Mercedes-Benz is working on a deal that would make the company the official import auto sponsor of the '96 Olympics, a rights package worth an estimated $8M "in cash and in-kind services." The deal, which follows Atlanta Centennial Olympics Properties (ACOP) splitting an expected $40M "mega-auto sponsorship four ways, would be used as a platform for Mercedes to showcase a new generation of cars, likely a much anticipated line of sport-utility vehicles." ACOP, unable to find a "taker" on the $40M "Partner" sponsorship, "has shifted gears toward four distinct auto categories": domestic, truck or sport-utility vehicle, import and car rental. General Motors, "in the wake of locking up" an estimated $40M deal with NBC's Olympic coverage, has offered ACOP a "mere" $5M, according to sources. Incumbent sponsor Chrysler is also said to be in the running for the domestic slot (Eric Hollreiser, BRANDWEEK, 10/24).