Cars.com and the McClatchy news media company announced a deal Thursday that will bring the 17 remaining McClatchy affiliate markets into the Cars.com direct sales channel – a deal Cars.com says will allow it to work more closely with dealers in these markets.
Per the agreement, the transition would occur before October of next year.
In November of last year, the two companies reached an initial agreement to convert five markets (Raleigh, N.C.; Tacoma, Bellingham, and Olympia, Wash.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.), a conversion that has already begun.
Markets included in the latest deal are: Fort Worth, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Fresno, Sacramento and Modesto, Calif.; Kansas City, Mo.; Miami and Bradenton, Fla.; Lexington, Ky; Boise, Idaho; Columbus and Macon, Ga.; Columbia, S.C.; and Belleville, Ill.
Marketing support payments through 2019 are included in the latest deal.
McClatchy will continue to be a Cars.com partner and promote the site in its markets. McClatchy will also be a premier digital marketing partner for other digital tools via its excelerate Auto brand.
Cars.com said the transition gives them the ability to work directly with dealers in these markets, giving dealers more value and providing them access to a new platform that boosts the company’s market share.
Additionally, it gives Cars.com the ability to immediately launch digital ad solutions for dealers in all 17 markets. And the transition should help boost 2018 revenue for Cars.com by approximately 1 percent. The full uptick in revenue is likely by end of next year, Cars.com said.
“We are pleased to accelerate the conversion of these markets into our direct sales channel so that we can work directly with the dealers in each market to provide more value and give Cars.com a new platform to increase market share,” Cars.com president and chief executive officer Alex Vetter said in a news release.
“Our experienced sales team will be on the ground, deepening relationships with local retailers to help them optimize their businesses with the full breadth of Cars.com’s innovative solutions,” Vetter said. “As we continue to execute on our plan to increase revenue, profitability and enhance value for all shareholders, pursuing accelerated transitions with the remaining affiliates is a top priority.”
McClatchy president and CEO Craig Forman added: “We’re delighted that Cars.com can continue to grow its business with our local dealers through its direct sales force while the McClatchy sales team can focus on and grow our suite of automotive products and services through our excelerate brand.”