Official Web Site of America’s Largest Auto Show Unveils Hot New Cars and Examines Age-Old Anxieties
DETROIT, Jan. 5, 1998 — As more than 50 new car models are unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it’s clear that consumers face an increasingly complex array of vehicle choices. Already, more than 67 percent of Americans are overwhelmed by the process of finding and buying the car that is right for them, according to a new survey* conducted by the Microsoft® CarPoint
online automotive service, the official Web site of the North American International Auto Show. Time, price and emotion are key factors that affect the car-buying process and jangle the nerves of American consumers, the survey found. In fact, consumers have such strong emotional ties to their cars that 65 percent consider them to be members of the family and 56 percent give their cars more regular health checkups than they have themselves, the new survey showed.
CarPoint, an extensive online car-buying information site whose new version, launched in October 1997, can help users improve their relationship with their car while it simplifies the car-buying process. By offering everything consumers need to make a smart car purchase, from research to sale, CarPoint helps users gain control of their automotive relationship. Internet users can go to http://www.carpoint.com/ and use a variety of features to evaluate what car best suits their needs. Three hundred and sixty-degree surround videos take buyers inside the car they’re interested in. A side-by-side new- and used-car comparison chart provides information about specific cars, including specifications, features, crash test results and Kelley Blue Book pricing and reliability ratings. Other tools and resources on CarPoint include comprehensive coverage of the auto show, with webcasts of new car unveilings and a virtual tour of the show floor.
“Cars are such an important part of who we are,” said Mark Hickling, editor of CarPoint. “That’s why it’s important to make the right choice when buying a car. CarPoint offers the most advanced software technology so consumers can get the best information to make smart decisions and easy purchases.”
To help explore the inner depths of the car relationship, CarPoint created CarPoint Analysis, which helps users match their personalities with the right car for them. (To access CarPoint Analysis, users must complete the sweepstakes entry form available at the Web site.) Developed by Dr. Will Miller, noted psychotherapist from “Nick at Nite,” and Lucille Treganowan, the legendary auto mechanic-grandmother, CarPoint Analysis puts people with dysfunctional car relationships on the road to recovery. With CarPoint Analysis, users answer a few questions about their car history and receive an instant prescription for the car that’s right for them, from the hottest new models being launched at the show to a selection of more than 100,000 reliable used-car classics. Whatever the prescription, everybody who participates gets the chance to win a free two-year lease on a new BMW Z3 in the CarPoint Analysis sweepstakes. For complete rules, visit http://www.carpoint.com/ or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 6109, Young America, MN 55558-6109.
“Our culture is attuned to the benefits of psychotherapy,” Miller said. “People seek counseling on relationships with their spouses, family members and, yes, even their cars. CarPoint Analysis allows car buyers to go through the process of introspection in the privacy of their homes, without the pressure to make an impulse decision.”
“When we can break down a big decision like buying a car into smaller parts, it becomes less overwhelming,” said Treganowan, author of “Lucille’s Car Care: Everything You Need to Know From Under the Hood.” “That’s what CarPoint does,” she said. “If only it were so easy to fix transmissions!”
Microsoft CarPoint, started in 1995, is available free on the World Wide Web at http://www.carpoint.com/ (connect-time charges may apply).
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MFST”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
*Source: National car-buying habits survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Market Facts Inc. The margin of error for a survey of this size is plus or minus four percentage points. Copies of this survey are available from Edelman Public Relations, (415) 433-5381.
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