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Horizon Media Wins Sonic Automotive

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LOS ANGELES Sonic Automotive has tapped Horizon Media to handle media planning and buying for the local broadcast campaigns of more than 40 dealerships in the Northern and Southern California and Las Vegas regions, the agency said.

The account will be serviced out of Horizon's Los Angeles office. The shop won the business following a review. The incumbent, MoGo Media in San Francisco, participated in the review. Other contenders were undisclosed.

Horizon will handle TV and radio planning and buying. Newspaper buying is handled in-house, said Jerry Klein, senior vice president and director of corporate development for Horizon Media in Los Angeles.

While Klein declined to discuss billings, sources estimated that the Charlotte, N.C.-based client would spend $5 million through Horizon Media. Sonic had more than $2 million in spot TV media expenditures in those markets in 2002 and less than $1 million through June of 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The client did not return calls seeking comment.

Sonic Automotive's dealerships sell Lexus, BMW, Infiniti, Toyota, Honda and Ford vehicles. It bills itself as the third-largest automotive retailer in the country and a Fortune 300 company.