Autotrader Celebrates 20th Anniversary as Online Car Shopping Pioneer

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Car shopping has come a long way over the last 20 years, from the days of fliers and circulars, to today's connected experience seamlessly blending the online to in-store shopping journey. As the first nationwide online car shopping site, Autotrader has been at the forefront of digital automotive retail innovation since it was established in 1997.

"Autotrader invented online car shopping and constantly strives to re-imagine the category," said Brian Geitner, president of Cox Automotive Media Solutions. "The transformation of our brand and the car shopping experience go hand-in-hand, and we'll continue to adapt and enhance Autotrader as consumer behaviors and appetites change."

Autotrader's beginning coincides with the rise of the Internet era and its impact on how consumers received information. Paper-based vehicle listings were steadily eclipsed by a more convenient and up-to-date online inventory experience for both the buyer and the seller. Video and editorial content, along with user-generated reviews and the introduction of Autotrader's mobile app soon followed, helping better educate consumers looking to find and buy their next car.

"We've always tried to stay ahead of the curve", said Chuck Nasiadka, Director of Pre-Owned Operations, Baglier Automotive in Butler, Pennsylvania. "We went online with Autotrader using a laptop and dial up service somewhere between 2000 and 2001. I've placed my faith in the fact they were there first, they have the most knowledge in the space and shoppers still mention Autotrader the most."

Fulfilling its mission to be the leading resource of automotive consumer insights, Autotrader unveiled its annual Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study in 2016, designed to inform dealers on consumer car-shopping behavior and preferences. The study also provides perspective on the overall perception of the dealer experience and the importance of having a best-in-class online presence.

Over the last 20 years, Autotrader has hosted more than 2 billion car shoppers and featured over 350 million vehicle listings on  The 10 Most-Searched Cars on Autotrader include:

  1. Ford F-Series

  2. Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra

  3. Jeep Wrangler

  4. RAM 1500/2500

  5. Chevrolet Camaro

  6. Toyota Tacoma

  7. Ford Mustang

  8. Jeep Grand Cherokee

  9. Chevrolet Tahoe

  10. Toyota Tundra

Note: Based on search history on Autotrader from July 2009 to July 2017.

According to Autodata Corp., three of the five most searched cars on Autotrader also have been top sellers in the U.S. – Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.