Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, on Monday announced the appointment of Tony Langley to the company's management board.

Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, on Monday announced the appointment of Tony Langley to the company's management board.

Langley was the managing director of Budget Rent a Car, a wholly owned subsidiary of McCarthy Motor Holdings and has vast experience within the car rental sector. His portfolio includes being managing director of Avis Rent a Car from 1985 to 1989 and Budget Rent a Car from 1990 to 1994.

"I am confident that Tony will add a lot of value to our management board and would like to congratulate him on this well deserved achievement," said Pretorius.

Meanwhile, McCarthy's online vehicle retail unit, Call-a-Car, has faired well over the previous year, with more than R660 million worth in sales.

The online division sold 6 662 units in 2003, of which 83 per cent was used car sales. Sixty-one per cent of those transactions were done via the internet, on par with international trends.

"Recent research done by JD Power showed that 62 per cent of American customers use the Internet for research before they conclude a transaction," said Lourens Botha, managing director of McCarthy On-Line. "We have a very similar vehicle-buying population in South Africa to that of the US, with those who actually do have access to the Internet, representing people in high LSM categories with similar purchasing behaviour."

Botha said that the results of 2003 proved that the South African motoring public was increasingly using technology to assist in the buying process.

"Through Call-a-Car, customers have more than 5 600 vehicles, sourced from across the country, readily available at their fingertips," Botha said. "Apart from arranging a test drive in an instance, customers also have access to a vehicle finance calculator and can make detailed model comparisons on the website."

Call-a-Car also offers a wide selection of late model used vehicles, of great benefit to customers since these vehicles are usually still accompanied by manufacturer warranties.

For 2004, Botha predicts that used vehicles will present great value to potential buyers. Low new vehicle inflation is expected in 2004 and some of the best buys will be nearly-new one-year old vehicles.

He expects Internet sales to grow even more this year. "This growth relates directly to the marketing of products, information supplying and customer locating, and retailers therefore need a strong presence on the Internet in order to get their message across," Botha said.

Original article from Car