustang 14    13     20    -9.31%  $20,141.20  $18,457.75    9.12%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Honda   Pilot   15    16     28    -0.70%  $24,511.50  $20,947.69   17.01%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet  Impala  16    18     13   -35.70%  $16,279.21  $15,207.79    7.05%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mercedes-
     Benz   C-Class 17    19     18   -19.11%  $30,099.36  $26,305.75   14.42%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Volks-
    -wagen  Jetta   18    22     27    -7.34%  $15,976.79  $14,909.75    7.16%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    GMC     Sierra 
             1500   19    20     32    10.32%  $24,376.07  $20,288.96   20.14%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chev-
    -rolet Suburban 20    23     23    -9.67%  $33,480.58  $29,024.59   15.35%
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------




                TOP-VIEWED       Rank    Rank
                  BRANDS         2/10    2/09
              --------------------------------
              Ford                 1       2
              --------------------------------
              Chevrolet            2       1
              --------------------------------
              Toyota               3       3
              --------------------------------
              Honda                4       5
              --------------------------------
              Dodge                5       4
              --------------------------------
              Nissan               6       6
              --------------------------------
              Hyundai              7       7
              --------------------------------
              Kia                  8      21
              --------------------------------
              Jeep                 9       9
              --------------------------------
              BMW                 10      11
              --------------------------------

SOURCE AutoTrader.com

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