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Toyota empowers online customers

Customers can now search and order Prius through Toyota's website in a trial that may be extended to other models. Purchase requests will be forwarded to the dealer selected by the customer.

At the Birmingham motor show, Mike Moran, Toyota GB marketing director, accused rival online sales operators of “brand massacre” for selling on price alone.

“Prices quoted for our online orders will probably be set at the average transaction price,” he said. “That way, the savings for net sales will be the same as for traditional sales.”

Ten dealers were involved in the working party that developed the online strategy, which is likely to include a part-exchange facility.

Toyota expects to have spent £10-15m on new media initiatives by the end of next year. An important development is the new Shop@Toyota system which enables customers to configure cars, choose finance or insurance and have part-exchange valuations through standalone pods in the showroom.

Mike Moran claimed dealers were a “fundamental part” of Toyota's plans. “Full online buying is likely to be a long way off,” he said.

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