Atlanta, Georgia – High-profile exposure at recent auto shows has boosted the popularity of several models, according to U.S.-based AutoTrader.com, which based its study on the number of new-car searches on its site.

The largest increase was for the revamped Mazda3, which went from number 74 on the list of most-searched new cars in January 2009, to number 14 in January 2010, after being shown off at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in December.

New versions of the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Focus and Fusion, and the Chevrolet Cobalt also made major jumps following unveils and exposure at the Los Angeles show and at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

“The steep jump in searches on AutoTrader.com that cars experience following auto show unveilings and exposure proves the value these shows offer in generating publicity about these new cars and creating interest in them among the car-buying public,” said Chip Perry, president and CEO of AutoTrader.com.

The company said that, across the board, Toyota’s recalls did not affect car shoppers’ searches for Toyota vehicles in January 2010, when compared to activity on the site in December 2009 or to the previous January. Compared to December 2009, most new and used Toyota models maintained their ranking or only moved down one spot, and the Toyota Camry as a used vehicle moved from number 23 in December 2009 to number 19 in January.

“Through the beginning of February, we’ve continued to see stability in the supply of Toyota vehicles posted to our site and traffic to those vehicles,” Perry said. “Dealers are continuing to advertise new and used Toyota vehicles for sale on our site in normal numbers. We have not seen a jump in private sellers listing Toyotas for sale, meaning people who own them are holding onto them, and visitors to AutoTrader.com continue to review Toyota vehicles as they did before this news broke in late January.”

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