CHICAGO — Cars.com and news media provider McClatchy announced an agreement to convert the remaining 17 affiliate markets into the Cars.com direct sales channel prior to the October 2019 affiliate agreement expiration date. The agreement follows an earlier November 2017 initial accord to convert five markets.
The new agreement includes marketing support payments through 2019, reflecting a continuing relationship between Cars.com and McClatchy, a smooth transition, and an opportunity to immediately introduce digital advertising solutions for the benefit of dealer customers. McClatchy also will continue to partner with Cars.com, promoting Cars.com in its markets while also acting as a premier digital marketing partner for other digital solutions through its “excelerate Auto” brand, all according to the announcement.
“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,” said Alex Vetter, Cars.com’s president and CEO. “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. 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.”
“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,” said McClatchy’s president and CEO, Craig Forman.
The transitions will occur throughout 2018 and include markets in 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. As previously announced in November 2017, Cars.com has already commenced the conversion of Raleigh, N.C.; Tacoma, Bellingham, and Olympia, Wash.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.