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Book test cars 24 hours a day

A new online facility allowing drivers to book test drives at any time of the day or night goes live on September 1.

The website is run by an independent company and backed by the How's My organisation. It logs requests from prospects, qualifies them and passes them on to retailer partners. The whole process is likely to take around 48 hours.

The firm expects to have 160 dealers signed by Christmas and plans to grow at the rate of 40 a month. Retailers pay a monthly fee of between £50 and £100 but there are discounts for groups.

There is an additional cost of £74 for the distinctive blue, orange and yellow magnetic signs that must be displayed on demonstrators to help publicise the scheme. Dealers are required to include the Book-a-test-drive logo and the free call telephone number on any related advertising material.

Ex-Saab dealer Nutan Shah, Book-a-test-drive sales and marketing boss, says the investment is worthwhile. “I'm determined dealers pick up all possible sales leads as cost effectively as possible. Ultimately, we expect retailers will be able to close a sale on at least half the leads we give them,” she says.

The company intends to add light commercials, heavy goods vehicles and motorcycles to the booking service later this year.

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