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HEARD ON THE BEAT / IN ORANGE COUNTY

Car Web Site to Be Topic

October 26, 1998|JONATHAN GAW | TIMES STAFF WRITER

At Autobytel.com's semiannual meeting with some of its top car-dealer customers in Sedona, Ariz., which continues today, General Motors Corp.'s recently unveiled car-selling Web site will be a major topic of discussion, according to the Irvine company's president.

The car maker's site is designed to get customers the best price by having dealers bid against each other for the business. It's unclear, however, whether dealers would participate in the system when other online car referral companies have not successfully initiated such programs.

"Why GM is going to have more success getting the dealers to competitively bid on cars is beyond me," said Mark Lorimer, president and chief executive of Autobytel.com.

Also, visitors to GM's site won't be able to compare the cars to those of other manufacturers, and the site doesn't have information such as the invoice prices and the rebates being given to car dealers for each car, which are available on other car referral sites.

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Jonathan Gaw covers technology and electronic commerce for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7818 and at jonathan.gaw@latimes.com.

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