IntelliChoice.com Names Top Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Programs for 2008

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IntelliChoice.com (http://www.intellichoice.com), the leading provider of automotive cost and value analysis and part of Source Interlink Media, today announced the winners of its ninth annual ranking of certified pre-owned (CPO) manufacturer-sponsored programs. Overall, Volvo beat out Cadillac for the best Luxury program--one year after Cadillac ended Jaguar's long reign in the category--while Volkswagen was recognized for the fourth straight year for best Non-Luxury program. The rankings were unveiled at the 2008 National Remarketing Conference & Used Car Expo, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CPO programs hinge on used car inventory

    "The luxury field in CPOs is very competitive, but Volvo edged out Cadillac on the basis of a strong compliance program," said James Bell, publisher and editor of IntelliChoice.com. "In general, the top luxury programs offer similar car warranties, and many received high scores, which shows that Volvo had that extra edge over the competition."

Among the non-Luxury contenders, Hyundai made the most progress by moving from last place in 2007 to third this year. "Hyundai's inspection score went from 58 to 90," said Bell. "They accomplished the feat of climbing up out of last place by making several positive changes, including new special car financing offers, requirement of a VHR, and the expansion of their car warranty from 6 years to 10."

CPOs are cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles that have been both leased or traded in and thoroughly inspected prior to sale. As the only consumer automotive site that evaluates and ranks all CPO programs, Intellichoice.com says that CPO vehicles will only play a larger role for consumers, car dealers and automakers.

"CPO programs hinge on used car inventory," Bell said. "Leasing has not been very popular for the last few years, and that limits CPO vehicles that are on the market today. However, car leasing is gaining in popularity this year due to rising interest rates, and we expect the same will happen in 2008. This in turn will drive CPO inventory in the years to come." Bell added that this year's criteria for the CPO awards differ from last year's, primarily to accommodate consumers' demand for comprehensive auto warranty programs on CPO vehicles derived from their proprietary Used Car Cost of Ownership Analysis.

So far in 2007, over one million CPO vehicles were sold, a number that is sure to be challenged in 2008. All major automakers now have a CPO program and IntelliChoice.com investigates and analyzes 31 different manufacturer programs.

IntelliChoice.com's Best Certified Pre-Owned Awards are presented in the Luxury and Non-Luxury classes. The top five rated programs in each class for 2008 are:

In addition to Volvo and Volkswagen, other notable performances include Jaguar, which tied with Cadillac for the second spot. Jaguar was undefeated for 5 years in a row until last year when Cadillac beat them. In the Non-Luxury class, VW won a close fight over MINI, while Mazda and Toyota slipped off the top 5 radar.

Methodology

IntelliChoice.com initiated a certified pre-owned awards program eight years ago to address the significant growth of the CPO offering and consumer demand for comprehensive analysis. Programs are rated on a set of criteria that consumers identify as having the most value, such as extended car warranties, title verification, certification inspection process and roadside assistance in addition to special financing and return exchange policies. As was done last year, this year's criteria were extended to include program/dealer compliance and brand value.

The most important considerations cited by consumers when shopping for a certified pre-owned vehicle are the automobile warranties and inspections offered by the manufacturers. To ensure consumers receive the most complete information, there were slight fundamental changes to the IntelliChoice methodology to assess the Best Auto Warranty program this year. Based on consumer feedback and opinion, minor percentage weighting changes were made. IntelliChoice.com also explored how age and mileage of a vehicle affected the total warranty benefits as well as beyond the new car warranty.

Complete Rankings

Following is IntelliChoice.com's complete ranking of automakers' CPO program:

About IntelliChoice.com

IntelliChoice.com, part of Source Interlink Media, is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and value analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice.com is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the IntelliChoice.com web site (http://www.intellichoice.com), consumers get the help they need to research, compare, configure and price vehicles. The site also connects buyers to the buying alternatives of their choice, including vehicle manufacturers and an online car buying guide. Source Interlink Media is a division of Source Interlink Companies, Inc., (NASDAQ: SORC), a media and marketing services company. Source Interlink (http://www.sourceinterlink.com) is one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences and a leading distributor of home entertainment products, including DVDs, music CDs, magazines, games, books and related items.

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