Cars.com and McClatchy accelerate affiliate market transition

Agreement brings dealers in all McClatchy markets into Cars.com's direct sales channel

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Cars.com Inc., a leading online automotive marketplace, and McClatchy have 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 excelerateTM Auto brand. 

"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 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 excelerateTM brand," said Craig Forman, McClatchy's president and CEO.

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.

Sales strategy in phased transition period
The transition will occur in three phases on or before April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1. In advance of each phase, Cars.com will dedicate new sales team members to serve these markets and build relationships with dealers in these geographies. Dealer customers located within the McClatchy markets will benefit from the dedicated and specialized Cars.com salesforce and access to the full suite of Cars.com product offerings in addition to other digital solutions offered by McClatchy.

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