ELLE LAUNCHES GUIDE FOR WOMEN CAR BUYERS: AUTO WEB, HONDA SPONSOR ONLINE SERVICE

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Hachette Filipacchi Magazines' Elle, in conjunction with its Car & Driver, last week launched an Auto Buyers Guide for Women service on its Web site (www.elle.com).

American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura division and online car buying site Auto Web have agreed to sponsor the guide. Two more car marketers are expected to join them.

UNUSUAL TACK

What makes the deal unusual is the involvement of Elle, the women's fashion and lifestyle magazine.

AN UNDERSERVED AREA

"NetSmart did a study last year and found that half the women then interviewed were looking for information about automobiles," said Ron Bernstein, VP-publisher, new media, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines.

"With women reportedly responsible for 50% of the purchasing decisions about cars, we feel that this is an area that's really been underserved," added Jim Dockerty, Hachette's president of new media.

Mr. Bernstein said surveys have shown that women are uncomfortable with the auto showroom experience in general, so the site is aimed at helping them.

"We hope that women will feel empowered from the information they get from this site," Mr. Dockerty said.

Editorial on the site will include articles about style and safety as well as auto financing.

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