Cox Automotive UK and Auto Trader UK to launch a new joint venture

Two of the most influential companies in UK automotive, Auto Trader UK and Cox Automotive, are pleased to announce the creation of a joint venture to launch a new automotive wholesale marketplace.

The new business, planned to be called Dealer Auction, will be co-owned by both companies and run by Le Etta Pearce, having held senior roles within both Auto Trader and Cox Automotive. Dealer Auction will aim to provide a leading digital marketplace for wholesale vehicles in the UK.

The joint venture will provide the UK automotive market with a comprehensive online auction service. It will provide fleet companies, manufacturers and retailers with a more efficient and convenient way to dispose of their stock of vehicles. Retailers will gain access to a more comprehensive stock of vehicles available for them to buy and this will be supported with the data and tools to allow them to select the right vehicles for their specific needs. The business will offer a full service, along with its business partners, who have significant experience in digital, wholesale and retail solutions.

The JV Agreement is conditional upon clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK. Subject to clearance, the new business will combine three businesses onto a single platform. Cox Automotive will transfer its and Manheim Online businesses to the joint venture. Auto Trader will transfer Smart Buying (formally known as Autotrade-mail), its retailer-to-retailer platform. Once combined, the three businesses will enable prospective buyers to visit one platform and have a single view of a large selection of wholesale vehicles across the marketplace.

Vehicles from fleet and lease companies will be added to the marketplace, with all stock augmented by data metrics to create the largest community of UK vehicle buyers, providing the most comprehensive choice and the best information to help with buying decisions.

Martin Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of Cox Automotive in the UK, says: “The next five years will see an unprecedented level of change in our industry, driven by the ever-increasing influence of digital. Cox Automotive is already providing our customers with choice through our wholesale digital platforms of and Manheim Online, as well as physical auctions and vehicle services via Manheim.

“Cox Automotive and Auto Trader have a shared vision to transform the wholesale automotive market in the UK for the benefit of our current and future customers. Our core strengths are extremely complementary, and we believe that Auto Trader’s digital and data expertise combined with Cox Automotive’s wholesale channels and vehicle handling capabilities will deliver a market changing B2B platform. We are confident that this will be a long term and very successful partnership.”

Auto Trader Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Mather, added: “The way in which vehicles currently move around the UK automotive ecosystem is overly complex and inefficient, and Auto Trader has the digital and data assets that can make it a quicker, more convenient and cheaper process for all parties. However, we know that we will have an even better chance of disrupting the market by partnering with an established player which knows this particular industry intimately.

“I am delighted that we are creating this joint venture alongside Cox Automotive, who we have found to be forward thinking and culturally aligned to our business. We believe that together we can fundamentally improve and lead change in this market, for the benefit of both wholesalers and retailers alike.”

Ultimately, the intention is for Dealer Auction to provide a connected platform that enables a complete end-to-end solution that increases speed of sale and profitability for vendors, and gives buyers access to a single, data-driven wholesale marketplace with integrated access to NextGear Capital funding, Auto Trader and consumer listings, logistics through Movex and Motor Trade Delivery, and Manheim’s services to inspect, image, recondition and prepare vehicles.

Outside of the joint venture, the wider Cox Automotive and Auto Trader businesses will remain distinct and continue to operate as normal and in competition with each other.

Source: Cox Automotive

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