Autoweb Adds Allies In Duel With Autobytel

In an effort to compete with top competitor Autobytel, online automobile resource Autoweb.com (Nasdaq: AWEB) has brought financial software company Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) and online business network Hoover’s Online (Nasdaq: HOOV) into its stable of Internet allies.

Hoover’s has signed up Autoweb.com as the exclusive sponsor of the auto information section of the Hoover’s Online site. Hoover’s Online will promote Autoweb.com throughout its site with graphics that link to a co-branded site within Hoover’s Money channel.

Additionally, Hoover’s Online visitors will have direct access to Autoweb.com’s automotive-related tools and resources. The site will include new and used auto listings, bluebook values for current vehicles, reviews, safety recall notices and technical service bulletins, and other information.

Autoweb.com’s moves come less than a week after Autobytel.com announced plans to buy Carsmart.com for 1.8 million shares of common stock and $3 million (US$) in cash, thereby consolidating the nascent online auto sales business.

Through that deal, Autobytel.com will inherit relationships that Carsmart.com has developed with major portals such as AOL, GO Network, AltaVista, LookSmart and Snap.com.

Insuring Online Sales

Through its agreement with Intuit, Autoweb.com will add the software company ‘s Quicken InsureMarket service to the Autoweb.com site. The move could also give Intuit a boost as it makes a bid to expand from its background of personal and small business bookkeeping to compete directly with online auto insurance brokers like InsWeb.

While Autoweb.com will promote the branded Intuit product on its site, Intuit will promote the online auto dealer on its consumer Web site and integrate Autoweb.com and InsureMarket into its Quicken PC bookkeeping software program.

Quicken InsureMarket offers insurance information and real-time price quotes from more than 45 insurance companies. It is available in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The company claims that the service is the first and only online insurance service to allow consumers to shop for competitive insurance rates and complete the purchase of multiple auto insurance policies online.

Combined, the two companies expect to market the service to more than three million Internet visitors per month. They hope to use their partnership to accelerate the current trends toward auto and insurance sales on the Internet.

According to Forrester Research, Inc., the automobile insurance market generates about $120 billion in revenue each year. An increasingly larger piece of that pie is expected to wind up in online sales, the research firm says, projecting $3.5 billion in sales by 2001 and $11.1 billion by 2003.

About Autoweb.com

Autoweb.com works with more than 5,000 member dealers and other online commerce partners to compile auto listings and other information to help consumers make informed purchase decisions.

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