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Freshened DriveChicago Web portal keeps dealer leads coming

November 17, 2010

A freshened home page of the DriveChicago Web portal unveiled in October assumes a more retail-looking appearance and apparently is helping area dealers convert their leads, even in a down economy.

Since the new look was unveiled, CATA Internet Director Mark Bilek said general traffic on the portal is down, but DriveChicago is holding steady in the number of leads it delivers to CATA dealers.

"That means we’re doing a better job of converting visitors," he said.

Kurt Schiele, who leads the DriveChicago Committee for the CATA Board of Directors, said the portal’s new look emits a contemporary feel that was needed since the last overhaul. Links to manufacturer-sorted inventory on DriveChicago and other tools like the Black Book trade-in appraiser have been moved to the forefront.

"You only have a few moments to capture the viewer’s attention," Schiele said.

Changes to the home page will be followed in the months ahead with improvements to the dealer inventory pages that offer more details and easier links for shoppers to pursue.

All CATA dealers and only CATA dealers appear on DriveChicago. And it is free to dealers as a member service.

Also, unlike its counterparts, doesn’t permit private sellers to list vehicles nor does it allow used-car dealers to list inventory. That makes CATA member inventory exclusive and not clouded by "blue-light specials" designed to draw consumers away from legitimate vehicles.

It also levels the playing field because consumers know that by searching on DriveChicago, they’re going to get services only new-car dealers offer.

Questions about DriveChicago can be directed to Bilek at 630-424-6082. To check inventory status on the portal, call Matt Hohman at 630-424-6084.