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Auto Trader claims big lead over rivals

According to independent research, the Auto Trader website has taken a huge lead in the online automotive sector.

Graham Storey, chief executive officer, Trade Media Group, publishers of the magazine and website, said: “We knew we were performing strongly, but even we were surprised by just how well.”

Internet intelligence experts Hitwise monitored 1,000 automotive websites in September and revealed that Autotrader.co.uk dominated the market with a 53.6% share. Parkers held second spot with 5.7%, while Fish4Cars was third with 3.6%.

Trade Media group has invested £20m in the Auto Trader website, launched in 1997. It intends to redevelop the site further this month.

“The success we have achieved is owed to our simple business model, to bring buyers and sellers together in one place,” said Mr Storey.

The number of visitors has grown by 70% in the past 12 months, and the site now receives 7.5m visitors a month. It has encouraged dealers, who pay a fixed £1 fee to advertise stock, to exploit the internet as a cost-effective way to improve stock management, and widen their customer base.

“We stress to dealers how useful the internet is as a means of updating vehicle advertising such as descriptions, prices and photos, and also how easy it is to do,” said Mr Storey.

The website and Auto Trader magazine have more than 5,000 franchised dealers advertising new and used stock. “Dealers are becoming incredibly switched on to the internet side of the business,” Mr Storey added.

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