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Gm Plan To Sell Cars On Ebay Starts

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Car buyers in California will be able to name their price tomorrow when a new sales partnership between General Motors and eBay, the internet auction site, goes live.

GM, which first announced the scheme to its plans to expand its showrooms from the parking lot to the laptop last month, said that 225 dealers in California would take part in the trial, offering up to 20,000 cars and trucks, from tomorrow.

Vehicles will be offered through eBay Motors' traditional formats such as "Buy It Now", where shoppers agree to pay the advertised price, and eBay's innovative "Best Offer" option, where buyers indicate the price they are willing to pay and can negotiate online with the dealer for the vehicle.

Consumers visiting gm.ebay.com will be able to compare pricing between models and dealerships and determine the value of their trade-in or whether their current vehicle may also qualify for the government-funded "Cash For Clunkers" car scrappage scheme.

The trial represents a turning point for GM, which is desperate to boost sales having emerged from bankruptcy protection last month. A number of GM dealers already offer an online sales service, but the trial will expand this and give it a higher profile. The scheme will also add to an existing partnership covering GM-certified used vehicles sold through eBay.

The internet is becoming an increasingly important tool for new car dealers. A recent JD Power & Associates study reported that more than 75 per cent of new-vehicle buyers in 2008 used the web during their shopping and research, compared with 70 per cent in 2007. The study also found that 2008 marked the largest year-on-year increase in online car shopping since 2001.

Ted Nicholas, president and chief executive of the Three Way Chevrolet car dealership in Bakersfield, California, who is participating in the scheme, said: "We've found that serious shoppers want it to be easy and have shifted from the traditional forms of researching and purchasing vehicles to getting it all done on the internet.

This could be interesting, could car dealerships become a thing of the past? You could certainly cut a huge amounts of costs selling cars this way.

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