Fleet News

Anger at minister's internet plug

THE car industry has expressed its astonishment that the Government appears to be endorsing the use of internet businesses offering cut-price cars from the Continent to bypass the established UK dealer network. Patricia Hewitt, former Economic Secretary to the Treasury, launched OneSwoop.com, which claims to be the first pan-European online car buying service, in her new role as minister e-commerce and small business.

A spokesman for the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the DTI's apparent endorsement of OneSwoop.com was 'astonishing'. 'When Byers is virtually holed-up at the DTI, saying nothing on the sensitive subject of car pricing, it's highly insensitive that Hewitt should be taking such a high profile stance on the issue.' And Alan Pulham, director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, also called Hewitt's actions 'insensitive'.

But the DTI insisted Hewitt's involvement was part of a high profile campaign to encourage businesses to seize the opportunities presented by the internet before losing them to the competition.

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