CarOrder.com, the Internet car-buying service backed with $100 million of seed money from Trilogy Software Inc., has decided to give up on-line brokering and purchase dealerships instead.

The company's web site stopped taking online consumer orders for new vehicles on Aug. 18. The company says it will focus on buying dealerships - perhaps acquiring six or seven by year's end.

CarOrder.com was launched last fall and let consumers research, select and buy vehicles on-line, never having to bargain with the dealer. The company located the desired vehicles from its affiliated new-car dealerships and delivered them to buyers' homes.

"It was very, very difficult not being a dealer," says Jerry Ducharme, CarOrder.com's general counsel.