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Used auto sites drive into merger

The two largest used vehicle-buying sites on the Web say they will merge to increase their selling clout.

The two largest used vehicle-buying sites on the Web today said they will merge to increase their selling clout.

AutoConnect.com and Auto Trader Online together will operate as an independent company under the name AutoTrader.com. The new site, to be launched this fall, will sell used cars, trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles from a combined database of more than 1.5 million used autos, the companies said in a statement.

Both dealers and private sellers will continue to supply site inventory, the companies said. AutoConnect.com now hosts listings for more than 32,000 automobile dealers, while Auto Trader Online posts used cars from more than 18,000 dealers and more than 120,000 individual sellers.

AutoConnect.com was launched in May 1998 and is jointly owned by Manheim Auctions, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, and Automatic Data Processing.

Launched in 1996, Auto Trader Online is owned by Trader Publishing Company, a joint venture of Landmark Communications and Cox. AutoTrader.com will be headquartered in Atlanta and Victor "Chip" Perry, current chief executive of AutoConnect.com, will head the company.