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AutoNation, Inc. Unveils AutoNationDirect.com, The Internet's Largest Virtual Dealership

Jun. 22, 1999

DEARBORN, Mich., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN), America's largest automotive retailer, today launched AutoNationDirect.com, the Internet's largest virtual dealership.

AutoNationDirect.com will combine America's most extensive inventory of new and used vehicles with the Internet's most comprehensive package of automotive shopping tools. Every vehicle on AutoNationDirect.com will be sold in a one-low-price, no-haggle atmosphere.

AutoNationDirect.com's exclusive package of features include:

    * America's largest vehicle inventory, featuring every major manufacturer make and model.
    * One-low-price, no-haggle shopping, online.
    * Q&A Live, the only live, "chat" help feature offered by an automotive web site. Visitors to AutoNationDirect.com will be able to send real-time, chatroom-like messages to Internet Sales Guides while they're in the site. Also with Q&A Live, visitors will be able to request guided tours of AutoNationDirect.com and other automotive web sites.
    * The ability to reserve a vehicle with a credit card. With a credit card, a visitor to AutoNationDirect.com will be able to reserve a vehicle he or she may wish to buy.
    * Financing and insurance tools at one site. Giggo.com, a finance division of DaimlerChrysler, and Progressive Insurance Co., make it possible for visitors of AutoNationDirect.com to arrange their own financing and shop for insurance without ever having to leave the AutoNation web site.
    * "Cash" status as a customer. Pre-approved financing, arranged through AutoNationDirect.com, means visitors to the site can arrange to have an overnight draft mailed to their home or office. That draft can be used like cash at any AutoNation-owned dealership.
    * The ability to arrange for home delivery of your vehicle.
    * The ability to study and compare reviews and independent commentary on all vehicle makes and models. Sources include Car and Driver, New Car Test Drive, Intellichoice, Kelly Blue Book and DealerNet. While in the site, visitors can also write and share their own reviews.
    * The web's only Net Equity Calculator. This unique calculator will allow visitors to AutoNationDirect.com to calculate how much equity is in their trade-in by taking outstanding payments into account. Other web sites only offer consumers the ability to estimate the value of their trade.
    * The ability to schedule test drives.
    * Over 600 dedicated Internet Sales Guides to assist customers in the selection and purchase process.

"With AutoNationDirect.com, AutoNation is pairing its massive inventory of vehicles with a comprehensive package of online automotive shopping tools. That's an exclusive virtual dealership experience that no one else can provide," said AutoNation Co-Chief Executive Officer Steven R. Berrard. "Consumers will be able to shop, finance, insure and buy their next vehicle at a single web address -- AutoNationDirect.com."

According to Scott Barrett, AutoNation's Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, "By arming consumers with information and a wide array of choices that includes live inventories of thousands of vehicles, AutoNationDirect.com gives consumers a buying process they can drive on their own."

AutoNationDirect.com's debut begins today with a pilot phase in the Tampa Bay area. Inventories from the 17 AutoNation dealerships in that area will be offered online, live, with each new and used vehicle priced to sell at low, no-haggle prices.

A specially trained force of Internet Sales Guides based at AutoNation's Tampa-area dealerships supports the site. AutoNation's Internet Sales Guides in Tampa and elsewhere have already set a new automotive e-Commerce standard by driving down customer response times to an average of under two hours. These guides currently support the more than 270 web sites that AutoNation operates today.

All other AutoNation markets -- from Atlanta to Los Angeles -- will start offering their inventories through AutoNationDirect.com beginning on Oct. 1. In each market, AutoNationDirect.com's launch will be supported with major print, radio and television advertising campaigns, making the site's rollout a major branding event for AutoNation.

AutoNation is the world's largest automotive retailer, with more than 380 franchised automotive dealerships in 20 states and 45 AutoNation USA megastores in 13 states. A Fortune 100 (# 83) company, AutoNation also operates more than 270 web sites. The Company's vehicle rental businesses include Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc., National Car Rental System, Inc. and CarTemps USA, which collectively have operations nationwide and in more than 65 countries.

Backgrounder

AutoNation: An e-Commerce Leader

AutoNation, Inc., the world's largest automotive retailer and the country's second largest provider of vehicle rental services, is also committed to being the leading automotive retailer on the Internet.

Today, AutoNation's e-Commerce Group manages more than 270 web sites throughout the Company's 23-state network of franchised dealerships and AutoNation USA used vehicle megastores. To date, the group has sold more than 15,000 vehicles through its online efforts, a total equivalent to more than $350 million in revenue, tops in the industry.

At the core of AutoNation's e-Commerce operation is a sales process that focuses in-store personnel on the specific needs of e-Commerce consumers. These Internet Sales Guides -- as they're called at AutoNation dealerships -- lead all online automotive web sites with an average customer response time of just under two hours.

AutoNation's e-Commerce effort is also supported by Compass, a proprietary web-based tool that enables its Internet Sales Guides to manage and track sales leads from their inception on the web to their conclusion in the showroom. Over time, data entered into Compass will provide AutoNation with powerful information about the shopping habits of online consumers.

Another key characteristic of AutoNation's approach to e-Commerce is the way it uses the web to make its vast inventory of new and used vehicles available to consumers. Unlike other web sites that help consumers shop for automobiles, AutoNation's web sites do not sell their sales leads to third parties. Nor is their chief business to sell advertising. Instead, their main business is to sell automobiles. As the web's first virtual dealership, AutoNationDirect.com will build on that philosophy by making the Company's entire inventory available online -- in real time -- at low, no-haggle prices wherever it operates dealerships.

The Company's e-Commerce Group is led by Scott Barrett, AutoNation's Senior Vice President for Information Technology. Mr. Barrett has overall responsibility for the strategic direction of information systems at each of AutoNation's divisions. Prior to joining AutoNation, Mr. Barrett served as President, Domestic Retail, for Blockbuster Entertainment.

AutoNation owns and operates 380 franchised automotive dealerships in 20 states and 45 AutoNation USA used vehicle megastores in 13 states. Its automotive rental companies include Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc., National Car Rental System, Inc. and CarTemps USA, which collectively have operations nationwide and in more than 65 countries.

Backgrounder

AutoNationDirect.com

Backed by the Internet's Most Powerful Set of Shopping Tools

    * America's largest vehicle inventory, featuring every major manufacturer make and model.
    * One-low-price, no-haggle shopping, online.
    * Q&A Live, the only live, "chat" help feature offered by an automotive web site. Visitors to AutoNationDirect.com will be able to send real-time, chatroom-like messages to Internet Sales Guides while they're in the site. Also with Q&A Live, visitors will be able to request guided tours of AutoNationDirect.com and other automotive web sites.
    * The ability to reserve a vehicle with a credit card. With a credit card, a visitor to AutoNationDirect.com will be able to arrange to reserve a vehicle he or she may wish to buy.
    * Financing and insurance tools at one site. Giggo.com, a finance division of DaimlerChrysler, and Progressive Insurance Co., make it possible for visitors of AutoNationDirect.com to arrange their own financing and shop for insurance without ever having to leave the AutoNation web site.
    * "Cash" status as a customer. Pre-approved financing arranged through AutoNationDirect.com, means visitors to the site would be able to arrange to have an overnight draft mailed to their home or office. That draft can be used like cash at any AutoNation-owned dealership.
    * The ability to arrange for home delivery of your vehicle.
    * The ability to study and compare reviews and independent commentary on all makes and models. Sources include Car and Driver, New Car Test Drive, Intellichoice, Kelly Blue Book, DealNet and others, along with written comments and evaluations from other shoppers.
    * The web's only Net Equity Calculator. This unique calculator will allow visitors to AutoNationDirect.com to calculate how much equity is in their trade-in by taking outstanding payments into account. Other web sites only offer consumers the ability to estimate the value of their trade.
    * The ability to schedule test drives.
    * Over 600 dedicated Internet Sales Guides to assist our customers in the selection and purchase process.
SOURCE AutoNation, Inc.
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