Tony Thorstad, Internet Sales Director of Smart Motors Toyota, Named Autobytel Dealer of the Month; Dealer of the Year Awards Slated for January 2014

Autobytel honors exceptional dealers from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers for outstanding Internet lead management and customer service standards

Business Wire

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Autobytel Inc. (ABTL), the company dedicated to connecting automotive consumers with dealers, has named Tony Thorstad, Internet Sales Director of Smart Motors Toyota in Madison, Wisconsin, the Autobytel Dealer of the Month for September 2013.

The company’s Dealer Awards Program honors exceptional Autobytel dealers who employ the highest standards in customer service and Internet automotive retail sales and lead management processes. The Autobytel Dealer of the Year Award is slated to be announced at the NADA Convention & Expo in New Orleans in January 2014, with the crowning dealer chosen from this year’s pool of monthly winners.

Tony joins Patti Scipione of M’Lady Nissan, Paul LeRose of Pauly Toyota, Tim Morgan of Radley Acura, Steve Roberts of Crown Motors Redding, Kenny Jakel of Lee Johnson Kia, and Rese Ballou of Hendrick Toyota Scion—who were named the Autobytel Dealers of the Month for March, April, May, June, July and August 2013—in that pool of winners.

“Tony and the Smart Motors Toyota team truly understand the needs of today’s car buyers and how to meet those needs to guide people to the perfect car,” said Jeff Coats, president and CEO of Autobytel Inc. “They approach the sales process from a consumer point of view versus a dealer point of view which is a key reason they’ve enhanced and grown their business since 1908 to become the largest Toyota dealer in the state of Wisconsin. Smart Motors Toyota is a legacy in this industry yet it continues to innovate as a leader in online automotive retail sales. We’re pleased to honor them as an Autobytel Dealer of the Month.”

Each month, Autobytel’s sales and dealer operations teams evaluate prospective candidates from a competitive field of thousands of automotive retailers in the Autobytel network, with a monthly winner selected based on key online automotive best practices.

Criteria evaluated for the Autobytel Dealer Awards Program include conversion rates, lead management processes, customer service principles, customer and brand retention analytics and Internet department practices, among others.

“We understand what it takes to be successful online and we know that an effective sales process does something ‘for’ the customer, not ‘to’ the customer,” said Thorstad. “It’s really about asking the right questions to guide people to the right car. I think it’s wonderful to be recognized for a job well done and I commend my teammates for getting us where we are today. We’ve maximized our online advertising and marketing dollars with the development of our Internet BDC, in choosing partners like Autobytel, and through social media, photography, quality vehicle content and owner loyalty programs.”

Smart Motors Toyota has been serving the Madison, Wisconsin market area since 1908. The family owned-and-operated store employs over 260 people and is one of the longest standing dealerships in the nation. In 2008, Smart Motors Toyota completed construction of a beautiful new showroom and is in the process of adding another 50,000 square feet to its dealership to accommodate the growth of its customer base and to better serve area car buyers. Smart Motors Toyota also excels at the service and repair side of its business, successfully processing over 6,000 repair orders each month. It recently finished construction of one of the largest body shops in the state of Wisconsin.

Named # 1 Dealers’ Choice Awards in 2012 by Auto Dealer Monthly, a finalist of the 2013 DrivingSales Most Valuable Insight Award, and a Power 250 Company by Auto Remarketing Magazine, Autobytel consistently ranks as a top quality Internet lead provider, with the company’s internally-generated leads converting at approximately three times the rate of the estimated industry average.

For more information about the September 2013 Autobytel Dealer of the month, Tony Thorstad, visit the “Dealer Corner” at http://dealer.autobytel.com/dealer-corner/autobytel-dealer-spotlight-tony-thorstad-smart-motors-toyota/. Visit www.autobytel.com to learn about the company's leading automotive information, products and services; watch exclusive new car videos, test drives and car reviews at Autobytel’s YouTube page http://www.youtube.com/autobytel; or join the conversation on the Autobytel Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/autobytel.

About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States and offers consumers robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive internet in 1995 with its flagship website www.autobytel.com and has since 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.

Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news releases and invitations to special events by accessing the online registration form at http://investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm.

Contact:
Autobytel Inc. Media Relations
Splash Media
Jennifer Lange
949-916-4820
jlange@getsplashmedia.com
or
Autobytel Inc. Investor Relations
Curtis DeWalt
Chief Financial Officer
949-437-4694
curtisd@autobytel.com
or
PondelWilkinson Inc.
Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman
310-279-5980
investor@pondel.com

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