Autobytel expands to sell cars online nationally

The Internet auto site launches AutobytelDirect, a new-car buying service that offers customers a real-time online inventory of vehicles and at-home delivery.

Autobytel.com, the Internet car-buying service, today said it will sell cars directly to consumers over the Internet.

Autobytel launched AutobytelDirect, a national, new-car buying service that offers a real-time online inventory of vehicles, featuring pricing, trade-options, financing and insurance packages, as well as at-home delivery.

The move is part of a larger trend by Internet companies to get into the business of selling cars and auto parts. Friday, Internet powerhouse Amazon.com announced that it would take a 5 percent stake in online car retailer Greenlight.com.Auto industry speeds up online

"Click-and-buy has always been the Holy Grail of online car buying," Autobytel.com chief executive Mark Lorimer said in a statement.

The AutobytelDirect program will be available to all Autobytel new car dealers at no additional cost, the company said. In most states, upon the completion of a sale, AutobytelDirect dealers will pay fees ranging from $100 to $300, depending on the gross selling price of the vehicle.

The new car-selling service is part of an expansion by Autobytel. The company plans to begin an online diagnostic service in March that will let consumers obtain a synopsis of possible causes and solutions for automobile problems.

Autobytel already sells approximately 50,000 vehicles per month through affiliations with more than 3,000 auto dealerships.