GM drives up sales via eBay

RESCUED carmaker General Motors (GM) and online auction site eBay yesterday launched a test programme in California which will let consumers negotiate directly with dealers and buy vehicles online.<br /><br />The car shopping website &ndash; &ndash; marks a departure from the way new vehicles have been traditionally sold in the US and comes a month after the company emerged from bankruptcy.<br /><br />It is intended to help GM win more customers after a dramatic slide in car demand worldwide.<br /><br />Over 225 GM dealers in California are participating in the programme, which runs from today until 8 September.<br /><br />The site allows consumers to compare pricing across models and participating dealerships, negotiate prices, and arrange financing and payment. <br /><br />Consumers can agree to pay the advertised &ldquo;buy it now&rdquo; price or indicate the amount they are willing to pay and can haggle with the dealer online.<br /><br />California, which has been dominated by import brands over the past several years, is the most heavily populated US state and the single largest market for new vehicles. <br /><br />Car sales have been hit harder in California than in other states over the past quarter because of the severity of the housing market slump there.<br /><br /><strong>FAST FACTS </strong>GENERAL MOTORS<br />&bull; GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in early July.<br />&bull; All four of GM's brands &ndash; Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac &ndash; will be available through the eBay scheme.