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Sales of cars directly via the Internet have been growing in the U.S., albeit slowly. In France though, the trend is positively booming.

According to a study by Groupe Xerfi, online new car sales in France grew 25 percent in 2007 and 31 percent in 2008. The research company projected only 20 percent growth in 2009 due to the economic slowdown, before accelerating again with 36 percent in 2010 and 40 percent in 2011. Xerfi added that Web sales would represent 5 percent of the total market in 2011.

TNS Media Intelligence data cited by LeJournalduNet said that the automotive goods category as a whole represented 5 percent of all online spending in the first half of 2008. Based on a January 2008 estimate of French business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce for 2008 by the Federation des Enterprises de Vente a Distance, that would mean that about $770 million in cars and automotive goods were sold online during the first half of the year.

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