AutoNation and its partners will be the exclusive retailer of new and used vehicles on the new site, called AOL AutosDirect.
Under terms of the deal, the site will be the exclusive direct fulfillment arm on AOL's recently announced Auto Channel, expected to launch this fall. AutoNation said it will continue operating its own retailing Web site, AutoNationDirect.com, which will also be offered through other AOL properties such as AOL.com, CompuServe and Netscape Netcenter.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal is the latest AOL marketing alliance with a large offline business aimed at securing advertising and marketing revenues. Historically, most portals and Internet service providers have largely depended on advertising income from pure Internet companies, but many portals are looking for other avenues as ad spending from poorer Net companies begins to decrease.
AOL recently formed an alliance with Coca-Cola--perhaps the most recognized brand in the world--to develop online and offline marketing programs. The agreement follows a similar partnership between rival Yahoo and PepsiCo last month.
AOL said members using the new auto site will receive several perks, including one year of free scheduled service, $200 off any vehicle ordered from the factory, guaranteed service appointments that can be reserved via the Web, and $100 off an alarm system or theft deterrent device.
Separately, AutoNation also said today it has acquired Cendant's AutoVantage car-buying service for an undisclosed amount. The deal will give AutoNation access to more than 900 automotive dealers that participate in the AutoVantage service and will help substantially increase AutoNation's geographic coverage, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based retailer said.