DETROIT AND LOS ANGELES (May 16, 2000) -- UnitedAuto Group, Inc. (NYSE: UAG), a leading publicly-traded automobile retailer, and Penske Automotive Group, Inc. today announced a strategic alliance with CarsDirect.com, a leading direct on-line automotive provider. In major parts of the United States, the alliance is expected to enhance the on-line based sale, distribution and service of vehicles by UnitedAuto and the Penske Automotive Group, which have combined annual revenues of over $5 billion. The alliance enables CarsDirect.com to serve its customers locally and more conveniently with UnitedAuto's and Penske Automotive Group's expedited vehicle fulfillment and comprehensive customer service capabilities. The organizations intend to jointly build an automated transaction system that links the companies in a streamlined and ultimately "real time" vehicle sourcing and fulfillment solution.
As part of a $17 million investment in CarsDirect.com by the two dealer groups and other associated companies, Roger S. Penske, Chairman of UnitedAuto, will join CarsDirect.com's Board of Directors. Roger Penske stated: "It is clear that consumers, dealers, and OEMs are embracing the Internet as a viable channel for automotive sales, distribution and service. A growing number of our customers require an automotive e-commerce solution to meet their automotive needs. This solution adds value to our business model and meets the customer service needs of the OEM's. After extensive research, our team concluded that the best overall approach is a strategic partnership with CarsDirect.com. The relationship with CarsDirect.com now firmly positions UnitedAuto and Penske Automotive Group as prominent forces in the on-line consumer automotive sector."
"This is yet another significant step in achieving our goal of working collectively with all members of the automotive industry to provide fresh options, attractive choices and an unparalleled Internet car buying experience for the consumer," said Bob Brisco, CEO of CarsDirect.com. "The alliance enhances our business's scalability, which is critical as we expand our customer base."
"We are building a closely integrated transaction system to address our increased volumes," said Brisco. "Our strategic alliance enables us to marry our front-end technology, proven over the last year through our reliable, scalable website, with UnitedAuto's and Penske Automotive Group's world-class, customer-focused delivery and service abilities."
Penske Automotive Group's President, Greg Penske, added: "We believe that our association with CarsDirect.com will prove to be an attractive source of new vehicle and related parts and service volume. In addition, we believe this alliance will provide the best experience for the consumer while maintaining brand integrity, which is crucial to our OEM partners."
About UnitedAuto Group
UnitedAuto, which pursues a strategy based on internal growth from its existing dealerships as well as from strategic acquisitions, operates 111 franchises in 17 states, Puerto Rico and Brazil. UnitedAuto dealerships sell new and used vehicles and market a complete line of aftermarket automotive products and services.
About Penske Automotive Group
Penske Automotive Group serves the Los Angeles markets. The automotive retailer represents Honda, Jaguar, Lexus, Mercedes Benz and Toyota, and includes Longo Toyota, the largest retail dealership in the United States.
CarsDirect.com (http://www.carsdirect.com) is a leading direct online provider of new automobiles and related products and services, such as loan and lease financing and extended warranties. CarsDirect.com allows consumers to research, price, configure, order, purchase and finance a vehicle online. The company's user-friendly, intuitive Web site offers consumers product information for nearly every make, model and style of new automobile available in the United States today, as well as the ability to simultaneously compare the specifications of competing vehicles. CarsDirect.com offers an online shopping experience that features competitive, up-front, no-haggle pricing on new vehicles which, in many cases, can be delivered directly and conveniently to a consumer's home or office.
The company sources vehicles through a priority dealer network of over 2,500 automotive dealer franchises nationwide.