Stellantis has launched the UK’s first ever multi-brand approved-used car programme.
With the SPOTiCar website going live, one of the main men behind the platform has been answering some of the key questions about the new service.
Nick Richards, Stellantis’ used vehicle operations director, was speaking at the platform’s official press launch this week.
Here’s what he had to say…
You’ve spoken about Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall and DS joining SPOTiCAR. When will the other brands in the Stellantis Group join too?
From launch Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall networks will operate under the SPOTiCAR umbrella. DS will also have vehicles displayed on the SPOTiCAR platform but DS Certified will also continue with its own separate used vehicle locator.
As we move into early next year we envisage that the ex-FCA brands will be incorporated into the SPOTiCAR brand and programme.
When will you be able to sell online?
The next step for us will be to develop reservations online which obviously we see as a key step in improving the customer journey.
Then, as we go into next year, we will be moving towards having the facilities to sell online.
Will your own vehicles always be sold through a retailer or will they be sold directly to a customer?
Our focus for launch has been bringing our existing used vehicle brands and programmes together under the SPOTiCAR umbrella.
We will develop the programme and the platform so that we’ll be able to promote retail-ready vehicles that we generate ourselves and we’ll be able to list those on the platform but the transaction itself will take place through a retailer.
Does every retailer have to use SPOTiCAR?
The answer to that question is why wouldn’t they want to?
We know that we are going to generate incremental visits, incremental leads and incremental sales.
You can see the increased scale of the programme with at least 12,500 vehicles being displayed on the site from launch and we would expect that normally to be at least 15,000 vehicles with that growing further when the FCA networks are also included in the programme.
Is this launch the start of a wider move towards a multi-franchising model?
No, that’s not particularly the reason for this change. One of the weaknesses that we are seeing at the moment is that a consumer going onto our existing used vehicle locators can only see home-brand products.
We are already narrowing the breadth of vehicles that we are offering to them. We want to give the consumer as much choice as we can do.
The way that the platform will operate is that if a consumer enters the SPOTiCAR website via for example the Peugeot.co.uk site, then they will only see Peugeot vehicles advertised on the platform until they then widen their search. If they enter directly from SPOTi.co.uk then they’ll see all the vehicles that are on the platform and it won’t be limited.
Are the part-exchange valuations driven by your own dealer network or are they from a wider base, such as CAP?
The part-exchange valuations are basically generated through a business partner that we use across Europe. We have modelled the valuations that they provide through the data that they scrape from various websites.
We are confident that the valuations are fair and reasonable compared to other valuations that a consumer may be getting throughout the market.
We don’t have regional variations but the idea really is to give the consumer an indicative part-exchange valuation based on the information that they have provided to us and then obviously the retailer picks up that lead and works with the consumer to give them a more definitive valuation of their vehicle.
What changes in the way people are buying used cars are you reacting to in launching this?
Obviously the digital marketplace has changed significantly – particularly over the past 18 months – so we know we need to increase our digital presence. We want to give the consumer as much choice as we can do.
At the moment, we recognise that we are narrowing the choice of vehicles that we are displaying by segmenting consumers into somebody that’s interested in a Peugeot or a Citroen etc. We want to make sure we are giving customers the maximum amount of choice rather than pushing them to other used vehicle locators that are available.
Will the multi-point used vehicle check be identical and standardised for all brands across all retailers, including FCA in 2022?
Yes it will be. There’s actually not much variation in the multi-point checks at the moment.
Typically it’s a 100 plus point used vehicle check on the vehicle. Obviously we need to have standardisation so that when a consumer is visiting the platform they are seeing a vehicle that has been checked to an identical standard.
Will the SPOTiCAR network be expanded to include retailers that don’t otherwise represent any Stellantis brands?
That’s not in our thinking at the moment but who’s to say what might happen in the future?
It’s certainly not in our immediate thoughts at all. We think we’ve got a great opportunity with the move to SPOTiCAR for Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall with the introduction of the FCA brands to come next year.
Will a Peugeot buyer be able to take their car to a Vauxhall retailer if that’s their local option?
At launch we will be continuing with our existing warranty partners for the programme but we’ve made sure that the level of cover we have is identical across the brands.
In terms of a consumer researching online, there won’t be significant variances in relation to the level of cover that’s provided.
Obviously in the future we will look to see if we can move to one warranty provider that covers all of our networks operating under the SPOTiCAR umbrella but that’s not something that’s happening from launch.