Job Cuts, Restructuring Send Autoweb Lower

Autoweb.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AWEB) wasdown 1/64 at 33/64 early Monday, following the company’s announcement thatit plans to cut jobs and restructure operations.

The Santa Clara, California-based online auto company said it will reduceits workforce by about 25 percent as it moves to concentrate on “content andtechnology offerings, order fulfillment and customer relationship managementfor the automotive industry.”

The job cuts, announced after the close of trading Friday, will save aboutUS$10 million a year, and will “further the company’s plans to move quickly toprofitability,” Autoweb said.

Autoweb chief executive officer Jeffrey Schwartz said the company will alsocontinue to leverage its relationships with automotive manufacturer Ford Motor Company, dealer group AutoNation and Internet portal America Online.

Schwartz was optimistic about the market for Autoweb’s services. “Almost60 percent of all automotive shoppers currently research their vehiclepurchases online,” Schwartz said. “As a result of the Autoweb network’s expansivereach to automotive shoppers across the Internet and our ability to leverageour automotive content, technology and data, we will continue to reinforceour position.”

Though studies show consumers are turning more and more to the Internet whenbuying cars, most seem to use the Web for research rather actual purchases of cars or insurance. Just recently, Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) lost the head of its auto division, Maryann Keller, who reportedly questioned the viability of online auto sales when she left the organization.

Autoweb provides information about cars and related products and services,referring users to local dealers and other partners.

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