AutoNation Inc. has formed a three-year partnership with MSN CarPoint.
To make its dot-com efforts economically viable, AutoNation needs a higher volume of leads than it can generate on its own, said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson in an interview Friday at the J.D. Power and Associates International Automotive Roundtable at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash., owns a majority stake in CarPoint. Ford Motor Co. owns a minority share. The AutoNation-CarPoint partnership is not exclusive. AutoNation will continue to get referrals from America Online, for instance, and CarPoint has several other automotive partners.
CarPoint already sends referrals to about 5,000 dealerships. Around 4,800 of them get access to CarPoint leads via one of CarPoint's partners, such as Ford.