HuffPo Bets On Big Three Car Makers To Drive Ad Revs

A year after the Big Three car makers looked like they could wind up as just the Big Two, auto ad spending has recovered somewhat, and General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are expected to shift more dollars to online. Huffington Post president and chief revenue officer Greg Coleman is sensing an opportunity there and has hired Detroit agency Focus Media (NSDQ: FMCN) & Marketing to lead the site’s direct sales effort targeting the city’s auto manufacturers. In a statement, Coleman said, “Given the size and importance of the big three domestic carmakers, hiring a designated rep to work with them is a milestone for HuffPost in our continued national sales expansion.”

In terms of charting the spending rebound among car makers, last fall, local media forecaster Borrell Associates predicted that total U.S. ad spend for new cars would rise to $19.2 billion this year from the low of $18.4 billion in 2009. As a small sign of a revival in ad spend, GM, long considered a bellwether when it comes to the direction of ad dollars, inched up its spending 1.3 percent last year, according to recent figures from Kantar Media (fka TNS Media).

To reach his previously stated goal of doubling HuffPo