FORGET going to your friendly local dealer - car buying is set to move into cyberspace within the next five years.
The prediction comes from a video company which believes that in the not too distant future the process of buying and selling cars will be done almost entirely remotely using video technology.
Consumers already use video extensively in the shopping process, with 75 per cent of car buyers watching videos to research their next purchase before ever setting foot in a car showroom.
And as smartphone software becomes ever more sophisticated and super-fast technology is introduced, that trend is expected to accelerate.
Motorists will be haggling with dealers, agreeing part-exchange prices remotely and selling cars privately, all using video communication rather than face-to-face negotiation.
The predictions come from automotive video specialist, CitNOW, which has published a paper on the current and future roles of video in automotive business.
Video is already used by the car industry across the UK, with more than 50 per cent of the franchised dealer network using some form of personalised service to help customer relations in both car sales and workshops.
CitNOW CEO Alistair Horsburgh says: "Within five years, the entire process of buying a new car, from researching different models to agreeing a price and a specification, will be done remotely. Motorists won't ever have to visit the showroom, except perhaps to pick up the car they've ordered."
CitNOW's research paper found that, through the use of personalised video, not only were motorists more likely to return to the same dealership for future purchases, but transactions were made quicker.
"It all sounds a bit daunting," says Horsburgh, "but it's the way the whole industry is going. Consumers these days expect this level of convenience, speed and quality of service."