More than one-third (34 percent) of used-vehicle buyers log on the Internet to help them during the shopping process, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2000 Used StudySM released today. This represents an 8 percentage point increase over 1999 study results when only 26 percent of used-vehicle buyers turned to the Internet. New-vehicle shoppers continue to lead used-vehicle shoppers in Internet usage, 54 percent versus 34 percent, respectively. The study is based on responses from more than 6,000 consumers who recently purchased a 1995 to 2000 model-year used-vehicle.

"Although new-vehicle buyers are still more likely to use the Internet to shop, the Internet may ultimately have a greater impact on the used-vehicle market," stated Chris Denove, partner at J.D. Power and Associates and director of the study. "This is because most used-vehicle buyers who go online are looking for specific vehicles for sale, and new-vehicle buyers who go online research facts and figures such as vehicle pricing or vehicle specifications. As a result, used-vehicle Internet shoppers are more likely to use online services to facilitate the actual sales process."

The study finds that traditional newspapers are already feeling the pinch of the Internet. During the past year, the number of people finding their used vehicle through classified ads decreased, while the number of people finding their vehicle online nearly doubled.

"Currently, 4 percent of all late-model used-vehicle buyers find their vehicle through the Internet. While this number may seem small, the percentage is growing fast and is likely to surpass newspaper classifieds within four years," said Denove. is the leading Web site for shoppers seeking a used vehicle online¾ 21 percent of used-vehicle buyers who located their vehicle online used this site. For used-vehicle pricing and specifications, Kelley Blue Book ( is the most frequently visited Web site¾ more than one-half of all used-vehicle Internet shoppers have visited

The study finds that used-vehicle buyers who used the Internet to help them shop are more independent than those who don't use it. Internet buyers are more likely to:

  • purchase through private parties;
  • arrange their own financing independent of a dealer;
  • already have an exact vehicle or narrow set of vehicles in mind at the beginning of the shopping process.

    Internet buyers are less likely to rely on the advice of friends and family to help them decide what make and model to purchase. The study also identifies a small but distinct segment of the population that is open to purchasing their vehicle direct from an Internet seller, such as, or even from an online auction such as those offered through

    "The survey results show that the Internet will never become the dominant source of used-vehicle sales," stated Denove. "Instead, the Internet's primary role will be to serve as a matchmaker to put buyers together with sellers who otherwise may never find each other. However, there may still be a place for direct Internet used-vehicle sellers, as long as the company is geared toward being a niche player. The probable emergence of companies providing third-party vehicle certification and inspection should serve to make more consumers comfortable with online buying in the future."

    Headquartered in Agoura Hills, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on actual responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates can be accessed through the Internet at