The service has been created in partnership with 'hammerless auctions' specialist Cars Direct and will give National Grid staff first option on vehicles defleeted from its 1,450-vehicle fleet.
Using a 'robobid' system, employees can set a lower starting bid price for a vehicle and their bid will automatically increase to beat any higher bids, with a price ceiling set by the staff member.
All the cars listed on the National Grid site will list vehicle specifications with photographs, and staff will also have the option of inspecting their potential purchase. Vehicles will be put on the site shortly before defleeting and unsold models will be disposed of through traditional sales channels, including Cars Direct, which remarkets 300 vehicles a year for National Grid. Cars Direct will also offer buyers extra services including brokering finance and insurance. Once a buyer has viewed and purchased the vehicle, the auction firm will deliver it within 24 hours.
Cars Direct is also negotiating with other utility companies about the service with a view to setting up similar sales sites. Roger Woodward, managing director of Cars Direct, said: 'More companies are opting for online sales of ex-fleet vehicles to staff because it is emerging as one of the easiest and quickest methods.
'However, clients should only invest in online sales with companies that have years of experience remarketing ex-fleet vehicles through traditional on-site sales. Also, online sales of this kind will only succeed if the buyers trust the company they are purchasing from.'