Speaking to Car Dealer, Auto Trader’s CEO, Trevor Mather, said that the Group has too many brands under its umbrella, causing ‘confusion’ for its dealer customers. In an ideal world, he said, Trader Media Group would have ‘one or two’ brands, with Auto Trader being the focus, and with names such as Razsor biting the dust.
He said: ‘Auto Trader has 37 years of heritage and there is a lot of complexity in it. There have been a number of acquisitions recently resulting in a number of different offerings. It just feels really complicated if you’re a dealer. A lot of my focus at the moment is on simplifying the business and making it more straightforward.’
Mather joined Auto Trader from a role outside the automotive industry six months ago, and is leading plans to make arguably one of the most well-known brands in motoring offer a simplified service and, crucially, add more value for its dealer customers.
He added: ‘One of the first things I asked my team to do was to go and look at the external brands we have for our dealers. In 24 hours, my team said we are asking our dealers to understand 41 different brands – 41! My dream is to get that to one or two so people can understand it’s Auto Trader. We spend £11m to £12m a year on the Auto Trader brand to get people to us, but we don’t do this with our other brands so why do we have them?’
Mather revealed he has tasked his team with explaining why Trader Media Group needs to have some of the brands in its offering.
‘There are some brands which are genuinely confusing our customers, so we can change those quite quickly,’ Mather explained. ‘Some brands have a lot of heritage in them – Bike Trader and names like that – so it might be these go away in ten years’ time and we gradually go from one to another, or maybe they stay with us forever – but we need to have good reasons for them.
‘The challenge I have given to my team is rather than convince me we have to keep these brands, I have asked them to convince me why we would need to have these brands.’
Some names such as the recently-launched pricing service, Deltapoint, would escape the axe said Mather, but brands like Razsor might not be so lucky.
‘There is a really strong argument that Deltapoint is maintained because it is an independent view of pricing in the market. Deltapoint is a good example of us keeping a brand name.
‘But then you look at something like Razsor, which produces websites for dealers. If you ask a dealer, ‘have you got a website?’ they say yes. But if you ask them, ‘have you got Razsor?’ they look a bit confused.
‘There isn’t a lot of value in this – but we have to manage our way out of that. We will gradually see this change and you will see more prominence in the thing we invest so much money in – Auto Trader.’