Fort Lauderdale, FL – AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions ( announced today the results of its 2011 auto dealer Internet marketing survey. The survey results reveal the economy is having a significant influence on customers’ abilities to buy cars, and that staffing issues continue to be a major concern for Internet Sales Managers. But, despite an uncertain economy, 72% of respondents do not plan to cut back on their Internet marketing budgets this year.

The survey was conducted from mid-August through mid-September and summarizes results from 151 participants; 54% Internet managers and the rest a mix of Internet, sales, BDC, marketing and senior management titles. Following are highlighted questions with responses:

 “What is the biggest sales objection you are currently hearing from customers?”

  • Didn’t have desired model available: 25%
  • Can’t afford a new vehicle: 14%
  • Can’t get financing: 20%
  • Consumer confidence with current political situation: 22%
  • Not getting the price they want from dealership: 10%

Though inventory shortages are affecting many dealerships, the rest of the answers related to the economy add up to the fact that 58% of consumers can’t afford to, or are reluctant to, buy.

“What are the biggest challenges for your Internet marketing departments?”

  • Keeping up with lead volume: 31%
  • Quality of staff: 28%
  • Staff’s failure to adhere to written processes: 23%
  • Lack of management buy-in: 21%
  • Lack of staff accountability: 15%
  • Lack of staff training: 15%

Additional responses included “other” at 15% that included a mix of responses about quality of leads, lack of inventory and staff morale, and finally, high staff turnover at 11%.

It seems that staff issues continue to be a major concern for Internet Sales Managers, as outlined by a study conducted by Kain & Stauning earlier this year.

“How is the current state of the economy affecting your Internet marketing budget decisions?”

  • 49% plan to spend the same amount as originally budgeted this year
  • 31% say they are cutting back on planned expenses
  • 23% say they plan to spend more than originally budgeted this year

When asked which area they are most willing to cut back on, 53% of respondents chose traditional advertising. Conversely, 40% of dealers plan to increase spending on social media and reputation management; 34% plan to increase spending on SEO/web site marketing; 23% plan to increase spending on third party leads; and only 15% plan to spend more on traditional advertising.
“What do Internet Managers Want Most From a New Product or Service?”

  • Getting customers into the showroom: 47%
  • Additional sales volume: 28%

In spite of a tough economy affecting customer’s abilities to purchase vehicles, dealerships’ Internet marketing departments are reacting proactively. Nearly three quarters of them plan to spend the same amount or more than they had planned this year, and nearly all of them plan to increase or decrease spend in certain areas, indicating they are monitoring and measuring results to see where they get the most bang for their buck.

Please provide your feedback and opinions on the results of this survey on AutoUSA’s Facebook page.

About AutoUSA (
AutoUSA Internet Sales Solutions brings the best-in-class tools to increase Internet sales and lower costs for automotive dealerships. Leading products include Leads&ListingsSM, providing the highest quality, new and used car email and phone leads; ShowProSM incentive program, proven to turn more leads into shows; PowerListingsSM 2.0, helping dealers increase traffic to—and leads from—their social media sites; and AVA Virtual Sales Assistant, helping dealerships manage more leads at a reduced cost, adding profit to the bottom line. AutoUSA products are currently benefiting thousands of active dealers all across the U.S.

AutoUSA has more than ten years of proven success built on a foundation of superior web-based technology, excellent customer service and partnerships that include 100+ independent automotive web sites. AutoUSA is owned and operated by AutoNation, America’s largest auto retailer. For more information go to , follow us on and “Like” us on