In what may be the first of many media deals, AutoTrader has taken over Adicio Motors slot on SignonSanDiego, the newly revised online site for The San Diego Union-Tribune. AutoTrader, a Cox Enterprises property and the leading third-party auto site, has been the default auto site for most of its sister Cox Radio and newspaper sites since 2008. This is its first implementation outside the Cox sphere.
From The Union-Tribune’s point of view, a core reason to switch may have been cost savings, which is a high priority for the new ownership. AutoTrader’s deal with The UT — which is online only — isn’t integrated with any other UT content and will not require significant costs to implement (if any).
From AutoTrader’s point of view, the deal can only help reinforce its already strong brand in San Diego (and around the U.S.). But Cars.com President Mitch Golub, in an e-mail, commented that “we certainly know you don’t do these deals for the traffic.”
Golub notes that Cars.com has done “dozens” of deals where it powers the media site. They “often aren’t worth the paper they’re written on,” he wrote. Cars.com had powered the UT site prior to Adicio’s takeover a couple of years ago.
This post has been updated and corrected from an earlier version that had stated that Cars.com had been the most recent company to power the UT site.