Third-party research sites have become an important stop in the auto purchase process. These sites aggregate local listings and often provide tools beyond what customers can find on auto brand sites. While auto brands use their sites to both educate and drive customers to dealer lots, third-party sites allow customers to compare vehicles without brand bias and get recommendations on whether they’re getting a fair deal. CarGurus, Autotrader, Cars.com, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds accounted for more site traffic than the entirety of the Auto Index in the past year and surface frequently in listings on Google search. Auto brands have had to adapt their strategies to accommodate shifting customer expectations. Brands need to develop an intimate understanding of the tools offered by third-party sites so that they can compete.