TURIN - Fiat Auto will begin selling cars and financial services on the Internet in Italy and the UK starting on July 7.
At first, only new Fiat brand cars will be offered on the company's Online Buying Service. By the end of the year, used Fiat brand cars will be added in the two pilot countries.
By early 2001, Internet sales will be expanded to offer aftermarket services, including insurance and maintenance contracts.
In 2001, the Online Buying Service will be extended to the rest of Europe and to Alfa Romeo and Lancia models.
The Online Buying Service is based on Microsoft CarPoint technology.
'Ours is a dealer-centric strategy,' said Fiat Auto Managing Director Roberto Testore. 'The dealer represents the link between the
Internet user and the car industry. The aim of our Online Buying Service is to draw our customers to the web and direct them toward our dealers, establishing contacts with consumers who have already made up their minds to buy a car.'
Testore said the service would display only list prices, without discounts or incentives. The dealer will make the best offer - through personal contact.
Testore said Fiat Auto would invest about A50 million in the next five years on its e-business strategy.
Fiat Auto is also experimenting with auctions of special cars on the Ciao Web portal. Ciao Web is a joint venture between Fiat SpA and Ifil, one of the Agnelli family's financial holdings. Fiat SpA is controlled by the Agnelli family. The auctions started with such special cars as a racing Alfa Romeo 155 ITC.