GM and Ford forged agreements with two of the biggest sales and marketing players on the Internet, America Online Inc. (AOL) and Yahoo! Inc., respectively.
Adding substantial clout to other Web site arrangements and their own cyber services, GM said that by midyear it would tap into AOL's 20 million subscribers, while Ford looked forward to reaching the 105 million users of Yahoo's programs.
"We already have a presence on the Net through Gmbuypower.com and other systems, but it's not enough," said Mark T. Hogan, president of E-GM, the automaker's electronic-business unit. "Our strategy is to be everywhere with everybody."
One of GM's aims is to enable dealers and drivers to access AOL services, using the OnStar information network. Mr. Hogan says he's also negotiating linkups with car pricing sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com.
Ford says it plans to enable owners to set up service appointments on-line with dealers through Yahoo! and through connections with Microsoft CarPoint.com, iVillage.com and its own OwnerConnection.com.