Auto dealerships using customer management systems perform 15 percent better than competitors, according to University of Maryland Business School study

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New Research Also Shows 91 Percent of Dealers Report Customer Management Systems Create Value During Selling Process

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 11, 2006 -- Auto dealerships using customer management systems are performing 15 percent better than competitors, according to new research from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. The finding is part of initial results from a comprehensive third-party research study conducted by the Smith School. The research is based on a survey issued by researchers in the Department of Decision and Information Technologies and distributed through Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL) to customer dealerships, including those that use Autobytel's Web Control(R) system and Retention Performance Marketing (RPM(R)) program. The research, which is among the first of its kind from a major academic research institution, also shows 91 percent of survey respondents reported customer management systems have created value in the vehicle sales process.

The study defines customer management systems as information systems used to attract and manage leads/customers through pre and post sales activities. Additional research results are expected to measure how automated service retention programs affect dealership performance, as well as how information technology influences employee effectiveness for both sales and service departments.

"Information technology has had a transformational effect on the retail auto industry--and nowhere is this more evident than in dealerships' relationships with their customers," said Jason Kuruzovich, lead researcher and doctoral candidate in information systems at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. "These results suggest that a dealership's adoption and use of customer-focused technologies during the sales process can be a critical source of competitive advantage."

Complete results from the University of Maryland study are expected in April 2006 and will be available for review.

Research Supports Continuing Value of Autobytel's Web Control System

These research findings include data from dealers who use Autobytel's customer management system, Web Control. These users further support the value dealers around the country consistently find using customer management systems.

"The Web Control technology is easy to use and simple to navigate," said Nick DiNunzio, director of business development for the Asbury Automotive Group. "The system has enabled us to create a more compelling customer experience that directly benefits our sales volume. As a result, our closing ratios, which often reach 20 percent or more, are far above the industry average."

The Web Control system spans the sales lifecycle, managing everything from third party phone leads to driver's license scans that feed directly into the dealership's system. The product also has a specialized de-duplication feature that automatically associates and flags duplicate leads that come in through multiple sources, preventing a multitude of lead ownership issues down the road.

In 2005, Autobytel was the only company to achieve top rankings for both its lead management and lead generation services among the nation's top100 Internet dealers. In addition, more than half the nation's top MegaDealers(a) use the Web Control system to manage their sales processes.

About the Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research for the digital economy. One of 13 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, Executive MBA, PhD, and Executive Education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in four continents including North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. More information about the Robert H. Smith School of Business can be found at

About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), a leading Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing, advertising, data and CRM products and programs. It's estimated that every 7.5 seconds an American car shopper requests a vehicle through Autobytel, which owns and operates the automotive,,,,,, and This automotive research and buying network reaches millions of car shoppers each month as they make their vehicle buying decisions, generating billions of dollars in sales for dealers. A leader in dealership customer management and CRM solutions, Autobytel also owns and operates AVV, Inc., a top provider of dealership CRM and sales management products, and Retention Performance Marketing, Inc., (RPM(R)), which powers dealerships with cutting-edge customer loyalty and retention marketing programs. Autobytel's AIC (Automotive Information Center) has been a trusted industry source of automotive marketing data and technology for over 20 years. Autobytel Inc. is the only company to achieve top rankings for both its lead management and lead generation services among the nation's top-100 Internet dealers.

(a) According to Ward's Dealer Business, May 2005

Autobytel Inc.
Melanie Webber, 949-862-3023

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