According to New York-based Jupiter Media Metrix, automakers that have sales-oriented Web sites are set for growth, despite the current dominance of online car sales by third-party Web sites such as Carpoint.com and Autobytel.com. The Internet research and ratings company said the manufacturers' sites are well positioned to take the lead due to deeper financial backing, multiple sales channels, and unparalleled access to dealers, consumers, and product information during all stages of car ownership. ``This situation mirrors the retail, travel, and financial services industries, where traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have been growing their online audiences at a faster rate than their Internet-only counterparts,'' says Julie Ask, a Jupiter analyst. According to the July 2001 Media Metrix Internet ratings, unique visitors to car manufacturer sites increased 31.2% over the previous year, from 6.2 million to 8.2 million, while traffic to automotive resource sites increased 25.2% during the same period, from 16 million to 20 million. Ask said if third-party sites want to maintain their lead, they will have to partner with manufacturers and "provide enough value to dealers so that they will be willing to work with multiple sources for leads and advertising." Also according to Jupiter:
- Car shoppers are avidly using the Internet for research, spending an average of more than 10 minutes on automotive sites every month. Only the entertainment category -- heavily concentrated with games -- has higher usage.
- Automotive resource sites Kbb.com, Carpoint.com, Autotrader.com, Autoadvantage.com, and Edmunds.com attract the most unique visitors.
- Toyota Motor Corp. was the top auto advertiser on the Internet in July 2001, followed by Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp. respectively.