CarPrices.com, one of the fastest-growing, auto-related sites on the Web, has expanded its unique New Car PriceWar(TM) service with a successful launch in the greater Los Angeles market, the company announced today.

The launch of the PriceWar in Los Angeles is the first step in a national rollout into other markets this spring and summer and follows on the successful pilot test of the service with car dealers and buyers in San Diego.

New Car PriceWar, the Internet's first new-car, reverse-auction model, will expand to Miami, Chicago and Washington, D.C., in May and should be in the nation's top 40 markets by December, the company said.

"Using the PriceWar, we guarantee the lowest price for the customer every time," said Ahmed Ghouri, co-founder and vice president for corporate communications for CarPrices.com. "As a result, the initial response and feedback from the Los Angeles market has been very strong. We anticipate the same response as we roll out the product nationally."

More than 130 of the largest dealers in the greater Los Angeles market (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and Ventura counties) are participating in the PriceWar program since the program launched there April 12, Ghouri said, and more dealers are signing up each week.

In addition, several national auto buying services, including CarsDirect.com, carOrder.com and Driveoff.com, are participating in the PriceWar program in Los Angeles.

"The presence of these national services simply enhances the experience for consumers," Ghouri said. "The more dealers who participate, the better the potential deal."

How New Car PriceWar works

New Car PriceWar is the first on-line car buying service that successfully increases efficiency for dealers and drives down prices for buyers. The process starts when a customer chooses a car to manufacturer specifications using CarPrices.com technology. The customer's new-car purchase request is posted to New Car PriceWar on the CarPrices.com Website.

The request is subsequently forwarded to multiple dealers who compete for the buyer's business with exact prices on the desired vehicle. Customers then choose the bid that best fits their needs and then work with the selected dealer to complete the sale.

Dealer and customer enthusiasm for the PriceWar service has been very high since its launch in San Diego in November 1999.

"On average, using PriceWar, consumers pay only one percent over invoice," said Dean Evans, director of PriceWar for CarPrices.com. "That compares very favorably to other online auto sites, which average six percent over invoice, and dealers, which average eight percent over invoice."

Nearly 80 percent of all new car dealers in San Diego County participate in the program.

Site enhancements to CarPrices.com

In addition to expanding its New Car PriceWar, CarPrices.com has begun to integrate enhancements to its site that will improve convenience and ease of use for consumers, Ghouri said.

"The PriceWar concept already ensures that consumers get the best price possible in an online auto-buying experience," he said. "But we want to ensure that they have the best experience possible, period, by adding new features to the site."

Foremost among them, Ghouri said, is the new, state-of-the-art configuration technology scheduled to launch in May. This technology will enable consumers to intuitively and interactively select desired cars by matching individual needs and preferences to model.

CarPrices.com also will incorporate other features, such as dynamic lists of the most requested vehicles and the average transaction prices on them, designed to improve the auto buying experience for consumers.

"We want to help the consumer feel more confident that they are truly getting the best price," Evans said.

About CarPrices.com (www.carprices.com)

CarPrices.com, headquartered in San Diego, is one of the fastest growing auto-related sites on the Web. With no financial ties to dealers or manufacturers, it attracts more than 1.5 million visitors per month and is responsible for more than $2 million in new car sales per day.