COBALT GROUP BOOSTS CASH - Cobalt Group, a Seattle-based Internet marketing com-pany that serves dealers, received a private equity investment of $29 million from Warburg, Pincus Equity Partners, a New York venture capital fund. The investment will be used to expand Cobalt's product line. Cobalt also struck a deal with the HotBot search site at hotbot.com to provide a direct link to DealerNet, Cobalt's online car buying service.
NEW CHIEF - Auto-web.com appointed Dean DeBiase president and CEO. He was president and CEO of WorldPlay Entertainment, an Internet entertainment company that was acquired by America Online.
KANSAS CITY HAS WHEELS - Internet software company Navidec Inc. and Banc One Credit Co. have entered an agreement with Kansas City, Mo., TV station KSHB to expand the USWheels.com auto buying service to Kansas City. KCWheels.com is expected to launch early this year. Navidec and Banc One have set up similar programs in Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore. The Wheels services let consumers browse new- and used-vehicle inventories for local dealerships. Online inventories are updated daily.
STONEAGE MOVES - Stoneage Corp., an online auto buying service, has moved its headquarters from Southfield, Mich., to Troy, Mich., and changed its name to Stoneage.com. The company also has entered an agreement with CompUSA, a chain of computer stores, to provide Internet training for car dealership employees. Stoneage has begun offering training to subscribing dealers. Stone-age sends online customers to dealers for a price quote.