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Amazon gives green light to car site

The e-tail giant is expected to announce today that it will launch an online car store later this week in conjunction with Greenlight.com.

    Online retailer Amazon.com is branching out once again.

    Amazon announced today that it will launch an online car store this week in conjunction with Greenlight.com.

    As previously reported, the new store, which Amazon will launch later this week, will come in the form of a tab on Amazon's site that will link to Greenlight, an online car seller. The co-branded site will be similar to Amazon's health and beauty store run by Drugstore.com.

    "We're excited to be involved in this emerging industry online," Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

    While Amazon continues to move well beyond its bookseller roots, its still unclear whether online shoppers have noticed. A recent report by Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Faye Landes noted that Amazon customers continue to see the company as a retailer of media products--books, videos and CDs--rather than of a wider array of merchandise. Amazon first began as a Net bookseller, adding music, video and toy sales over time. The company now also sells kitchenware, garden furniture, hardware tools, and health and beauty products.

    The deal with Greenlight comes as the site has received new funding. The online car dealer said Monday it raised $39 million in third-round funding from Amazon, Techno-Venture Company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

    Though investors have shown renewed faith in Greenlight, its competitor CarOrder.com decided to shut down its e-tail operations last week.

    In January, Amazon announced that it bought a 5 percent stake in Greenlight. As part of that deal, Greenlight agreed to pay Amazon $82.5 million over five years for marketing and promotion.

    The launch of the new store tab comes one week after Amazon removed a similar store tab linking to Living.com. Amazon owned an 18 percent stake in Living.com, which closed shop and announced it would file for bankruptcy protection.

    Earlier this month, Amazon struck a 10-year partnership with Toysrus.com to develop a new co-branded e-commerce site for toys and video games. Amazon said it also plans to create a co-branded baby-products site with Toysrus.com

    Greenlight sells cars in 27 markets nationwide. Unlike some of its competitors, the site attempts to work with established dealer networks. One of Greenlight's investors is Asbury Automotive Group, which owns or has investments in some 100 automobile dealerships across the United States.