- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

Today marks the start of what is sure to become a much-copied event throughout the country.
Edmunds.com, one of the nation's highest regarded on-line auto information services, has brought about 120 new vehicles to FedEx Field for what is called "Come and Drive EdmundsLIVE."
Realizing that most consumers dislike having to go to multiple dealerships to compare various competitive vehicles, the Internet consumer resource has created its own vehicle test-drive facility.
Customers will be able to compare competitive vehicles and test drive all of them without any contact with or interference from dealer or manufacturer representatives. Edmunds.com owns the vehicles and is taking them city-to-city to let customers make their own comparisons in a no-pressure setting. The three-day event starts today and runs through Sunday.
The EdmundsLIVE event at FedEx Field is spread over 1 million square feet of air-conditioned tents and outside test tracks, including an off-road course for sport utility vehicles. Inside the tents are information kiosks staffed with Edmunds in-house experts, live chat rooms and up-to-date vehicle prices and specifications. On-line assistance with financing, insurance needs and even dealership locations is available, all with no obligation.
Competitive vehicles are arranged inside the tents and are open for consumers to crawl around, sit or recline in, examine features and controls and generally compare at their own pace. Outside, at the test tracks, consumers will be able to drive their choices of vehicles and compare them under similar conditions. Since there are no salespeople involved, customers don't have to concern themselves with phone calls, e-mails or any other forms of contact, unless they specifically wish to use Edmunds dealer locator services.
To participate in the EdmundsLIVE event all interested persons are encouraged to register in advance, at www.Edmunds.com/ edmundslive.
Once on line, participants can list their preferred vehicles and lock in the day and time they wish to do their test drives. As time slots fill up, they will no longer be available on the site. There is a $15 fee per adult (children under 18 free), but many discount coupons are being offered in newspaper and radio ads. Complimentary beverages and snacks are on hand as well.
Edmunds.com, one of the Internet's oldest third-party automotive information services, educates and engages visitors by providing them with straightforward, truthful information on all aspects of buying, selling and owning a vehicle. Users are provided automobile pricing data, extensive reviews, consumer information, safety updates, incentives and rebates, and expert analysis of developments in the automotive world.
Such services are expanding on the Internet, since the most recent polls show as many as 60 percent of car buyers will log on for information before actually going out to purchase a vehicle. That statistic has grown dramatically from 17 percent just two years ago.
Washington is the second stop in a five-city tour for EdmundsLIVE. The tour started in Atlanta last month and will continue in Chicago, Englishtown, N.J., and conclude in San Francisco. EdmundsLIVE plans even more cities next year.

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