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New eBay service

eBay Motors has thrown down the gauntlet to Auto Trader by launching an online classified advertising service for motor retailers.

Due to go live in mid-August, the eBay Motors Classified Ads package allows traders to list cars for retail sale on the eBay website, alongside the usual auction sales.

From launch, eBay is offering dealers a two-month free trial, during which they can list up to 100 cars. After the trial period, the service will cost £150 per month, again to display up to 100 cars.

eBay claims the package will offer better value than Auto Trader, the market leader in motor classified advertising, and give access to more than 3.5m users per month.

However, Auto Trader, whose online audience numbers 6.8m, argues that only a small proportion of those 3.5m visitors are actually looking for cars.

Jody Ford, senior manager at eBay Motors, says the launch is in response to feedback from some dealers who want a simpler system than eBay’s usual auction format. One issue for vendors using eBay Motors is that buyers can back out of the sale after winning the online auction.

Transactions will not take place on eBay, but will be direct between buyer and dealer. “For dealers, it’s about generating more effective and reliable leads for their dealership,” says Ford.

“We think it’s a very competitive price. There’s no tie-in, it’s all on a monthly contract so they can decide each month if it is good value.”

He hopes to announce agreements with two manufacturer-owned retailers in the coming weeks. Several franchised and independent motor retailers have already signed up for the trial, including Hartwell, HR Owen and Fords of Winsford.

Ford hopes the new venture will bring an increase in the quality and value of vehicles listed on eBayMotors.co.uk. He won’t reveal targets but says eBay Motors wants to be a “serious player in the marketplace”.

A spokesman at Auto Trader, which trades with 16,600 dealers annually, says: “Our strategy to provide the best service to dealers makes us confident going forward.”

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