Opel, AOL Germany Strike Strategic Alliance

In an agreement that builds on the relationship between General Motors and America Online, Adam Opel AG has tapped AOL Germany to help it market its vehicles across the interactive service’s properties.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it calls for Opel, a GM subsidiary, to gain placement across AOL Germany’s brands beginning in September, including the flagship AOL service, aol.de, CompuServe.com, and Netscape.de. The automaker will also appear in several AOL channels, including the AOL Auto, Women, Personal Finance, and Sports channels. Additionally, a new Keyword — “Opel” — will provide AOL Germany’s members with access to special Opel sections containing information, special offers, and features such as one that allows people to configure their own cars. AOL Germany will also make Opel vehicles available for purchase on its new and used car marketplace.

“AOL Germany intends to work closely with Opel as its partner to communicate with automobile consumers in new ways, enhance the value of its brands and products and add a new dimension via the interactive medium,” Uwe Heddendorp, managing director, AOL Germany.

Although this is the first time that AOL Germany and Opel have worked together, the automaker has previously been experimenting online. In March, Opel became the first volume vehicle manufacturer in Germany to allow customers to select and configure cars. Back in 1999, Opel was already allowing users to configure their own vehicles and receive binding offers from dealers via e-mail.

“This alliance is the latest in our innovative use of the online medium to engage and inform consumers about Opel automobiles and services,” said Carl-Peter Forster, chief executive officer of Opel. “With this announcement, we move into the driver’s seat for German automobile companies online.”

In mid-June, America Online renewed its strategic marketing agreement with Opel parent company General Motors. The two companies had been working together since January 2000.

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