CarsGuide overhauls website as it plots IPO

News Corp controlled service Carsguide has had an overhaul with new features, after reports in the Australian Financial Review it is preparing for an initial public offering.

The release:

Sydney, September 15, 2014 Roaring into the fast lane with a new business model, supported by a new website and new mobile app coming in October, online auto marketplace CarsGuide.com.auaims to disrupt the market and deliver a better, fairer experience for both car buyers and sellers.

CarsGuide believes the way car sites work today is fundamentally broken. Buyers are unable to see the location of the car until they submit their personal details. These details are then passed on as leads to dealers, regardless of whether that potential buyer is anywhere near their location.

This wastes time and money for the dealers and the buyer loses control of their personal details with dealers able to regularly contact them. We are creating greater transparency by removing the “blind model” our competitors still use, here’s how:

●      Location-based search: through a new location based search and Trip Planner tool (available from October), buyers will easily be able to see car locations, plan a route to visit cars that interest them, and only contact dealers if they’re genuinely interested. We know from our dealers that under the existing model, over 30% of leads are wasted due to being outside a buyer’s location.

●      New pay-per-view model: instead of charging dealers for leads received, CarsGuide will charge for vehicle views (which will be capped, so dealers won’t pay any more under this new model). This model will come into effect in December 2014.

●      Free listings for private sellers: Consumers can list their car for free on CarsGuide

CarsGuide CEO Lauren Williams says CarsGuide is prepared to break its business model to reinvent the car marketplace.

“We are sacrificing our lead revenue to deliver a better consumer experience and deliver more qualified buyers to dealers. We had to do something significantly different to provide what customers are demanding and we are prepared to disrupt our business to change our position in the marketplace. Our shareholders, who represent 25% of the automotive market, are all in support,” Lauren Williams says.

CarsGuide is half owned by 35 major dealer groups, who have been closely involved in the redevelopment. CarsGuide already has over 95% of the dealer inventory of its largest competitor in most states and is ahead in some states. More than 500,000 Australians visit CarsGuide every month.

“If we want to win the hearts and mind of consumers we know we need to do something very different.  That’s why we’ve completely overhauled our business model, and also introduced location-based search and a powerful, easy-to-use mobile experience,” Lauren Williams says.

“Consumers now have control and no longer need to divulge their personal details to the dealers just to see where cars are located. The enquiring buyers are going to be more qualified because they will only contact the dealer when they are genuinely interested in a car.”

Source: PR Group press release



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