AUTO Trader UK and Cox Automotive UK have teamed up to launch a new automotive wholesale marketplace.
To be called Dealer Auction and co-owned, it will be run by Auto Trader sales and service director Le Etta Pearce, who has held senior roles within both firms.
It aims to provide a comprehensive online auction service in the UK for fleet companies, manufacturers and retailers to dispose of their stock of vehicles.
The joint venture agreement still needs to be cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority, but if it gets the go-ahead Cox Automotive will transfer its Dealer-Auction.com and Manheim Online businesses to the new service, while Auto Trader will transfer its retailer-to-retailer platform Smart Buying, which used to be known as Autotrade-mail.
It will see three businesses combined on one platform, offering a single view of a large selection of wholesale vehicles across the marketplace.
Both companies have emphasised that, outside of the joint venture, the wider Cox Automotive and Auto Trader businesses will continue to operate as normal and in competition with each other.
Martin Forbes, chief executive of Cox Automotive 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.’
Auto Trader chief executive Trevor Mather said: ‘The way in which vehicles currently move around the UK automotive system 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.’