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Initially, only the Mercedes Citan urban van can be ordered online (Photo: Daimler)

Mercedes-Benz Vans has started a pilot project selling vans online in the Netherlands.

The German automotive group will initially sell its Mercedes-Benz Citan van in cooperation with local dealers.

The move is parent company Daimler's response to a growing trend of online sales that is also gaining ground in commercial transactions. Speed and efficiency are a major factor in onlline purchasing decisions, the company said in a press release.

The new online platform, www.besteleenbestelwagen.nl, will offer a limited number of vans.Vehicles ordered through the site will be delivered the week after the order has been placed and Daimler said online purchasers can save up to 15 pc on their monthly payments.

The Citan will have a fixed equipment configuration. It can be ordered with a 48-month service leasing contract and annual mileage ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 kilometers.

A recent study by consultants AT Kearney found that online car sales are set to grow in coming years. According to the study, 27 pc of German car buyers are today interested in buying their next vehicle online. By 2o20, the consultants projected, one third of all cars sold in Germany will be ordered this way.