Direct Line rolled out an internet venture this week with car dealership Dixon Motors – its first since the direct writer's £50m investment in motoring e-commerce last month.
The site, to be launched in the summer, will be closely linked to Direct Line's existing site, directline.com. It will provide motorists with access to car sales and auctions, merchandise and accessories, motoring news and sport, car finance, and will include a breakdown on insurance products.
Dixon Motors is the UK's third largest car retailer and currently sells 70,000 cars a year. Direct Line has more than three million customers.
Oliver Prill, e-commerce managing director at Direct Line, anticipates that 15% of total car sales will be made over the internet by 2005.
Simon Dixon, managing director of Dixon Motors, said: "The fit between Direct Line and Dixon Motors is ideal for buying and selling cars online. Together, we have a unique combination of competencies."
Figures from Gemini Consulting reveal that in the next year, more than one in two UK car buyers are likely to consult the internet before making a purchase. Statistics from Fletcher research show that a quarter of higher social class motorists have already used the net for car services.
Motorists will eventually be able to buy and sell cars through multi-channel access, including WAP mobile phones and in-car telematics.
Cars ordered on the website will be delivered directly from the Dixon distribution facility to any location in the UK.