Firm simplifies purchase of used vehicles online

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


WITH a variety of online shops available to the consumer, a company under a German-based incubator is bent on serving the emerging market and has decided to focus on vehicles.

Founded in 2013, Carmudi, which is powered by Rocket Internet, boasts of 200,000 listings in 15 countries. They began listing used vehicles in Cebu last April. Rocket Internet is an emerging market Internet incubator that is also behind other Internet companies like Easy Taxi, Lazada and Zalora.

For Carmudi Philippines co-managing directors Subir Lohani and Nicolas Boldt, a website dedicated to vehicles is the best way to go.

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User experience

“Having that focus also allows us to create a unique user experience for our users as we strive to be a one stop shop for anything vehicle related.

We also have a strong focus on getting only quality listings on our website to give buyers the best possible options for their purchase,” they said in an email to Sun.Star Cebu.

The company had seen similar online car classifieds that have worked well for developed markets. They decided to adapt the same business models to emerging markets and localize the platform.

“Specifically in the Philippines, we realized the need for a very high quality platform with rich data content to help users find the car of their dreams.

We achieve this through our strong quality assurance processes so that buyers can actually buy any car without worries on our platform,” they said.

They also recently launched their Android app in Manila, noting the high mobile penetration growth of the Philippines and the 90 percent market share of Android in the smartphone market. The Philippines was also the fastest-growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia.

Rapid growth

The company has seen rapid growth in the country, from just 375 vehicles listed in January to 20,000 in July.

To make sure the vehicles listed on Carmudi are in good shape and not stolen, a team makes personal visits to used car dealers and take down the details themselves.

Dealerships are visited every two weeks to make sure the units are in the same condition. “Every vehicle goes through 15 people from our company to ensure that what is uploaded online is of the highest quality possible.”

Though there are very flexible and low payment schemes available for brand new cars, they believe used cars still have a lot of value among Filipino buyers.

“A lot of second-hand units are just as good as brand new ones, but cheaper. Since Filipinos are known to be price sensitive, a lot of the people investing for their families prefer second-hand cars.”

They pointed out that Cebuanos value price but also demand good quality. “That is perfect for Carmudi because we only offer trustworthy listings, and most of them are second-hand cars. We make sure that there are no shady deals or scams that go online because of our rigorous quality checking system.”

Boldt and Lohani said that for first-time car buyers, a used car may still be a better investment. They also noted that there are some buyers who look for vintage models.

They also have vehicles that have been barely used but have large mark down prices.

As for the app, the company assured that it has the same usability and filter functions as their website, with the same sharing features to social platforms so that contacts can give their opinions about a unit.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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