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Fiat and Peugeot put stock on net

Manufacturers are warming to the internet as a way of helping dealers locate and retail used cars despite some reservations over new car stock locators.

Fiat Auto UK has launched Virtual Forecourt, an e-commerce package for approved used cars, designed and managed by BCA Automotiv, while Peugeot has announced plans for used car internet trading by the end of the year.

Virtual Forecourt enables consumers to view the entire used car stock held by Fiat and Alfa Romeo and their dealer networks via the manufacturers' existing websites. They can access the database at home or through a customer-facing screen at the dealership.

Dealers can use the system to acquire cars through fixed price instant purchase, electronic auctions and tenders. They can also buy online from the manufacturer or exchange cars between each other.

John Chater, Fiat and Alfa Romeo used car manager, predicted that the venture would be “a sound commercial success”.

The relationship with BCA enabled dealers to source cars direct from Fiat and Alfa Romeo electronically, he said. “Virtual Forecourt is set to generate significant wholesale and retail used car business for Fiat and Alfa Romeo.” Peugeot's used car stock locator system will be a development of the Direct software installed in dealerships last November.

Dealers will be able to search for stock across the franchised network through Peugeot's central database, allowing them to swap stock with other retailers in minutes.

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