For the 14,500 or so franchised and independent dealers with HPI accounts, the arrangement enables them to enter vehicles into public auction on the eBaymotors.co.uk section of eBay at no extra cost. This is in addition to existing publishing facilities through HPI Exchange on a number of automotive-only sites including autotrader.co.uk, whatcar.co.uk and autocar.co.uk.
Last year, eBay Motors says it handled transactions on more than 70,000 vehicles through its UK auto website and that the value of vehicles – which includes motorcycles – and vehicle parts bought and sold was well over £500m. It also claims eBaymotors.co.uk has 1.3m unique visitors a month and, on average, sells a car every four minutes.
Both HPI and eBay stress that the open auction forum was not expected to replace traditional means of trade disposal, but could help speed up the process of remarketing the type of stock which can be difficult to shift or which did not fit in with a dealer’s forecourt profile because of age or mileage. It will also do it relatively cheaply – from £6 for a single registration and sales fees of between £15 and £30 a vehicle.
Jonathan Williams, head of marketing at eBay rival Auto Trader, maintains he is “not overly worried” that the deal will take business away. It will continue to market its own Dealer Edit service, which is used by about 5,000 retailers.
Independent dealers make up the majority of eBay Motors users, but both eBay and HPI say there is rapidly growing franchised dealer use.
Martin Brassell, external affairs director at HPI, says: “The internet has become one of the most popular mediums for car sales and nothing illustrates this better than eBaymotors.co.uk. With eBay as a publishing option for HPI Exch-ange, dealers now have direct access to a massive audience for their older or part exchange stock, further enhancing their sales potential.”
The deal is good for eBay, too. While the organisation maintains a caveat emptor policy, having HPI checked auction stock online fits neatly with its advertised values of open and honest communication.
Clare Gilmartin, head of eBay Motors UK, says: “HPI was a natural partner to enhance the eBay selling experience for dealers and make this the easiest way to sell vehicles.”
She claims that eBay costs are lower than those of local advertising, with selling prices typically higher than can be achieved through the trade.
Gilmartin adds: “Buyers bid up rather than haggle down.”