The typical newspaper auto vertical is nothing more than re-purposed classifieds and maybe some dealer inventory.
One problem with that strategy is that the limited inventory of such a site is competing with national sites that have substantially more inventory (unless the newspaper is a Cars.com affiliate).
Now there is some research that says auto sites that are aggregators of inventory are essential to most online car shoppers.
Newspapers with auto sites that are lagging in their markets shouldn’t think, “if we could only get more inventory online.” They should be thinking, “how do we make our sites more engaging and useful to consumers?”
At any one time, only a small percentage of people are in the market for a new or used car, but everybody is in the market for something related to a car almost all the time — insurance, service, parts, etc., and a lot of people are often thinking two or three years ahead for their next car purchase. Auto sites that are nothing more then inventory don’t meet the needs of this audience, and therefore lose an opportunity to become a trusted brand to future auto buyers.