Tesco starts selling used cars online

Cars in a showroom
Image caption Buy before you drive - Tesco will not be offering road tests as part of its new service

Tesco has become the first general retailer to start a used car buying website.

The supermarket giant claims it can offer low prices by controlling costs.

It will show detailed pictures of vehicles for sale - including any scrapes and dents - as well as a history report and fuel usage details.

It will not, however, give people the chance to test-drive vehicles. Instead, a video of the car being tested will be available for would-be purchasers.

Tesco says all vehicles will undergo a strict vetting process, including a mechanical inspection by the RAC.

The cars will come with a one month RAC warranty and the price will not be open to negotiation.

Tesco says by supplying directly to customers, there is no middle man, no expensive showroom and no salespeople on commission.

The majority of cars for sale will come from fleet and lease hire companies, with one registered keeper and a detailed service history.

Steve Fowler, editor of What Car? magazine, said it was too early to tell if car buyers would be happy buying without physically seeing or driving the vehicle, but said it did appear to offer a realistic alternative to "standing on a forecourt, haggling".

The motor trade, which is worth £24bn a year, is one of the biggest generators of complaints to consumer groups.

As well as the profit from selling the cars, Tesco could also benefit from drivers using its financial services, such as a loan, insurance or the breakdown cover it offers.

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