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Fifth of buyers use the net

The internet is an increasingly vital tool for dealerships in marketing their business and expanding their customer base, according to Glass’s Information Services.

One in five consumers is using the web to locate dealers and compare prices, and more than half of them are prepared to travel more than 50 miles to source the car of their choice – double the figure of those consumers who don’t use the internet, says its research.

The survey shows that while just 2% of respondents would actually purchase a car online, more than a fifth use the internet to visit a manufacturer’s website and locate a dealership that they will then visit in person.

Steve Ricketts, strategic business manager at Glass’s, says although franchised dealers will be able to reach outside existing territorial boundaries from October 2005 when the location clause expires under block exemption rules, the internet could give them a head start now.

“This research clearly highlights that a major opportunity already exists to use the internet to build a far wider potential customer base,” he says.

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