Carwow’s new CEO John Veichmanis has spoken out about his plans for the website after taking over from founder James Hind.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Car Dealer Podcast just two months into his role, Veichmanis said he wants Carwow to become the ‘start point’ for anyone thinking about changing their car.
Veichmanis took over from CEO and founder James Hind in July so he could spend more time with his family. However, Hind has remained on the board of the disruptor.
Previously, Veichmanis was COO and joined the business three years ago. His first job was to work on the deal to acquire used car selling website Wizzle.
Now, in his role as CEO, he’s looking towards the future and on the Car Dealer Podcast spoke about his aim to make Carwow a destination for selling and buying cars.
Veichmanis said: ‘If you think about booking a hotel, for a large swathe of the population, they don’t start with Google, they go to Booking.com. That’s the start point for booking your next holiday or trip.
‘We want to be the destination that customers come to when they want to change cars.’
Veichmanis explains he thinks Carwow is ‘very credible’ with car buyers and can now help them get a value for their existing car as well as help them specify a new model.
He added: ‘We can provide customers with a valuation for their car so they can figure out how much they can spend on a new one.
‘We can help them navigate all of the choices, build a shortlist, and they can configure pretty much any car on the platform now.
‘And we will match that to a factory order, or a new car in stock, or a used car. So, Carwow is the one place you can come to do everything. And I think that’s really compelling for consumers as more and more of them start the research phase online’
The website started out as a destination that helped car buyers achieve the best possible deal by allowing car dealers to pitch their best price to secure a sale. It caused some controversy in the motor trade and even led to legal battles with manufacturers.
Since then, the site has built a huge following on YouTube where its videos consistently clock up millions of views and it has built a large editorial section on its website to help advise consumers.
It is this that Veichmanis thinks will help Carwow stand out in the future.
With many manufacturers moving towards fixed-price, agency sales agreements with their dealers – set-ups where they have no wiggle room to discount prices – Veichmanis believes the site will grow thanks to its ability to help customers compare and review rival cars.
He said: ‘We have a couple of [agency sales] examples live on the platform. Volvo made the flip to agency earlier this year and are active on our platform and we are now sending across leads to the Volvo team.
‘We think we’re very credible. We run the world’s most popular car YouTube channel and we’ve got so much written content on the platform.
‘Ultimately, we want to be the start point for anybody looking to change that car. The first thing most people want to do is figure out “what are my options? What are the cars that I should put on my shortlist?” And I think we have an amazing job of helping people build on that in an entertaining, fun and engaging way.’
Carwow branched out into used cars with its acquisition of sales platform Wizzle in June 2021. This has subsequently been rebranded Sell My Car. Veichmanis – who worked on the deal when he joined Carwow – said dealers have ‘loved’ having access to huge amounts of used stock.
Before joining Carwow as COO, Veichmanis ran marketing for Expedia and worked for luxury clothing marketplace Farfetch
He said: ‘For me it is the perfect job because I am really interested in the marketplace model in terms of how it can help all of its partners leverage all of those consumers that are moving online – how can we help get them back into dealerships?
‘It’s not about online versus offline. For me, it’s actually about omni channel retailing. We know consumers are making choices across multiple touchpoints. And I suppose I love trying to figure out how we can build an affiliate marketplace model that helps partners.’
You can listen to the full interview on the latest episode of the Car Dealer Podcast, sponsored by Jato. It is available on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or whichever podcast platform you prefer.
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