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ATLANTA — Building on what it described as successful site optimization for the iPhone, AutoTrader.com on Thursday launched a new mobile device platform to provide access to its most popular sections.

Company executives explained that the new mobile platform can allow consumers to use their devices for the "Find a Car" and "Find a Dealer" features as well as AutoTrader.com's "My AutoTrader" function. They noted that the first two features can allow users to store and quickly retrieve and reference past vehicle searches.

AutoTrader.com reiterated that the "Find a Dealer" feature can help users to locate a dealership via the mobile site and provide them with maps to the store as well as address, phone and e-mail contact information.

The site emphasized that e-mail leads to dealers generated from the mobile site can be marked as such when they are delivered. As a result, a dealer representative can quickly call or return an e-mail message to engage customers while they are very likely out searching for vehicles and likely in the area.

Site officials also stressed that the "My AutoTrader" function can provide shoppers the chance to build a list of vehicles they want to look at from their home or work computers during the week and quickly access those searches while out looking at and test driving vehicles during the weekend.

"By studying the behavior and needs of our site visitors accessing AutoTrader.com via mobile devices and carefully reviewing the mobile shopping environment, we believe this is the solution that best meets our consumers' needs," stated AutoTrader.com president and chief executive officer Chip Perry.

"This expansion builds on the success we've had with our iPhone optimized site launched in 2008 and our AutoTrader Latino mobile offering launched in 2009," Perry continued.

The actual address for AutoTrader.com's mobile shopping experience is m.autotrader.com. Officials noted that shoppers accessing AutoTrader.com from a mobile device will automatically be redirected to the mobile platform.

The platform can also recognize the mobile device accessing it and optimize for each device. If shoppers are visiting the mobile site from a smartphone and wish to access AutoTrader.com's other features, they have the option to select "View Full Version of Site" from the home screen and be redirected to AutoTrader.com's full site experience.

"Customers are starting to really call out for this functionality, and AutoTrader.com worked to provide a solution that meets customers' specific mobile car-shopping needs and desires," Perry pointed out.

"As the leader in auto shopping, we're excited about bringing this fun, easy and streamlined car shopping experience to our site visitors," he added.

Besides the factors Perry mentioned, AutoTrader.com cited several other reasons why it chose to roll out an expanded mobile platform. Those motives included:

—Executives spotted a surge in visitors to AutoTrader.com via mobile devices other than the iPhone. 

"Like other companies, AutoTrader.com has had hits from mobile devices for some time. Only recently had those hits started to grow to a point that indicated real and growing interest in mobile online auto shopping among a large consumer audience," site officials insisted.

AutoTrader.com mentioned that it's currently generating about 500,000 unique monthly visitors via mobile devices. That quantity represents about 2 to 3 percent of the site's 15 million unique monthly visitors.

—Officials explained that a review of site traffic patterns coming to AutoTrader.com from mobile devices and other industry research indicates that mobile users were most interested in finding vehicles for sale and locating a dealer. They said consumers wanted this information rather than some of the more in-depth vehicle reviews, research and compare functionality, auto show coverage and other related content AutoTrader.com offers.

—The site found that traffic from mobile devices to AutoTrader.com was by far the strongest on weekends.

"Coupled with consumer research, this indicated auto shoppers were using mobile devices to locate vehicles and dealerships while out shopping and to quickly check and compare prices of similar cars at other area dealerships while actually on a dealer lot," AutoTrader.com determined.

Beyond that trio of reasons for a mobile platform expansion, the site also stressed how important it was to include access to the company's proprietary "My AutoTrader" functionality.

"What we see with our site traffic is that car shoppers research and compare vehicles, review inventory and specials and build their consideration set during the week from their home or work computer," Perry explained.

"Then, they use their mobile devices for quick checks and comparisons while they're out actually looking for cars on the weekend — sometimes right there on a dealer lot," he continued.

"By making access to the ‘My AutoTrader' functionality a key component of our mobile environment, we give shoppers the ability to easily store the information on the cars they researched on a home or work computer for easy access via their mobile device while on the ground shopping," Perry concluded.