Microsoft Dealerpoint.Net Automotive Lead Management Service Completes Upgrade to 6,500 Dealers in One Month

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 2, 2001 — According to the June 2001 J.D. Power and Associates Dealer Satisfaction With Online Buying Services study, 43 percent of automotive dealers are now using a lead management system (LMS). Microsoft® Dealerpoint.Net, the leading LMS provider of these services for the automotive industry, marketed via Carpoint Inc., today announced completion of a major, rapid deployment to auto dealers nationally. Dealerpoint.Net is used to power manufacturer private labeled systems, including Ford Salespoint, Honda Lead Manager, Acura Lead Manager and Isuzu Dealer Link.

Dealerpoint.Net 5.5 Deployment Completed Quickly on Large Scale

With the recently completed rollout of Dealerpoint.Net 5.5, sales teams are benefiting from improved usability features, new sales management reports and performance improvements that halve system response times for most key functions. Dealerpoint.Net’s easy-to-use tools, including enhanced reporting, personalized e-mail templates for quick sales response, and multiple user accounts and workflow rules, enable effective customer management across entire sales teams. As an application service provider, Dealerpoint.Net offers a centralized, Internet-based service that delivers the lowest possible cost of ownership for dealers by minimizing technological complexity and investment inside the dealership. Its ability to deploy quickly to the largest dealer networks is unique among customer systems in the automotive industry. It took just four weeks to complete Dealerpoint.Net 5.5 upgrades for 6,500 dealers this past July.

Under the current dramatic market conditions, dealers’ success depends on their ability to efficiently manage every sales opportunity,”
said Todd Weatherby, director of industry services for Dealerpoint.
“Dealer services such as Dealerpoint.Net connect consumers to dealers more directly and for this reason are becoming the center of gravity for automotive dealers and manufacturers.”

Dealerpoint.Net delivers leads to all Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, Volvo, Honda, Acura and Isuzu dealers, providing robust sales automation to more than 30 percent of auto dealers in the U.S. market. Its consumer databases are growing at a rate of 20 percent per month, enabling dealers and manufacturers to conveniently and effectively service more customers.

“Dealerpoint enables us to better understand our customers and improve response times and service,”
said Brian Reder, Internet department manager at Renton Honda in Renton, Wash.
“It provides the tools we need to increase close rates and more efficiently organize sales leads and customer communication generated at the dealership and via the Internet in one system.”

Total Lead Management From All Sources

Dealerpoint.Net manages leads from the showroom floor, dealers’ own Web sites, manufacturer sites and third-party consumer portals such as the MSN® Carpoint® online automotive service, the most visited car buying and ownership site on the Web. It now supports the ADF 1.0 auto industry standard for lead data formats and works with more than 70 third-party and manufacturer lead-generation services. At Honda and Acura, Dealerpoint.Net now receives and manages high-quality leads from dealer Web sites in addition to many third-party sites.

“Dealerpoint’s latest version is deployed to more than 6,300 Ford, Lincoln/Mercury and Volvo dealers throughout the United States,”
said Mark Roman, manager of retail processes for Ford Motor Co.
“Salespoint enables our dealers to better manage customer information and respond to every type of customer, both online and in the showroom.”

Dealerpoint and Microsoft .NET

Built for large-scale deployments based on direct input from dealers and manufacturers, Dealerpoint.Net is a showcase for the emerging Microsoft .NET platform, including use of Passport services for user authentication and security. It uses XML and SMTP messaging standards for interoperability across all e-mail and message formats and manufacturer and dealer system integration. In addition to the desktop functionality, it offers a two-way wireless service called Dealerpoint Messaging Service, through a relationship with Aether Systems Inc. This service enables auto sales representatives to quickly receive and respond to new sales leads or responses from consumers — any time, anywhere — via wireless handheld devices.

Market intelligence firm IDC projects that spending on CRM in North America will reach $85.1 billion by 2005, of which $3.6 billion will be from automotive manufacturers and suppliers to establish and maintain customer relationships. Manufacturers, dealers and lead providers can find more information on Dealerpoint.Net on the recently introduced Web site, .

About Carpoint

Launched in October 1995, Carpoint ( ) is the leading online automotive marketplace, visited by more than 7 million consumers each month. From product reviews and surround video features to new- and used-car pricing, Carpoint 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. With a network of more than 5,000 affiliated dealers nationwide, Carpoint generates more than $8 billion in auto sales each year and is exclusively endorsed by the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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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