MSN CarPoint Launches Consumer Market Intelligence Service To Help Auto Dealers and Manufacturers Build the Cars Consumers Want

REDMOND, Wash., July 24, 2000 — MSN® CarPoint™
, the most-visited car-buying site on the Web, today announced the launch of CarPoint Market Update, a new monthly data service newsletter that provides the auto industry, including manufacturers and their suppliers, with regular statistics about the car makes, models and features consumers want to purchase.

The CarPoint online automotive service derives its unparalleled data from high consumer traffic levels, which provide valuable insight into car-buying preferences. CarPoint Market Update captures information on pure, pre-purchase demand for what consumers initially look for in a car, rather than actual car sales data, which is influenced by available dealer inventory and manufacturer rebates and incentives. This real-time consumer data can be accessed, analyzed and applied by auto manufacturers and suppliers to help guide their product design, production planning and marketing efforts.

This service represents the first phase in steps CarPoint is taking to deliver real-time consumer data to manufacturers and dealers from the largest pool of car buyers online. Future phases will include not only analysis of consumer buying preferences, but also data on changing consumer needs, new product feedback, and the ability to measure the effectiveness of marketing promotions in real time. According to this year’s Goldman Sachs Investment Research, on average, dealers hold inventory for 75 days each year, for a carrying cost of $431 per vehicle. Autodata Corp. reported that the three largest automakers in the United States saw their
“average per vehicle incentive”
rise 6.7 percent to $1,991 from last year.

“There is a tremendous technology opportunity within the auto industry to provide actual pre-purchase data to help break the cycle of carrying too much inventory of the wrong cars,”
said Todd Weatherby, director of Business Services at CarPoint Industry Services.
“Through CarPoint Market Update, CarPoint will communicate the buying preferences of more than 6 million consumers who visit the site monthly and make available the industry technology to improve consumer choice and service.”

CarPoint Market Update has simple-to-use categories — including most active sales, biggest category gains and losses, and most popular options (e.g., leather seats and CD players) — to demonstrate consumer preferences. In addition, with each monthly release, a section of CarPoint Market Update will focus on a different category, such as sport-utility vehicles, minivans or sports cars. Users can subscribe to CarPoint Market Update by sending e-mail to CarPointMU-subscribe@listbot.com

“CarPoint continues to develop ways to work closely with dealers and manufacturers and provide the data and technology to help them sell more cars, more efficiently,”
said Jeff Dossett, CEO of MSN CarPoint.
“As the leading independent, all-makes, all-models site, CarPoint Market Update will provide the largest base of real-time consumer data available and help support our goal to provide the best choice for consumers.”

CarPoint is the most-visited online car-buying service in the United States, reaching more than 6 million consumers monthly and generating $8 billion in annual sales. Most recently, the site announced the planned acquisition of DriveOff.com, which will provide consumers with the broadest range of buying services.

About CarPoint

Launched in October 1995, MSN CarPoint ( http://www.carpoint.com/ ) is the leading online automotive marketplace, receiving more than 6 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new and used car pricing, the CarPoint site helps consumers find the car they love, at a price they can afford. With details on more than 10,000 car models and 100,000 used vehicles, visitors can research and compare cars of virtually every make and model, identify local dealers, and receive instructions for post-purchase service and maintenance.

CarPoint generates more than $650 million in auto sales each month. With the planned acquisition of DriveOff.com, CarPoint will have a network of more than 5,000 affiliated dealers nationwide and is exclusively endorsed by the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, MSN and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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