US Net car buying service to open UK arm

The world’s largest Internet car buying service, Autobytel, is launching in the UK and has appointed Grey Interactive to handle an estimated 4m marketing campaign.

Autobytel.com operates like a virtual motor show, and offers customers free access to online information about automotive makes, models, specification, pricing, finance and insurance.

Customers can place a purchase request online, which is followed up by an Autobytel appointed and trained dealer within 24 hours.

Autobytel, which was launched in the US in 1995, now handles more than $500m (313m) of sales a month. It has sold over 1.5 million cars.

The company’s UK arm was established in February and has been building its Web infrastructure ready for a consumer launch early next year.

Autobytel UK chief executive Kevin Turnbull says: “Grey has demonstrated a willingness to look at the business in the long term and work with us as marketing partners beyond the traditional advertiser/ agency relationship.”

Steve Blamer, chief executive of Grey London, comments: “The challenge we face is to communicate to consumers the benefits of the Autobytel system and that purchasing a car online could not be simpler.”

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