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Internet

Jaguar figures out electrical system

British carmaker Jaguar becomes the first manufacturer to coordinate its dealers and sell used cars on the Net.

Jaguar said today that it would begin selling used cars on the Internet, another sign of the Net's growing clout in selling a myriad of products, including computer software, clothing, coffee mugs, and even pizza.

The high-priced luxury carmaker initially will set up a private intranet for car dealers to put used Jaguars in their regions on the block. The information will help fellow dealers locate cars for their customers, most likely in another part of the country. Sometime next year, the company plans to pitch used cars directly to consumers on the Net, although it has not ironed out all the details, officials said.

Some 50 U.S. Jaguar dealers already have agreed to offer used cars on the so-called Jaguar Remarketing Computer Network. The company hopes to have all of its 130 U.S. dealers signed on by March.

Jaguar said that soon customers will be able to buy used cars much the way they do new cars-- by placing an order with a dealer for the model, year and color they are looking for. The car then will be shipped to them when it becomes available.

"Ultimately, (this network) will allow them to walk into any Jaguar dealership in the country and find the the late-model Jaguar they're looking for--even though that car might be in another city or another state," said George Frame, vice president of financing, in a statement.

Jaguar's network was developed along with ADP Dealer Services Group, a unit of Automatic Data Processing.

Jaguar called its system "an industry first." But offer services already are available that let consumers search for used cars on the Net by on model, year and price.

Already, traditional media vehicles for used car advertising may not be sharing the road. This summera Web site called cablecars.com ran into a dispute with the Boston Globe newspaper. It charged that the Globe refused to run its ad for fear that it would cut into the newspaper's own revenue from classified ads. The Globe disputed the charges.

Selling cars on the Net can help reduce overhead for sellers. But it raises some potential risks for buyers, who may worry about issues such as whether their car is accurately described.

Jaguar also conceded that many of its high-end customers aren't yet Netizens, but says it is looking for ways to distinguish its marketing--and re-marketing--from that of other carmakers.