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MP's dot-com support sparks retailer anger

Motor retailers were angered by the decision of Government minister Patricia Hewitt to speak at the launch of the online car import service this week.

Alan Pulham, NFDA director, said: “It is unfortunate at a time like this when we are waiting for the Government to release the Competition Commission's report. Endorsing isn't my ideal.”

Shadow trade and industry secretary Angela Browning said: “It seems rather extraordinary that she is prepared to do it at a time when her boss is sitting on the Commission's report,” she added.

Links have been drawn between the involvement of Andersen Consulting in the creation of and the fact that Patricia Hewitt was director of research for the consultancy group between 1994-97.

But a spokesman said: “ is an innovative, well-funded British company that is investing heavily in e-commerce,” he said. “It is the job of Patricia Hewitt to support enterprises like this.” offers UK spec cars supplied by around 200 Ford, General Motors, Peugeot, Rover, Audi and Volkswagen dealers in Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark and Holland. Price savings are typically 18-24%, but can be as high as 38% on specific models., which charges a commission of 3.5% on the total cost, claims that delivery will generally be made within two weeks of the order.

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