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Auto Trader iPhone app turns roadside envy into forecourt sales

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Popular UK motoring website Auto Trader is hoping to make car buying easier by allowing car buyers to see a car they like and find similar models for sale nearby with an iPhone app that uses image recognition technology to read car number plates.

The app can provide make and model records, as well as figures around the car’s performance and economy, making it easier for customers to decide what to buy. Additionally, the application will allow users to search for information on similar cars and dealers in the area via access to the Auto Trader listings, enabling like for like price comparisons.

A user can be transported from seeing a suitable car on the roadside to finding a model for sale nearby and calling the owner for a test drive just by using the functionality of the application. The software even uses GPS and Maps to help users to find their way to the nearest showroom.

The app has been developed following research conducted by Auto Trader in January, 2010 showed 45% of visitors to Auto Trader’s mobile site have used their phone to access further information about a car on a dealer forecourt. This figure increased from 40% last July.

Additionally, half of visitors to Auto Trader’s mobile site access it via an iPhone, providing a ready audience for the new app.

Nick Gee, Director of Mobile at Auto Trader said: “We believe users will find the link between ‘real world’ and ‘digital world’ very compelling, providing a clear differentiator for mobile compared to other media. Using the iPhone users can now search for real-time digital information relating to a car sitting in front of them, a step which combined with the depth of cars listed on Auto Trader takes the car-buying process to a whole new level.”

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