However, within the password-protected business site, the take-up has been less enthusiastic, despite racking up the most sales of any web-based company contacted by Fleet NewsNet. About 200 vehicles have been sourced on contract hire, through a sales agreement with Avis, First Mutual Contracts and Mann Egerton Vehicle Contracts.
However, the business process is not fully electronic. Fleet managers send in their requests, which are then re-keyed to e-mail to each contract hire supplier, then the reply quotes are e-mailed back to the customer. Kevin Turnbull, chief executive of Autobytel UK said: 'Up to 10% of our traffic is fleet business. We have done a lot of research and we will be taking more steps in 2000, including attending the Fleet Show. 'Already, we are trialling fleet disposals with a contract hire company and a daily rental company, although they are not being named.'
Other on-line sales products include Autohit, Cars on the Web, Virtual Showroom, Autolocate and carspecs.com, which is a tie-up between an automotive information supplier of the same name and dealer group Dixon Motors, who are also in talks with millionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Virgin Group is looking to sell bargain priced imports on the internet, alongside low-cost UK vehicles through a new brand, Virgin Cars, which is set to be launched in April.