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Report Says Internet Will Impact UK Car Market

Until now the Internet has had a limited impact on the UK car market, but that is about to change, according to a new report from Fletcher Research.

Currently, the Internet is appealing to older, more educated and more affluent car buyers, says the report. However, most of them are simply looking for information rather than seeking to purchase a car over the Internet.

Despite current reluctance, by 2003 almost 500,000 purchase decisions will be made online each year, predicts the report -- a figure that represents around 20 per cent of the UK new car market.

"Online consumers want to use the Internet to help them buy cars," commented Neil Bradford, director of Fletcher Research.

"Currently manufacturers and dealers are using the web to drive interested users to the offline sales channel. But successful online strategies will combine the research and communications potential of the Internet to instil sufficient faith in consumers to commit to a vehicle purchase online."

The main deterrent to purchasing online, says the report, is the need for most prospective owners to test-drive a car before making a decision. Fully two-thirds of respondents cited this as the main reason for not buying online.

Reluctance will be overcome by those manufacturers who build sufficiently strong customer relationships, the research company goes on to say. By generating a high level of brand loyalty, manufacturers can convince purchasers that the performance, ride, comfort and other features of a new car will meet their expectations.

The new report is called: "Dream Machines: Selling New Cars Online," and further information is available at the Fletcher Research Web site.