When you are searching for your next car where do you go to find it? Chances are you start with a 3rd party site like Cars.com or Autotrader. Most consumers don't have time to visit every dealership's webpage; therefore, if a dealer doesn't list their inventory on one of these sites they risk losing sales.

Of course getting inventory on these sites is not cheap, dealerships sometimes pay up to tens of thousands of dollars for premium listings. This advertising cost cuts into profits and large dealership chains like CarMax and Autonation want to build their own brand and some have attempted to go on their own. Automotive News reports that CarMax is returning to Cars.com and Autotrader after being absent from those sites for 16 months.

Even though CarMax has seen an increase in profits over the last quarter growth has stalled. Now that more used car inventory is hitting the lots and prices are falling, places like CarMax need every bit of exposure they can get to reach customers.

Often customers prefer these third party sites not only for convenience but for easy comparison shopping. Greg McGivney vice president of strategy for Cars.com released the following statement.

"Consumers get hit with an overwhelming number of marketing messages when car shopping. They turn to independent research sites like Cars.com to access an unparalleled amount of dealership and vehicle information, all within a single, unbiased platform, which empowers shoppers to take control of the buying process. In the automotive industry, where trust is scarce, consumers depend on independent research sites to validate their decisions and build confidence leading up to a purchase, often well before visiting a dealership's website or stepping foot on the lot. Not having a presence on these sites means auto marketers are removing themselves from consideration with consumers."

How many different listing sites do you visit when shopping for a car?

If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.

Image: AP