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CarsDirect Logo.png
Founded 1998
Parent Internet Brands
Slogan(s) America's #1 Way to Buy Cars Online
Advertising Yes

CarsDirect is an American online automotive research portal and car buying service based in El Segundo, California that allows consumers to research, price, purchase, insure and finance a vehicle online. The company also provides lead generation and referral services to auto dealers.


CarsDirect was founded in 1998 by Scott Painter, launched from the business incubator Idealab. It was the first company to sell vehicles online directly to consumers, rather than referring consumers to brick-and-mortar dealers.[1]

CarsDirect first registered for an initial public offering in a May 2000 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; however, it withdrew its registration in December of that year citing "unfavorable conditions in the public equity market."[2]

In 2004, the firm began to expand into other markets, and subsequently changed its name to Internet Brands in 2005.[3]

In June 2014, the company announced that it had been acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) for $1.1 Billion.[4]

Recognitions and Awards[edit]

  • Auto Dealer Monthly magazine awarded CarsDirect the "Diamond Award for New Car Leads" in 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2005.[5][6]
  • PC World named CarsDirect a top 7 site for "buying or selling anything" in 2008.[7]
  • PC Magazine selected CarsDirect as a "Top 100 Classic Website" in 2002,[8] 2003,[9] and 2004.[10]
  • Time Magazine voted the site one of the "50 Best" in the world in 2002.[11]


  1. ^ CBS News (1999-09-06). "Buy Your Next Car Online?". 
  2. ^ Rachel Konrad (December 6, 2000). "'s IPO plans stall". CNet News. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ Dealbook (July 23, 2007). "Unit of Idealab, Still Dabbling in Bits, Tries I.P.O.". New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ "KKR To Buy Internet Brands for $1.1 Billion". Los Angeles Business Journal. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ Auto Dealer Monthly. "Dealers' Choice Awards 2010". 
  6. ^ Auto Dealer Monthly. "Dealers' Choice Awards 2009". 
  7. ^ PC World. "7 sites for buying, selling, and renting almost anything". Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Classics". PC Magazine. February 26, 2002. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Top 100 Classics". PC Magazine. March 25, 2003. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Top 100 Classics". PC Magazine. April 20, 2004. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ Time Magazine (2002-01-04). "TIME Tech: 50 Best Websites". Retrieved 2010-04-28.