AM News Show: Carwow CEO James Hind insists online car market is ‘not e-commerce’

In the latest episode of the AM News Show, carwow founder and CEO James Hind discusses how the online automotive marketplace remains a lead generator rather than an e-commerce platform.

The online business expands into new European territories and attracts new investment as it embarks on an “exciting and ambitious growth phase” that focuses on becoming a source of new stock cars and compete with Auto Trader as a source of leads for used car sales.

Despite these developments and closer e-commerce ties with OEMs pursuing direct sales through an agency model, Hind insists its relationship with its car retail partners is better than ever and that he should not be seen as a rival.

But he suggested auto retailers need to capitalize on their ability to provide excellent customer service as the auto retail sector diversifies. Hind said, “Carwow is not e-commerce. We’re always introducing human to human, dealership, automaker and how they handle that is a huge differentiator.

Speaking to AM Editor Tim Rose and News and Features Editor Tom Sharpe in the latest edition of the podcast – available via Youtube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts – Hind reflected on the development of carwow and tracks for new generations on the back of the exposure created by its online content.

Following a recent ’10 minutes with…’ Q&A profile feature with AM, Hind said: “Carwow adapted, not because of any strategy we had, that we followed all along the way, carwow adapted because of the market.

“So if you go back 18 months, we were pure new cars, almost all of our revenue coming from dealerships as opposed to automakers, and then we had to change.

“A lot of things we’ve done. Lots of work with automakers now, directly we’ve acquired a company that helps consumers sell their car and helps dealerships acquire inventory which is obviously their biggest issue at the moment and now a push to Used cars only because consumers are struggling with delivery times for new cars, we need to give them an alternative.

Hind’s interview comes after carwow recorded a 29% increase in consumer registrations from the start of the year to the end of July, attributing the growth to improved vehicle supply and a upgrading its platform.

Earlier this summer the company announced plans for an “exciting and ambitious phase of growth” following an infusion of $55m (£41.5m) in funding to scale up its Sell Your Car division , a £17.2m funding boost from investors including ITV and Channel 4 and the announcement of a new investment from Geely’s Volvo Car UK brand.