NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ The head of Priceline.com's auto-services business left the troubled name-your-own-price Internet company on the same day its chief financial officer quit.

But Priceline didn't announce the departure of Maryann Keller when it said last week CFO Heidi Miller was leaving her post.

Keller's departure was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The former auto analyst told the newspaper she thinks the experiment of selling cars online has failed.

``For car buying, the Internet is an idea whose time has not yet come and may never,'' she said.

Keller said she left her position after she was asked to lay off half of her 23-person staff. The layoffs were part of a restructuring that Priceline announced along with its third-quarter results.

A Priceline spokesman confirmed Keller's departure but added that it ``has absolutely no effect on our auto business.'' He said the division is being run by Pamela Caputo, a former car dealer who is vice president of automotive sales.

Increased competition from other Internet travel sites and airlines themselves have cut into Priceline's core business, and the company's efforts to develop other markets has faltered.

Last month, WebHouse Club, an independent licensee of Priceline that allowed customers to bid on gasoline and groceries, announced it would shut down. The same day Perfect Yardsale Inc., which offered used merchandise through the Priceline Web site, also announced it was going out of business.

Priceline's stock plunged 38 percent as a result of those announcements, and it dropped another 31 percent Friday after the company warned that its fourth-quarter revenue would drop because of slowing demand for its airline ticket service.

On Tuesday, Nasdaq Stock Market trading, Priceline fell 22 cents to $4.28, well off their 52-week high of $104.25.