Will customers buy cars online?

The internet has always been a tremendous research tool for car buyers, but now General Motors hopes that people will actually shop for cars online to the point of making a purchase. Could it really happen?

General Motors Co. plans to expand a new online shopping tool that allows customers to bypass showrooms when buying new cars.

The software, which keeps GM’s 4,300 dealers central to the sale of its vehicles, will provide a high-profile test of whether the auto maker can better cater to online-savvy consumers without running afoul of state franchise laws that give dealers exclusive rights to sell most new cars.

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