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Autobytel Hits the Road to Australia

Autobytel, Inc. Tuesday parked its business model in a fourth continent.

The online car seller allied with Australia's St George Bank Ltd. and others to form Autobytel Australia, in which Autobytel.com (ABTL) will own a 30 percent stake. The site is expected to launch by the middle of this year.

St. George will provide financial backup to the online loan of the site, while local Autobytel Australia partner The Trading post will bring in its a used car market list, Fortis Insurance will add to insurance offerings, and vehicle distributor Astre Automotive will leverage its industry position. RACV will provide content for the site, while Strathfield e-technologies will contribute to Autobytel Australia's e-commerce strategies.

"The strong Australian automotive marketplace, in conjunction with Australia's high Internet penetration, makes this an ideal venue for us," said Mark Lorimer, President and chief executive officer of Autobytel.com.

Autobytel previously expanded to the U.K., Sweden, Canada, Japan and Europe.