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Autoweb provides a helping hand for car dealerships UK-wide

The year 2004 wasn't short on technological advances - Facebook and Gmail both launched, and the super-liner Queen Mary 2 made her first Trans-Atlantic crossing.

In the same year, a small Yorkshire-based company was also born, on a mission to provide one simple service: making cars easier to buy and sell online. 10 years later, it's still going strong.

The business's concept was easy to understand: a website from which thousands of cars could be confidently bought and sold. And, what's more, the site's creators offered another service, in the form of setting up and managing hundreds of independent web sites that belong to car retailers throughout the UK.

Autoweb.co.uk is the brainchild of friends Richard McCombe and Peter Fairfield, who launched the site on April 1 2004, with just the two of them sharing a tiny office. Despite the date, the company was committed to taking each client's needs seriously, and began to accrue customers ranging from small-scale operations with a dozen vehicles on offer to large franchised dealers with multi-million turnovers.

The two hit on the idea for the business following Richard's experiences of shopping for a used car.

"The websites I saw were beyond dreadful. We decided we could give dealers something that was better than a dreary stock list."

Although he'd never previously worked as a salesman, Peter was able to use a keen sense of business acumen to encourage Autoweb.co.uk's first couple of hundred dealers to come on board.

The business flourished and within two years they'd hired five staff to cope with the surge of work.

The early years saw clients taken on not just from Yorkshire, but further afield. 2008 welcomed the launch of Autoweb.co.uk's first strand of Scottish operations in Paisley and Glasgow, supplemented in 2013 by dealerships based in Perth and Kirkcaldy.

Today, that overall number of clients has grown to 26 UK-wide, and fuelled a move to premises in a three-storey Georgian property opposite Selby Abbey.

Not a business to rest on its laurels, 2014 holds more growth and development for Richard and Peter's venture. Brenwood Motor Company, Kirkcaldy, and Bellfield Motor Company, Perth, have recently joined the enviable portfolio of clients and are due to launch online soon.

Success hasn't happened by luck for Autoweb.co.uk, however.

"Our business was built on true hard graft," explains Richard, "and not folding to the inevitable knocks that come along the way.

"Don't get complacent when you are successful and always turn a negative into a positive - it is essential to stay positive.

"The great thing about a trustworthy partnership such as ours is that you will pick each other up if you see lull. It has always worked for us."

Find out more on Autoweb here.

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