GM Expected to Spend Big to Promote New Car Site

General Motors is planning a nationwide Internet ad blitz for early next year to roll out its own online car-buying service to go head-to-head with Autobytel.com and Microsoft’s CarPoint, according to an Adweek report.

The new service is expected to be called GM BuyPower. Zentropy Interactive in Los Angeles was hired to help with the rollout, executives at GM’s consumer marketing initiative division were quoted as saying.

DMB&B, Los Angeles, the traditional agency of record for BuyPower, will handle the creative, said Ann Blakney, director of GM’s consumer marketing initiative, the unit that operates BuyPower.

In the meantime, Zentropy will collaborate with Catalyst Resources in San Francisco, on upgrading the site to serve a national consumer base, Zentropy chief executive officer Ryan Magnussen told Adweek.

GM BuyPower has actually been in beta test since its launch in October 1997, covering the states of Washington, California, Oregon and Idaho. Look for the nationwide rollout in the first quarter of next year.

Coinciding with the national launch, an ad campaign will break into a market that utilizes predominantly television and online media, Blakney told Adweek. Total spending hasn’t been determined, but it is believed the budget will be in the tens of millions.

The car maker intends to position BuyPower as a direct competitor to independent Web car-buying services and has been providing customers with information about competitors’ cars to underscore its position as a comprehensive car-buying source, Blakney said.

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