LONDON - General Motors' British subsidiary Vauxhall has launched its own Web site to sell vehicles directly to consumers at a discount of about $1,630.
The company claims to be the world's first automaker to sell all its mainstream models over the Internet.
Starting last week, consumers are able to buy cars, sell a used car and arrange financing on a new Web site, www.vauxhall.co.uk.
Vauxhall will be working directly with its 340 English dealers to provide the service. It promises that customers 'will benefit from the savings on marketing and distribution costs, which are reflected in the lower list prices,' said Nick Reilly, chairman of Vauxhall Motors Ltd.
Vauxhall is the first GM subsidiary in Europe to offer the service because Internet use in England is among the highest in Europe.
Vauxhall can afford to lower its prices via the Internet because it will not offer any special incentives, discounts or finance deals on the vehicles, Reilly said. Inventory costs also will be lower because the selection of models is small and they will be kept in a central warehouse, he said.
In other news, Ford Motor Co. is launching an Internet pilot project in Finland, the country with the highest percentage of Internet users. Ian McAllister, managing director of Ford of Britain, said at the London Motor Show that the automaker will study the project with an eye to expanding it elsewhere.
Ford has signed an agreement with Microsoft Corp.'s CarPoint to set up a build-to-order Internet buying service.