A web-based sales generator that claims to bring car buyers direct to dealers has been launched.
Its creators liken it to a personal shopper for buyers and that Car Enquiry offers a "new way of buying and selling cars".
The tool, which has been three years in development, is a free online service for people looking to purchase a car. Buyers fill in their requirements on the Car Enquiry website, indicating preferences such as make, budget, mileage and colour.
Their enquiry is then submitted to the network of registered dealers that are signed up to receive Car Enquiry alerts. The dealers then match the buyer's requirements against their current stock and use the system’s messaging function to contact the buyer with details of relevant vehicles.
Among the initial adopters of the system are Marshalls - across a number of its Land Rover, Jaguar, Volvo, Nissan and Honda dealerships - and Cambria, across some of its Ford, Nissan and Volvo dealerships.
Independent dealerships and car supermarkets have also signed up.
The Car Enquiry system allows dealers to filter the enquiries they receive so that they only see requests based on the marques they sell.
Enquiries can be delivered to the dealership either through logging onto the system or via email alerts.
Notifications can also be sent by text message to the salesperson's mobile phone, allowing the recipient to respond at anytime of the day, even though the dealership may be officially closed.
Behind Car Enquiry is Paul Boddington, who has worked in the car retail sector for 18 years.
He was convinced car retailing wasn’t keeping pace with web developments.
“The internet has revolutionised the way people shop, and every retail sector has had to adjust the way it sells and interacts with its customers," he said.
"The car sector is no different.Increasingly, customers don’t have the time or the inclination to trawl forecourts or websites for weeks on end in the hope that they can find the right car. Neither do they want to rely on the chance that the exact car they are looking for might be advertised at the exact price they want to pay in the exact edition of the traditional printed press they have bought that particular week.
“Car Enquiry takes the hard work out of the car buying process for both parties. For dealers, it brings qualified prospects to their door from right across the UK; for customers, it takes the leg work out of finding a new car, offering them peace of mind that they are buying from a trustworthy dealer.”
Dealers using Car Enquiry are only ever sent enquiries from customers actively looking to buy. Each enquiry has a shelf life of one month before it is removed from the system, ensuring the quality and validity of the sales opportunity.
Dealer access to the Car Enquiry system costs £99 per month per user log-in and works on a monthly rolling contract.