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With the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan to appear in U.S. showrooms later this summer, the online market for C-class parts and accessories is nearly $2 million per month strong, despite a recent leveling off in sales.

Since January, C-class parts and accessory sales via online auction have averaged $1,795,00 a month, peaking in March at $1,908,000 total sales (numbers rounded to nearest hundred) according to data from Terapeak, a developer of market-focused research software that monitors online sales and auctions.

The most popular categories were exterior goods, primarily grilles and car covers, followed by headlamps and taillights, then interior items like switches, knobs, floor mats and shift knobs. Exterior item sales between June 6-July 5 totaled $274,000, while lighting and lamps accounted for $276,700 and interior goods comprising $160,200 of total sales.

Total sales have leveled off some since a June 12th peak of $88,947, a slowdown perhaps an indicator of consumers waiting on the new model, available in 228- and 268-hp versions. 

Wheels and tires were not surprisingly the most profitable category, averaging $632,000 a month since April. The best day for wheel sellers was May 7th, when $35,100 worth of wheels, tires and assorted wheel/tire accessories were sold.

How prevalent is Internet purchasing among specialty-equipment enthusiasts?

"The past two years, SEMA research has shown that the highest percentage of automotive enthusiasts indicate they purchased their performance parts and accessories over the Internet," says SEMA research analyst Ty Michael.

"Interestingly, roughly the same percentage of enthusiasts indicated that they purchased their parts at traditional brick and mortar shops. Thirty-nine percent of enthusiasts said they purchased on the Internet, compared to 31% who indicated they went to a physical location to make their purchases."

Terapeak's Motors P&A Research provides sellers with access to comprehensive research on the past year of online auction data and allows users to get in-depth research reports on the competition and themselves. More at