updated 12/22/2010 8:15:25 PM ET 2010-12-23T01:15:25

In the case of new or used car purchases or leases, Autobytel's (Nasdaq:ABTL) most recent What's Hot Now report released today reveals that consumers are looking to lease or buy a car out of necessity over the next 12 months, even though they may not have increased confidence in the economy.

The survey, conducted on Autobytel's website, revealed that almost 60 percent of those surveyed had put off purchasing or leasing a used or new car in the past because of the economic climate, but interestingly a huge majority--over 83 percent--said that they would be in the market for a vehicle within the next 12 months. Almost 44 percent of responders said they were in the market now, while 22 percent said they would be in the market 6 months from now, and further out 16 percent within the next 6 to 12 months.

When asked what was motivating their decision to purchase, only 7 percent said that they had greater confidence in the economy, with the majority of respondents (55 percent) reporting that they needed to purchase or lease a car out of necessity or greater cost-efficiency (39 percent and 16 percent, respectively). Other factors in the decision to purchase or lease a vehicle included a newer or better style or model of car (20 percent), while the remaining 17 percent of respondents were not considering purchasing a vehicle.

"It's great news for our member dealers and OEM partners that such a wide majority of consumers are considering purchasing a new or used vehicle in the next year even though consumer confidence in the economy has not improved significantly," said Jeff Coats, president and CEO of Autobytel. "A traditionally slower time of year for car sales, the November's sales reports were right on track with other months, helped in part by a rise in demand for domestic trucks and SUV's. Our survey indicates that the majority of consumers think this buying trend will continue well into 2011."

Autobytel's What's Hot Now snapshot survey was conducted on Autobytel's network of consumer automotive sites, including autobytel.com, in November 2010. Over 2,000 consumers responded to the survey. Click to find the complete Autobytel What's Hot Now "What's Driving Your Purchasing Decision" survey. Key results of the study reveal (see charts and highlights below):

The majority of consumers say they have put off purchasing or leasing a vehicle because of the economy. The majority of consumers plan to purchase or lease a vehicle in the next 12 months. A vehicle is the next major purchase most respondents are choosing to make. Approximately the same number of respondents are more confident, as less confident, in the economy. Majority of respondents say they would purchase a less expensive vehicle, a pre-owned vehicle or a more fuel-efficient vehicle in order to save money. A lower unemployment rate was the external factor with the greatest impact on the likeliness of respondents to purchase a new vehicle.

Autobytel's What's Hot Now Key Results

Vehicle Purchases in Next 12 Months

83% are considering purchasing or leasing a new or used vehicle in the next twelve months with 44% considering buying now, 23% buying in 6 months, and 16% buying in 6-12 months.

See graphic display of results.

Next Major Purchase

84% of people are planning to make a purchase or commit to a significant financial investment, with 59% purchasing a new or used car

See graphic display of results.

Has the Economic Climate Impacted Your Choice of Vehicle?

63% of respondents said that the economy has affected their choice of car, with price, the cost of fuel and the availability of pre-owned cars cited equally.

See graphic display of results.

Autobytel's What's Hot Now reports regularly measure and analyze consumer trends, opinions and attitudes about the automotive experience, in real time, by polling automotive consumers who visit autobytel.com and its affiliated websites. For more information on Autobytel's What's Hot Now reports, or to speak to an Autobytel expert, contact: Michelle Suzuki, MSC-PR, 310.444.7115 (michelle@msc-pr.com) or Jim Helberg, Autobytel Inc., 949.862.1395 (jimh@autobytel.com)

About Autobytel Inc. ( www.autobytel.com )

Autobytel Inc.(Nasdaq:ABTL)is a leader in providing consumers with a comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience, and car dealers and manufacturers with online consumer leads and marketing resources. Autobytel pioneered the automotive Internet when it launched autobytel.com in 1995. Today, the company is continuing to offer innovative products and services to help consumers research, buy and maintain their vehicles and auto dealers and manufacturers sell more new and used cars. Autobytel has helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand online. Through its flagship website Autobytel.com(R), its network of automotive sites including Autoweb.com(R), AutoSite.com(R), Car.comsm, CarSmart.com(R), CarTV.com(R), and MyRide.com(R), and its respected online partners, Autobytel continues its dedication to innovating the industry's highest quality Internet programs to provide consumers with a comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience, and auto dealers, dealer groups and auto manufacturers with one of the industry's most productive and cost-effective customer referral and marketing programs.

         Michelle Suzuki 
         Autobytel Inc. 
         Jim Helberg 

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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