Big Motoring World chief executive Peter Waddell and former Cox Automotive president of international operations John Bailey are set to launch Carzam – a new "Amazon-style" online car retail platform.
Set to reach the UK market next month, within months of the long-awaiting launch of Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman’s Cazoo online car retail operation, the new business will aim to make serious inroads into the UK’s eight million annual used car sales transactions with the help of a next-day delivery service and seven-day, no quibble returns guarantee.
The launch comes at a time when online selling could claim a larger share of the UK’s used car retail market as consumers look to avoid showroom visits and direct contact due to the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus.
iVendi chief executive James Tew this week suggested that all retailers should be preparing to retail their vehicles with a minimum of customer contact in light of the outbreak (see below).
Like Cazoo – the subject of AM’s face-to-face retailer interview in this month’s magazine – Carzam’s core promise to that it will offer simplicity and convenience through a next-day home delivery service for its customers.
Bailey, a shareholder in the Big Motoring World business, and previously Cox Automotive’s president of international operations, said: “I’m excited to announce my involvement in this venture, Carzam, with the genuine opportunity to develop a used car buying experience with an Amazon-style promise of next day delivery.
“I truly believe that this is the way forward for our industry and our ambitions can only be achieved with a strong team of industry professionals, coupled with the experience of a successful used car retailer.”
Bailey added: “Together with the infrastructure of Big Motoring World, which includes the new state-of-the-art Peterborough National Preparation centre, which has the capacity of turning around 8,000 cars per month, we have all of the necessary operational facilities, components and most importantly the retail experience required to be successful from day one at our fingertips.
“It is our intention from the very start to make this business successful and instantly scalable.”
Big Motoring World is a top ID50 used car supermarket and now operates four sites which are targeting 40,000 used car sales in 2020.
Waddell said that the timing of the launch of Carzam was “perfect”.
He said: “Utilising the very best of our deeply experienced team in the running of a successful, high volume used car operation and merging it with a seamless online-only digital experience with Carzam will open up exciting new retailing opportunities over both the short and long term.
“With an emphasis on a frictionless car buying experience for its customers, Carzam launches this April and aims to drive forward the future of online car retailing in the UK.”
Commenting on the impact of the coronavirus on online car retail this week, James Tew, the chief executive of online automotive finance specialist iVendi, said that online could still provide an effective route to market in the event that consumers were either afraid of visiting showrooms because of wanting to avoid unnecessary human contact or effectively confined to their homes.
He said: “We’re raising this subject with all due sensitivity but, in the event that footfall to dealerships falls dramatically, businesses need to find a way to keep functioning as normally as possible. Moving more sales online is a potential solution.”
Tew added: “Really, this is the time to ensure that, in terms of the online motor retail facilities that you offer, you have your house fully in order.
“Effectively, you need to be able to allow the customer to choose and finance their car online as a minimum.
“Then, you have to look at which aspects of the deal can be handled remotely that are currently undertaken on a human level.”