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Hyundai, Daewoo To Sell Cars On Net

Hyundai Motors has announced that it has launched online sales of its passenger cars, focusing on subcompact models, to take advantage of the soaring number of Internet users.

Late last month, Korea's largest automaker has begun marketing cars through the Internet and will now become the first Korean car manufacturer to open a cyber car dealership.

A company spokesman said that the site will offer information about Hyundai-built cars and that customers could place their orders directly over the Internet. In addition, customers can make payments and check the delivery schedule online, according to the official.

"Taking the number of Internet users, which is estimated at more than 4 million, into consideration, we have launched the Web site that took nearly 6 months to build it. It is mainly focused on offering diversified product information and establishing an advanced sales channel," the official said.

Initially, Hyundai plans to offer an one-stop online order service to its employees, while ordinary customers can place their order through the site and get delivery and other services via local sales offices.

Next year, the company plans to develop new models that can be purchased only through the Internet, he said.

Daewoo Motors, the second largest Korean car manufacturer, also plans to market cars in the U.S. through the Internet from the second half of this year by creating an Internet sales office. Daewoo is expected to begin domestic online sales service from the beginning of next year.

Visitors to the Daewoo Web site will be able to select a model and make payments for it either in cash or credit for home delivery, according to Daewoo officials.

To make such an one-stop service possible, Daewoo is now building an online network between Daewoo Motor's head office and financial institutions for electric payment, and for integration of the online car sales process from receiving orders to delivery of cars.

Industry analysts say that the both customers and car manufacturers would benefit from the online car sales through the Internet as customers could save time for purchasing cars whereas manufacturers also could reduce overall management costs required for sales and logistics as a result of improved efficiency.

They also pointed out that independent car dealers, who are selling all cars manufactured by the nation's three companies as well as overseas firms, would emerge in Korea in the near future as it did in the United States.



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