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CarsDirect waits as MSN backs Paris

CarsDirect Europe boss Kevin Gaskell has questioned the wisdom of Microsoft's sponsorship of the Paris motor show which opens this weekend.

“I want to get CarsDirect rolling in the EU as soon as we and our partners judge the time is right,” he said. “But at present a lot of money, time and attention is being thrown at the car market. We are not about to do the same until the market has settled.”

Bill Gates's MSN Carview has signed a deal to be one of the sponsors of the Paris show this year and in 2002 and 2004. Carview is the EU equivalent to Carpoint, its US online car sales service, which claims to generate an annual £5.7bn in automotive sales.

Carview will be launched across Europe from next year, starting with the UK. Contracts are being signed with a network of partners, and details are expected in early 2001. Carview UK managing director John Brewer said: “We are entering the market at a time when UK consumers are increasingly looking to the internet for a convenient, efficient, car-buying system.

“In this business people are now realising the benefits of strategic partnerships and the role they play in successfully evolving and sustaining impact online. Carview can make an enormous contribution in helping to build an internet architecture for manufacturers and dealers.”

Mr Brewer spent seven years working at BMW GB where as brand manager he was responsible for a number of new product launches.

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