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Boss of The Sun's new classified website promises dealers genuine leads and transparent costs

The head of the Sun's new used car classified site said he already has more than 200 dealer groups signed up to supply the site with stock. Jim Murray-Jones said the number of dealers would grow - he aspires to having around 5,000 dealers - based on the appeal of a transparent business offering from sunmotors.co.uk.

Central to this is payment based on "genuine" leads only.

So, two examples he gave of data provided were:

> Live Chat conversations - the conversation has to be two-way, not an automatic response
> Telephone calls - have to be at least 30 seconds long and de-duplicated, so not a total of calls made to one individual.

A total of 55,000 vehicles are contracted to go on the new site in the next few weeks, some of which are a direct feed from the other News UK classified site driving.co.uk. The aim is to have 100,000 towards the end of February when the site goes from being a beta (test) version to one that will be subject to a full consumer marketing campaign.

At the same time dealers will be given access to an online portal allowing them to monitor ad response, showing them views per vehicle, volumes and types of lead.

Talking exclusively to AM, Murray-Jones said: "We rapidly hope to demonstrate to dealers our ability to provide only quality leads. We will only charge for what dealers can exploit," said Murray-Jones, general manager of News UK Automotive and Sunday Times Driving since February 2013.

"Winning dealer confidence is an absolute priority. We need to ensure we build their trust and show that we're not going to over-charge them, but develop a product that benefits them as much as the consumer."

Of value to the consumer, he said, was the fresh take on vehicle search beyond the traditional make, model and derivative drop-down boxes.

"Consumer focus groups ahead of the launch, revealed to us the great number of consumers who did not know of a number of emerging brands in the market. Our search tools, that allow them to look for vehicles based on their lifestyle, budget or environmental concerns means we can bring to light a greater range of choice. This is good for the consumer and dealers," said Murray-Jones, general manager of News UK Automotive.

It was made clear that News Uk will be creating more explicit links between its Sunday Times and The Sun newspaper brands to ensure traffic flow to its classified portals. Murray-Jones wouldn't reveal user numbers, but said the targets for sunmotors.co.uk were "ambitious".

Sunmotors.co.uk has been on the drawing board at News UK for at least a year and extending News UK's influence in the car classified market, beyond its first venture driving.co.uk in October 2012 had long been its intention.

Murray-Jones has worked for Auto Trader, Haymarket and RBS in digital marketing roles.

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Comments

  • Matthew Perryman - 31/01/2014 16:30

    Live chat and calls over 30 seconds are hardly ground breaking

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  • Rod Little - 31/01/2014 20:35

    Dealer confidence was lost with the sub-standard product that is driving.co.uk. There's no reason for us to continue supporting News Int when there are so many more competitors with better sites, doing a better job.

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    • Ade Niny - 03/02/2014 17:06

      @Rod Little - Quite right, Rod. I'll be spending with AT, Motors (on TV every month this year) and Gumtree - all brands that drive leads in volume.

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  • Nobby - 01/02/2014 00:42

    Been there before, better chance putting a page 3 girl in the photo with each car.... Another guy who has been through the agencies but never sold cars, trying to over complicate things without getting the basics right...

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    • James Bennett - 01/02/2014 08:01

      @Nobby - totally agree. They never got Driving right so no idea why Sun Motors would work

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  • Racer - 01/02/2014 13:41

    Interesting,if rather verbose !

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  • Martin - 03/02/2014 09:06

    All you need is professional salesman and dealer ethics and the rest will take care of itself.

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  • Bill P - 03/02/2014 14:21

    I wouldn't write this off. The Sun is a huge brand and they learn quickly. Sure, they've been through it with Driving, but actually that experience may well work in their favour. I think the site looks the business. One to watch, definitely.

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  • Ade Niny - 03/02/2014 17:03

    The Sun online went behind a "paywall" in August of last year. As such, Sun Motors may well have some cars, but like Driving.co.uk, no traffic. Yes, News International could promote it heavily from the papers (as they did Driving.co.uk) but this hasn't helped Driving.co.uk one iota. Will News Int promote these non-core businesses with meaningful TV and PPC to compete with AT and Motors? Don't hold your breath….

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    • Nobby - 03/02/2014 17:25

      @Ade Niny - I think you can tell on the responses to this feature as to who are the dealers and who are the marketeers. In complete agreement with you on this, its almost as though used cars are being treated like some form of perishable goods. What brands and dealers fail to realise is that if you empower the customer with all the information from everyone who is selling a car that you just open up price wars and the role of the sales person becomes nothing more than a barterer. Why would the Sun effectively compete against the Sunday Times, probably because the ST (Driving) has not worked and the're looking for an alternative offering. AT and Motors have the critical mass, but I've also seen sites with a more targeted audience providing a viable alternative as opposed to a direct competitor. I'll say it again Driving should have been just premium brands only, just like the classifieds in the newspaper.

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  • David Hawksworth - 03/02/2014 20:07

    First and foremost it's great to see the news has created a conversation amongst dealers and your feedback is appreciated. Whether or not you support the move I'd love the opportunity to chat with you, in person or over the phone. For us it's about creating the best user experience, and this goes for both for the consumer and the dealer. As buyers continue to embrace technology, and are empowered by the information that technology brings, your input and feedback is vital to ensuring 'we' succeed. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to get involved. David Hawksworth Trade Marketing Manager - News UK Automotive david.hawksworth@news.co.uk

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