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ATLANTA — AutoTrader.com received quite a 12th anniversary present a day early when the site posted the highest amount of unique visitors in a single day.

Site executives highlighted they recorded 1.02 million unique visitors on May 18. It's the first time the site has surpassed that single-day threshold.

Meanwhile, May 19 marked 12 years since the site was founded as Autoconnect.com.

"AutoTrader.com has built a brand that people know as a top online destination for car shopping," stated AutoTrader.com president and chief executive officer Chip Perry.

"AutoTrader.com has continued to grow our traffic as more and more consumers go online to do their research, compare models, review pricing and specials and find dealers," Perry continued.

"With the economy picking up and the auto industry recovering, we expect to continue growing our influence and our site traffic even more," he went on to say. "I believe surpassing 1 million unique visitors in a day as we did last Tuesday is just the beginning."

Site executives credited not only rebounding shopping activity interest but also their "Heart & Mind" brand campaign for the new single-day record. The recently launched strategy included broadcast, digital, print and social media elements as well as exhibits at auto shows in Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York.

AutoTrader.com believes all of the efforts not only has driven traffic for used vehicles but also campaigns connected with dealers' new-vehicle inventory as well.

"As the new-car market rebounds, we're seeing these efforts pay off as new-car shoppers increasingly see AutoTrader.com as a top destination for researching new cars, searching for new-car specials, utilizing our new-car shopping tools and reviewing inventory of new cars available on dealers' lots," Perry stated.

Throughout this year so far, site executives maintained they've routinely surpassed 15 million unique monthly visitors. They believe the site could have posted more than 1 million visitors on May 19, too. The company is still confirming traffic numbers.

"With millions of new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles listed for sale and more than 15 million unique monthly visitors per month, AutoTrader.com continues to be positioned as a leading place for car buyers and sellers to connect online," Perry concluded.