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Today’s New-Car shoppers have more access to data and expertise than ever before. With 24/7 access and mobile devices in hand, they are logged into a world of comparative research and peer reviews, even on your lot. More empowered than ever to take control of the car buying process, shoppers are seeking a store they trust and want to do business with, making reputation management key to digital branding. When they are buying new, they’re buying you.

“One of the key findings of our research of New-Car shoppers is that they aren’t necessarily looking for the lowest price; they want a competitive price and a great purchase experience from a dealership they can trust to service their vehicle in the years ahead,” said Nick Hummer, Cars.com Director of New Car Strategy  “The dealerships that win over today’s buyers will be those who provide great customer service, and actively drive positive customer reviews, manage their reputation online across review sites and amplify reviews throughout their marketing efforts.”

“When we developed our latest product, PowerDrive, our goal was to give dealers a comprehensive solution to build their brand and stand out with new-car shoppers. We knew reputation management had to be a key part of the offering to help stores differentiate their brand from their competitors,” said Hummer.

In our latest case study, the team at Maguire Automotive shows how reviews can drive sales. Frank Vanderpool, Operations Manager, notes the store has seen close to 30% growth in sales over the past two years, 5% to 10% of which he attributes directly to online reviews, proof that online customer feedback is among the most powerful ways to help their store stand out in a competitive marketplace.

“Dealer Reviews have been a powerful differentiator for all of our customers since their launch on Cars.com in 2011,” said Hummer. “With the launch of PowerDrive, we wanted to give our customers even more tools to manage and amplify their reputation in the marketplace,” he added.

PowerDrive customers will receive featured reviews on vehicle detail pages. Customizable widgets bring Cars.com reviews to the dealership’s website and Facebook, providing external content that keeps shoppers engaged with their site and Facebook page, as well as making it easy to solicit additional reviews to drive volume. PowerDrive dealers also receive a robust reputation management tool, which aggregates reviews from Cars.com and a number of other online reviews sites and provides actionable reports that track trends over time and offer competitive analysis, making it easy for stores to understand how their brand stacks up with consumers who are accessing information about their store across multiple points in the shopping journey.