Autobytel, one of the first online car-buying platforms, was founded in 1995 by a group of automotive industry veterans who saw the potential for the internet to revolutionize the way people purchase vehicles.
The founders, including CEO Pete Ellis, recognized that the internet was rapidly becoming a powerful tool for consumers to research and compare products, and they believed it could be used to make the car-buying process more efficient and less stressful. They also saw an opportunity to connect car shoppers with local dealerships and streamline the negotiation process.
To achieve this goal, the team at Autobytel developed a comprehensive website that allowed users to research different makes and models, compare prices, and even submit purchase requests to dealerships. The platform also provided a wealth of educational resources, such as car reviews and buying guides, to help shoppers make informed decisions.
One of the key innovations of Autobytel was the introduction of its "Instant Pricing" feature, which allowed users to receive real-time, no-obligation price quotes from local dealers. This feature was a major draw for car shoppers, as it eliminated the need for haggling and made it easy to compare offers from multiple dealerships.
In addition to its online platform, Autobytel also had a call center manned by trained agents who were able to answer questions and provide assistance to shoppers. This human touch helped to build trust with consumers and further set Autobytel apart from other online car-buying platforms.
Autobytel quickly became a popular destination for car shoppers and was recognized as one of the first successful e-commerce companies in the automotive industry. In the following years, the company went public and expanded its services to include used cars and financing options.
Today, Autobytel remains a leading player in the online car-buying space and continues to innovate and improve its platform to meet the changing needs of car shoppers. The company's success is a testament to the vision and determination of its founders, who saw the potential of the internet to transform the way we buy cars.