In a deal that the companies are billing as the largest online marketing agreement ever announced, online used car resource AutoConnect signed a deal today to pay America Online $17 million (US$) for 26 months of promotion.
Under the terms of the deal, AutoConnect.com becomes the premier source of used automobile classified advertising on America Online, AOL.com and the AOL-owned Compuserve online service. AutoConnect will provide AOL’s and CompuServe’s combined 19 million consumers with access to more than 750,000 used cars and trucks through more than 31,000 participating dealers nationwide. AOL and Compuserve users will be able to list their cars for sale at no cost.
“This partnership will enable AOL members and Web-based users to quickly access the world’s largest database of used automobiles and automotive shopping resources, making for a better overall used car shopping experience,” said Chip Perry, president and CEO of AutoConnect.
AutoConnect’s services will be promoted with text links, buttons and banners. AutoConnect will also be the primary sponsor of AOL’s used car “decision guides,” which help buyers determine what kind of automobile will best serve their needs and budget.
Used Cars Are Major Market
Used cars represent nearly 80 percent of the retail automotive market. According to the National Automotive Dealers Association, 41 million used cars were solid in 1998, compared to 10.5 million new cars. The value of the used cars sold was $370 billion, compared to $303 billion for the new cars.
AutoConnect is trying to tap both sides of the market, with its services open to both dealers and individuals who are looking to buy or sell.
In addition to offering access to used cars, AutoConnect also offers services to help buyers compare insurance rates and finance their automobile purchases. AutoConnect also offers information about new cars.
AutoConnect is owned by Manheim Auctions, a subsidiary of media company Cox Enterprises, and the Dealer Services Group of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NYSE: AUD). Manheim and Automatic Data Processing combine to provide a variety of products and services to more than 90 percent of car dealers in the United States.