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OneSwoop seeks new-start partner

Internet automotive car seller OneSwoop wants a partnership with one of its rivals, believing the strongest new entrants must unite following UK price cuts.

Automotive Management understands that informal discussions have taken place between two of the online entrants battling for sales against manufacturer and dealer opposition.

The new entrants continue to talk bullishly but face much tougher opposition in 2001 when Ford, Vauxhall and other carmakers will sell all derivatives online. Former BMW GB boss Kevin Gaskell continues to delay the European launch of CarsDirect.com.

##OneSwoop--left##OneSwoop claims to have taken orders for 600 cars since June but could not say how many had been delivered.

At the Birmingham motor show Virgin Cars chief executive Ian Lancaster said they had sold almost 2,000 cars in four months, with a total turnover approaching £30m.

Tony Williamson, temporarily running OneSwoop as executive deputy chairman following the chief executive's departure, believes there are too many automotive online operations.

He said: "I hope we can get the best people together in some form of partnership but we have not yet had talks with another group. "The arbitrage advantage in importing from elsewhere in Europe has virtually disappeared. Also, at the beginning of the year, there were not many automotive onliners but now the market has been flooded with new entrants. It is difficult to make money."

Former chief executive Hugh Morris left OneSwoop at the end of his initial six-month secondment from Andersen Consulting, a major backer of the enterprise.

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