Digital marketplace and dealerships

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Auto1 Group has become one of Europe’s leading car trading platforms, operating in more than 30 countries. It grew revenues in 2018 by 32% to €2.9bn, and traded more than 540,000 used vehicles via its platforms. Auto1.com, the group’s B2B arm, also expanded its dealer network to more than 55,000 partners.

Auto Trader Group is one of the UK’s largest players. The group was originally an automotive classified advertising magazine before being turned into an online only portal which today handles more than 10 million transactions a year. Other leading UK players are Lookers, which also operates 165 franchised dealerships, BCA Marketplace, and Moneyshake.com which brings together the UK’s leading leasing providers in one place.

10 million transactions per year are handled by the Auto Trader Group

In the US, Cars.com was a pioneer in online automotive classifieds and remains a key player. Last year it acquired Dealer Inspire and Launch Digital Marketing, technology companies that provide digital solutions to automotive dealers, for €146m. Leading French companies include Oxylio and Digitcar.

Dealerships

We have also seen the specific emergence of digital dealership platforms. Last year Hg invested in MeinAuto, a leading B2C online platform for new car purchases which has more than 16 million visitors a year. Heycar, backed by Daimler and Volkswagen, currently has more than 1,400 dealers registered and all its listed vehicles come with a warranty, are less than eight years old, and have less than 100,000 miles on the clock.

AutoScout24, with 10 million users a month and more than two million vehicle offers, now has a presence in 18 countries and more than 55,000 affiliated dealers, and is represented in all major European markets.

Aftermarket

Digital marketplaces also give customers ready access to information on the prices of parts, and there has been strong growth in the online automotive aftermarket.

Caroobi brands itself ‘Europe’s fi rst online garage for car repairs’ and connects drivers with mechanics, who in turn can access parts suppliers. Last year the company received €17.7m in a funding round led by NGP Capital, and the finance has enabled it to further expand its operations. Another player is kfzteile24 which began life as an eBay power seller and has grown to become a market leader for car parts and accessories.

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