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Owned by CATA dealers, DriveChicago.com operates for benefit of dealers

November 18, 2010

For CATA dealers, it is free to list new- and used-vehicle inventories on DriveChicago.com. Compare that to the costs to list on competitors like Cars.com, AutoTrader.com and Autobytel.

 

DriveChicago.com is owned by the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and has a goal of cultivating car shoppers, guiding them through the selection process and delivering them to CATA member dealers. Note that NO PART of that mission statement contains the phrase "make money." That’s what sets DriveChicago.com apart from other dealer inventory portals.

 

Because DriveChicago.com is focused solely on delivering customers to CATA dealers, it doesn’t confront consumers with additional offers designed to generate revenue and it doesn’t charge dealers to list inventories. DriveChicago.com simply puts the dealer’s inventory first.

 

For example, when a consumer requests a quote for a car through Cars.com, the customer receives a follow-up e-mail that includes opportunities to obtain financing and insurance. While that might benefit the consumer, it certainly doesn’t benefit the dealer, who, in essence, is paying for that quote and offering similar services.

 

On AutoTrader.com, inventory display pages offer direct links to financing and assorted dealer advertisements—features that compete with services offered by dealers who, again, are paying to have inventory displayed on the portal.

 

DriveChicago.com is designed to help shoppers quickly find vehicles in the Chicago area and then contact dealers for more information. DriveChicago.com isn’t designed to present the consumer with a dizzying array of additional services intended to generate revenue.

 

"Banner ads for express oil change centers and the like are a distraction for viewers, and such businesses are our competitors. We’ll never go down that road," said Arthur Kelly, chairman of the CATA board’s DriveChicago committee.

 

Also unlike its counterparts, DriveChicago.com 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.

 

Listing inventory on DriveChicago.com is as simple as calling 630-424-6080. There’s no set-up fee, no monthly charges and no limit to leads. The portal features more than 520 local dealerships and more than 110,000 new and used vehicles.

 

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

 

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