Successful dealers are finding that once buyers understand TCO, many more vehicles become an option
Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) July 7, 2008
AutoUSA, the industry's leading provider of the highest quality Internet-generated consumer leads to auto dealers nationwide, today reported a 273 percent increase in Toyota Prius consumer leads from May 2008 year-to-date. AutoUSA's Prius leads have been steadily growing over the past three years, more than doubling from May 2006 to 2007 in addition to the significant spike over the past six months.
"With gas prices continuing to go up, more in-market auto buyers are looking for hybrids and green vehicles," said Phil DuPree, president of AutoUSA. "What we're seeing with the Prius is indicative of the changing buying habits of consumers and new market demands."
The Prius is the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was initially sold in Japan in 1997, and marketed internationally starting in 2001. In May 2008, despite consumer interest, Toyota reported a 40 percent drop in Prius sales. The company attributed the decline to a shortage of batteries that is likely to resolve in January 2009.
"The situation with Prius is frustrating. It's both a good and bad problem," said Mike Martini, sales manager at Burnsville Toyota in Minnesota. "Our closing ratio is being impacted, but we're increasing the number of pre-orders."
Burnsville Toyota is one of the largest Prius dealers in the state. According to Martini, the dealership is averaging three to five Prius pre-orders a day on both Internet and walk-in customers, with a six to eight month wait on delivery.
"We're taking pre-orders, but we're also trying to educate potential Prius buyers on the different options available, such as the Corolla and Camry. Sometimes they don't really need to buy a hybrid because another energy-efficient vehicle will meet their needs," said Martini.
One key piece of information helping environmental and gas-conscious consumers in their vehicle purchasing decision is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). "Successful dealers are finding that once buyers understand TCO, many more vehicles become an option," said DuPree.
AutoUSA provides leads to more than 4,000 dealers nationwide from a partnership network that includes leading automotive web sites including Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, MSN Auto, Yahoo! Autos, AOL and AutoVantage.
About AutoUSA (http://www.AutoUSA.com):
AutoUSA, Inc., is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and a subsidiary of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN), the largest retail automotive company in the United States. AutoUSA is an independent third-party provider of leads to more than 4,000 dealerships. The company has built its success on a combination of advanced web-based technology and a network that includes the country's most well respected online automotive resources, including Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, MSN Autos, Yahoo! Autos, America Online, NADA Analytical Services Group, AutoVantage.com, AutoNation.com and AutoUSA.com. The vast majority of Ward's Top 100 eDealers use AutoUSA. More information is available online at http://www.AutoUSA.com.