AOL: You’ve Got Auto Dealers

After more than a year of planning, AOL announced today that it’s launched a new auto channel. According to the press release, AOL’s new Auto channel, launched in partnership with Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book, along with long-time partner Autotrader, will “give members an opportunity to
to be contacted by local car dealers who offer the exact cars they are looking for,” as Chris Croll, AOL VP ECommerce, describes the new service.
What this means for AOL, more importantly, is that they now have a means to participate in CPA, aka revenues from lead generation, for autos, one of the high-ticket items customers use the web to research and evaluate, at the same time they have retained their (lucrative) relationship with Autotrader.com, who, in the past has paid them on a CPM basis.
Also included in the deal: Consumer Reports Buyer’s Guides for Autos, another popular and fast-growing series from a very reputable AOL partner (and a company I have worked with).
Would it be cruel to mention that it’s taken AOL 5 years to offer what CarPoint, now the MSN Autos channel, launched with in 1996?