REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 17, 2001 — The MSN® Carpoint®
online automotive service ( http://www.carpoint.com/ ), the most visited car-buying and car-ownership site* on the Web, today announced the launch of its My Car service, which makes it even easier for consumers to buy, own and maintain their vehicles.
Located on Carpoint.com, the My Car service allows users to take advantage of new functionality, including receiving relevant and customized information via Microsoft®
.NET Alerts, Microsoft Corp.’s latest .NET offering, which provides consumers with the information they want, when and how they want it. Through the My Car service, users can receive real-time traffic updates, search for the lowest gas prices in their area, obtain driving directions, and locate local department of motor vehicles sites for registration and licensing information.
The new Live Traffic feature on Carpoint utilizes content from TeleAtlas North America Inc., the premier provider of real-time traffic information through an alliance with Westwood One. Because Live Traffic is built on .NET Alerts technology, consumers can receive instant traffic updates for more than 68 metropolitan areas via e-mail or the MSN Messenger Service, or on certain mobile devices supported by MSN Mobile. Information includes detailed incident reports describing traffic problems, such as accidents or construction, the impact the incident is expected to have on traffic conditions, the expected duration of the delay, and the direction of affected traffic. Traffic alerts, customizable by day and time, are intelligently routed to the correct device based on a user’s online status. For example, Carpoint users can choose to receive alerts online if they are at their PC or have them routed to their inbox or a mobile device.
Carpoint also has teamed with Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), the most comprehensive source for retail and wholesale gasoline news and prices, to enable consumers to receive from Carpoint timely information about gas prices in their local area, thus saving them money. Gas prices from more than 20,000 gas stations throughout the country are updated nightly on Carpoint, and users can search by ZIP code to locate the gas station with the lowest prices in their area. Gas prices are updated electronically from actual credit card transactions reconciled by Wright Express LLC, the leading provider of fleet charge cards and information services for car, van and truck fleets throughout the United States. A September 2001 MSN Carpoint Fast Facts Survey of more than 1,300 Carpoint users indicated that 63 percent would likely change their gas-purchasing behavior if they could find a lower price within their ZIP code.
“The new buying, selling and ownership features on Carpoint use the latest Microsoft technology to deliver unparalleled content and the best online experience to the 270 million monthly visitors to MSN,” said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of MSN Carpoint at Microsoft. “Carpoint will continue to introduce content and features that are relevant and useful to consumers every day and provide a platform for our industry partners to showcase their products and services and build deeper customer relationships.”
Additional Carpoint maintenance features, accessible from the My Car service, enable consumers to quickly and easily schedule online appointments for services ranging from oil changes and tire alignments to tuneups and general car maintenance. According to the September survey mentioned above, 32 percent of consumers indicated they would use an online service to help them make service appointments, and 29 percent said that finding time to schedule an appointment is one of the biggest hassles they face.
MSN Carpoint is consistently ranked as the top car-buying and car-ownership site on the Web, attracting more than 7 million monthly consumers, and is available internationally in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan.
Launched in October 1995, Carpoint ( http://www.carpoint.com/ ) 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. Carpoint has a network of more than 5,000 affiliated dealers nationwide.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (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.
* Source: Jupiter Media Metrix, August 2001; custom category as defined by Microsoft.
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