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Autovolo offers independents share stake through 1,000 Voices scheme

Car dealer classifieds website Autovolo has offered independent retailers the chance to own a 20% stake in its business.

At presentations held in London and Leeds, AutoVolo told attendees how its 1,000 Voices initiative will see it enter into a partnership with up to 1,000 dealers – each receiving 20 shares in return for a monthly ‘investment fee’ of £499.

Autovolo said that the cost is a mere fraction of what many dealers currently spend on marketing and will include a heavily-discounted rate on advertising and will the opportunity to have a say on AutoVolo’s development through a dealer council.

After 24 months the scheme’s members will no longer pay the investment fee and, based on AutoVolo’s projections, will start to see a significant return on their investment.

Over the first five years, AutoVolo believes that more than £13m will be shared between 1,000 Voices members.

Speaking on the outcome of the sessions, the chief executive of AutoVolo, Stefan Voloseniuc, said: “We have a chance to wake up the market with an alliance which will benefit us all.

“Our 1,000 Voices provides the platform for dealers to come together, sharing the profits from our business and enjoying extra strength as a collective force for negotiating better deals from our partners for finance, extended warranties and other services.”

The assembled dealers also heard of the additional benefits exclusive to 1,000 Voices members, including a refund of the £150 release imposed by some third party finance providers, fixed advertising prices for four years and localised tactical advertising to support generating leads and enquiries.

AutoVolo confirmed that 100% of the investment from 1,000 Voices dealers will be re-invested back into marketing the business to accelerate its growth.

The funds will be directed towards Google search ads, improving offline marketing and other programmes designed to generate more leads and enquiries.

The business also stressed that it would not introduce part exchange or valuation tools on its website, a declaration that was well received by the invited dealers.

Jim Reid, managing director of Jim Reid Vehicle Sales in Inverurie, near Aberdeen, and chairman of AutoVolo’s dealer council, added: “The purpose of these early presentations is to gather feedback and from them we’ve found that 1,000 Voices has got great potential.

“There was real passion for the scheme and everyone I’ve spoken to has been positive – all dealers want change and they can see how this scheme is aiming to make that happen.”

Chris Roach, owner of Chequers Cars in Lightwater, was one of the dealers who praised the idea of 1,000 Voices. He said: “I’m happy to lead the way by signing up – I’m always looking for an alternative and there has to be change. The increases in advertising prices are simply not sustainable for dealers.”

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