AOL Spiffs Up Autos Channel

America Online launched a spiffed up Autos Channel with new emphasis on the
local nature of car sales and an easier interface, plus content from three
well-known online automotive information sites — Consumer Reports,
Edmunds.com and Autofusion.


Dulles, Va.-based AOL, a unit of AOL Time-Warner , said the
revamped channel also includes more local resources for visitors looking to
research and buy cars or trucks, and will be available on the proprietary
flagship service as well as Netscape, CompuServe and AOL.com.


The channel includes features such as a Local Resources center on most pages
with direct links to local dealers; a local dealer locator; local deals
offered exclusively for AOL members;
a Compare and Decide tool that allows visitors to compare different models of
new and used cars; a decision guide that leads customers through a series of
questions that will create a list of ideal cars; a new Sell Your Car section
in conjunction with AutoTrader.com; and Talk About Cars, a communication
section for car enthusiasts with content from various auto sites, message
boards and chats.


“…members can (now) turn to the Autos Channel to get accurate information
on the true cost of cars, learn about the options they want, and read reviews
of new and used cars, all before they go to any dealership,” Jonathan Sacks,
president of AOL.


The channel also now includes a monthly Autos Newsletter that includes recall
notices, and rich media showcases, including 3-D views and streaming video.


Through an agreement with Autofusion, a provider of products and services for
automotive e-commerce, the Autos Channel now offers Build-A-Car, which will
allow AOL members to build, research, compare, save and retrieve information
on individual cars.


An expanded Buying Basics section now offers content from Consumer Reports,
including top picks, feature articles, warranty comparisons, advice on safety
features and information on car electronics.


And there’s new car book value section featuring content from Edmunds.com,
including tools, that provide new and used vehicle buyers and sellers the
current average transaction price for a vehicle in a particular market.
Members can also access Edmunds.com’s True Market Value Finance Rate
Estimator that provides consumers with personalized automotive direct lending
finance rates based on the area in which they live.


Financial arrangements with the content providers were not disclosed.

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