Online car sales still low as Stellantis says Spoticar Direct won’t take business from dealers

  • Stellantis reassures dealers about Spoticar Direct Service
  • Nicola Dobson, director of used vehicle operations, says platform is there to ‘supplement’ dealer stock
  • Executive says service will not end up at the level of Cinch or Cazoo
  • Company only expects a small number of sales to come via Spoticar Direct this year

Time 9:24 am, March 13, 2024

Stellantis is not looking to take business away from dealers with its online sales operation, Spoticar Direct.

That is according to one senior executive at the international conglomerate, who says that retailers remain a key part of the buying process.

Appearing at last week’s Car Dealer Live event at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Stellantis’ director of used vehicle operations, Nicola Dobson said Spoticar was there to ‘supplement’ dealer stock, rather than take sales away.

She added that the service is currently only selling cars on a small scale, with around 1,000 to 1,500 units expected to be shifted via platform this year.

When Spoticar Direct launched, back in January, many speculated that the service could end up rivalling the likes of Cinch and Cazoo.

However, since then Cazoo has pulled out of the used car market, and Dobson has distanced Stellantis from such comparisons.

She told host James Batchelor: ‘What we have launched so far is not necessarily online sales in the used world – it’s a direct programme that is supplementing the stock that dealers have, giving more choice potentially to the end customer with no risk.

‘Clearly the likes of Cazoo and Cinch have their place but that’s not really where we’re operating.

‘We will be moving towards a buy online process but for us our dealer network remains very much part of the process because that relationship from a customer to a dealer is crucial in terms of building that onward relationship.’

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The words are likely to ease concerns from Stellantis’s dealers, many of whom already have a strained relationship with the manufacturer.

In December, the firm’s new boss Maria Grazia Davino admitted the manufacturing giant had ‘urgent work’ to do to fix its relationship with dealers, after a string of issues over recent years.

Back at Car Dealer Live, Dobson, who appeared on our manufacturer panel, was asked by the audience about the scale of Stellantis’s ambitions for Spoticar Direct.

She responded: ‘They’re not huge, I wouldn’t say. Compared to where we started, the numbers are fairly low at the moment.

‘We’re looking to build on that. This year we would hope to do someone in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 so not a huge volume but it’s something we expect to grow moving forwards.

‘One of the things to be clear on is that we are not trying to take business away from the network, it’s trying to add to it.

‘It’s not going to be huge volume this year but we will look to grow.’

Tickets to watch back all sessions from Car Dealer Live can be purchased here.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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