Cox Installing Its Auto Dealer Ad System At ‘Atlanta J-C’

By: E&P Staff

Starting this fall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will be connected into the auto dealer advertising system developed by its sibling Cox Enterprises company Manheim Auctions, the largest operator of wholesale auto auctions in the world.

The Journal-Constitution will be the first newspaper to use Manheim?s Dealer Advertising System, which it touts as a ?dealer-friendly? way for auto retailers in the metropolitan Atlanta market to place ads directly into the print newspaper and its Web sites, including ajccars.com, ajc.com, and accessAtlanta.com.

Newspaper print and online auto classified has come under pressure from a variety of Web-based search and buy sites. Manheim owns a large stake in AutoTrader.com, the Web spin-off of the auto book that has been particularly aggressive in targeting newspaper?s auto classified franchise. In several big markets recently, AutoTrader.com and the print AutoTrader have run television commercials contrasting its products with the local newspaper.

“Atlanta is a great market for the launch of our new system, and we are excited about working with the AJC and Atlanta-area dealers to capitalize on the system’s enhanced advertising capabilities,” Todd Croom, vice president of business development for Manheim, said in a statement.

Croom said Manheim intends to roll out the system to Cox newspapers in Austin, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and West Palm Beach, Fla., reaching a total of 5,700 additional Manheim dealers.

The system will rollout nationally in early 2006, he said. After beta testing with live feeds, the Atlanta system will launch late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of this year, Manheim said.

In its initial release, there are an estimated 2,500 Manheim dealers with access to the Dealer Advertising System, with subsequent releases to be made available to dealers in other Cox newspaper markets in the second half of 2005.

Manheim uses AdStar?s XML Gateway Platform Services and EdgCapture payment processing services to integrate a direct connection from the Dealer Sales Manager application to AJC’s legacy advertising system and Web sites.

“The first phase of Manheim’s system-wide implementation represents another major milestone in our company’s history, because it significantly broadens the use of our technology beyond the scope of our traditional customer base,” Leslie Bernhard, president and chief executive officer of AdStar, Inc., said in a statement. “Manheim is one of the most recognizable names in the automotive industry and is dedicated to helping dealers succeed. The new system will provide dealers with a direct advertising channel into their target newspapers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Bernhard said the new system gives dealers ?total control over their ads,? allowing them to quickly target publications as well as create, schedule and pay for print or online ads in a single transaction.

Automotive classified is the largest single category of newspaper classified, accounting for more than $5 billion in revenues, according to the Newspaper Association of America. The National Automobile Dealers Association reported that last year dealers spent more than $8.3 billion in advertising, about 46% of that on newspapers.

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