Online car finance from St George

St George Bank has partnered with Internet car yard autobytel.com to provide finance services for the Australian site, which is expected to launch here early next year.

Autobytel's US Web site claims 45 percent of online new auto sales, and also has sites in Japan, Canada, UK and Sweden.

When the site goes live, buyers will be able to buy, lease, finance and insure new and used vehicles purchased through the site using St George financial services, officials said.

Additionally, St George said the service would provide consistent pricing to eliminate haggling between participating dealerships.

Tim Miles, St George general manager for joint ventures and commercial finance, said the bank expected 20 percent of its secured car loans would be acquired online by 2004.

Miles said only one new car dealership would be selected for each region, with no limit to used car dealerships. Used car dealerships would have to pass certain criteria involving quality of product, he said.

He said initial users of the service would be regular Internet shoppers, but demographics would change according to across-the-board Internet demographics.autobytel.com and St George are currently seeking further equity partners for the joint venture.

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