Direct Line, the UK's largest direct writer, is gearing up to attack the new and used car market with the launch of an internet service.

The company claims the supermarket-style offers on its website slash thousands of pounds off car manufacturers' list prices.

Ian Chippendale, Direct Line chief executive, said: “Direct Line shook up the insurance market, and with we aim to shake up the motoring market.”

He said the direct writer could afford to pass on savings to car buyers because it did not have to invest in expensive car showrooms.

All models sold include a year's warranty, 12 months' roadside assistance and road tax.