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Click to drive: GM, eBay join to sell new cars online

A co-branded site will allow consumers to browse, negotiate, and then buy new GM cars online during a nearly monthlong trial in California.

General Motors and eBay will start a trial program Tuesday to let Californians buy cars online.

Dealers at 225 locations in California will participate in the program, which will run from Tuesday until September 8. It will be available at the co-branded Web site, gm.ebay.com.

The site will allow people to compare prices, arrange financing, and check a used car's eligibility for the Cash for Clunkers trade-in program. There is the "Buy It Now" option where people agree to pay the advertised price or can make an offer using eBay's auctioning system.

The trial will be started with 20,000 GM models from 2008, 2009, and 2010. After purchase, cars will be picked up at the dealership.

Gathering information online when buying a car has become commonplace in the United States. GM and eBay cited a J.D. Power & Associates study that found that more than 75 percent of people did research online while buying a new vehicle.

"As the dealer showroom expands from the parking lot to the laptop, this makes it easier for a customer to browse available new-car inventory, make an offer, buy it now, or send a message asking for more information from a dealer," Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of U.S. sales, said in a statement.

eBay said that its eBay Motors site for selling used cars has been getting 12 million individual visits per month.

One car dealer in California, Inder Dosanjh, told the Associated Press that he already sells used cars on eBay and plans to put his new vehicle inventory on the new site this week. "I think they should have done this a long time ago," he told the AP.