Korean automaker Kia announced a major partnership with eBay November 22, in a strong vote of confidence in the online auctioneer's ability to sell cars.

The deal will see inventory from over half of Kia's US dealerships placed on the auction site, allowing shoppers to search available cars in their local area and make a best offer online.

Customers can also order a history report or ask questions of the dealers, as well as using traditional eBay functionality such as watch lists and image galleries.

Kia claims that its storefront at www.kia.ebay.com is the first time a major original equipment manufacturer brand has created a nationwide new vehicle shopping portal on eBay.

Kia executive Tom Loveless said that the program was proving popular, with over 345 dealers already signed up and more signing on every day.

It's estimated that shopping for cars online is up 17 percent in the US this year, and J.D. Power and Associates research suggests that 79 percent of auto shoppers check third party websites such as eBay before buying.

Given the statistics, it's perhaps unsurprising that trying to tap eBay is not a new idea - last year, General Motors announced a partnership to great fanfare in California, but the program lasted only seven weeks.

At the close, the Detroit giant concluded that it "wasn't the right time" - will Kia's experience prove any different?


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