The news coincided with Vauxhall confirming that it expects to sell 3,000 vehicles via the web this year - almost three times last year's tally of 1,163. After the success of Luton's .com cars offered for sale only on the internet from November 1999, Vauxhall became the first manufacturer to make its entire range available via its website - www.vauxhall.co.uk.
But as well as moving more metal, Vauxhall also has major plans to integrate the various strands of its internet operations into a seamless customer relationship management system which should benefit both the car-maker and its customers.
Head of Vauxhall's recently created new media team, Paul Comfrey, said diverse areas such as finance, insurance, servicing and accessories would all be brought together in one database to provide a cradle-to-grave 'ownership experience'.
In the near future, owners will receive servicing reminders and details of special deals direct via e-mail, and then be able to book their cars into their most convenient dealer for work using an online booking system.
'Our focus so far has very much been on the car-buying process, but we are moving towards enhancing the ownership experience from the customer's point of view,' said Comfrey. 'We will add in new elements to the website which will be useful to the customer as a means of making the ownership experience more rewarding.'
Comfrey - previously Astra brand manager - also has plans to improve the fleet operator's section of the website by introducing useful new functionality such as a company car tax calculator. Corporate customers can't currently transact with Vauxhall over the internet, but the website provides useful model and specification information for both fleet managers and drivers.