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With many auto dealers closing their doors or cutting back on advertising, AutoTrader has announced that it has laid off a “modest percentage” of its field representatives to keep the company stable.

In a video addressed to the AutoTrader community,  CEO Chip Perry and Alan Smith, senior VP of dealer sales, emphasized that the Cox-owned company is “rock solid” and is “very bullish on the future.” They noted that traffic to the site hit a record 16 million visitors last month, and they believe there is “pent-up demand” in the marketplace.

AutoTrader is beefing up its online advertising, as it anticipates more auto marketing dollars moving online. Three times more is being spent on advertising in 2009 than in 2008, said Perry.

The company is also investing “tens of millions of dollars” on technology and in a NADA program to train reps about how dealerships work. The tech investments include a new home page that makes dealer links and car offers more prominent.

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