COMPETITION watchdogs have cleared the way for Auto Trader and Cox Automotive to work together to create a new automotive wholesale marketplace.
The new business, to be called Dealer Auction, will be co-owned by both companies and run by Le Etta Pearce, pictured, who has held senior roles within both organisations.
Dealer Auction will aim to provide a leading digital marketplace for wholesale vehicles in the UK. It will deliver fleet companies, manufacturers and retailers with an efficient and convenient way to dispose of their stock of vehicles.
Retailers will gain access to a comprehensive range 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 needs.
This week’s ruling from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) effectively means that the new venture is ‘not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market in the UK’.
The new arrangement will combine three businesses onto a single platform.
Cox Automotive will transfer across its Dealer-Auction.com and Manheim Online businesses; while Auto Trader will transfer its retailer-to-retailer platform, Smart Buying (formerly known as Autotrade-mail).
Before the CMA ruling was announced, Martin Forbes, chief executive officer of Cox Automotive in the UK, said: ‘The next five years will see an unprecedented level of change in our industry, driven by the ever-increasing influence of digital.
‘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.’
Trevor Mather, Auto Trader’s chief executive officer, 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. I am delighted that we are creating this joint venture alongside Cox Automotive.’
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.