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Redesigned site launches

November 22, 2010

A revitalized DriveChicago Web portal, now featuring more than 100,000 vehicles from the inventories of CATA dealers, debuted April 28. The total listings the most extensive new- and used-vehicle offering on the Internet for area consumers. 

To trumpet the portal upgrade, an extensive radio advertising campaign began airing April 18, with 60-second spots playing on 12 Chicago stations, and 10- and 15-second spots on nearly every station in the market.


And an energized DriveChicago InPrint, a weekly advertising publication featuring the vehicles of CATA dealers, now numbers 100 pages and is available at about 1,500 locations. 

The redesigned portal, with the theme, "virtually every vehicle in town," is easier for consumers to navigate, and the numbers of unique users and resultant leads both were up in the first days following the portal’s re-launch.


"Everything you do on the site now is about getting to a lead submission form," said DriveChicago General Manager Don Longacre. 

The new also is easier for dealers to manage. Once a dealer’s inventory is established, images can be uploaded and prices changed quickly, and the changes appear instantly. The portal employs WebMakerX to make such changes. If a dealership uses the WebMakerX platform for its own site, any changes would appear instantly in both places.


"The DriveChicago portal has been optimized for response time, and that’s something we have been focusing on for the better part of three or four months," said Longacre. "Right now, we have 80 percent of the dealer data on the portal." 

For $295, a dealer can feature 10 cars in the weekly DriveChicago InPrint and get liner ads for each of those 10 cars in the Chicago Sun-Times for four days.


"Some dealers use a one-two punch of the 10-car deal plus a display page in DriveChicago InPrint," Longacre said. "The display ad is another $200, and the results for dealers have been great." 

DriveChicago InPrint is available at the combined 700 outlets of area Jewel and Dominick’s grocery stores; 7-Eleven convenience stores; Blockbuster movie rental outlets; and Bally Total Fitness locations. The publication also is positioned at another 800 banks, restaurants, colleges, gas stations, offices and other high-traffic areas. is co-owned by the CATA and by Hollinger International, the parent company of the Sun-Times, the Daily Southtown, the Post-Tribune in northwest Indiana, and the Pioneer Press chain of 53 suburban weekly newspapers. It is a strategic alliance that gives CATA dealers preferential placement in all the publications. 

The radio spots use a "man on the street" approach with real consumers. The slightly comical and upbeat tone allows helps distinguish the spots in a crowded commercial landscape. The campaign continues through the year.


DriveChicago also offers free, ongoing instruction for Internet managers, to help them stay on top of ever-changing technologies. Notice of any instruction is posted on the portal. 

A new company business model gives all DriveChicago benefits to every CATA dealer, including a presence on the portal. Some dealers are not participating yet. Call 630-424-6080 to establish a connection.


"To my knowledge," Longacre said, "no other Web portal matches the penetration of"