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Cox Automotive and Auto Trader join forces in Dealer Auction joint venture

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Cox Automotive and Auto Trader have launched a joint venture to drive growth of the Dealer Auction automotive wholesale marketplace – promising car retailers a greater choice of vehicle stock.

The JV Agreement between the two car retail rivals is conditional upon clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK and will combine Cox’s and Manheim Online businesses with Auto Trader’s Smart Buying (formally known as Autotrade-mail) retailer-to-retailer platform to create a single entity.

Once combined, the three businesses will enable prospective buyers to visit one platform and have a single view of a large selection of wholesale vehicles across the marketplace, a statement said.

It added: “Vehicles from fleet and lease companies will be added to the marketplace, with all stock augmented by data metrics to create the largest community of UK vehicle buyers, providing the most comprehensive choice and the best information to help with buying decisions.”

Co-owned by both Cox Automotive and Auto Trader, the new Dealer Auction business will be run by Le Etta Pearce, who has held senior roles within both companies.

Martin Forbes, chief executive of Cox Automotive in the UK, said: “The next five years will see an unprecedented level of change in our industry, driven by the ever-increasing influence of digital.

“Cox Automotive is already providing our customers with choice through our wholesale digital platforms of and Manheim Online, as well as physical auctions and vehicle services via Manheim.

“Cox Automotive and Auto Trader have a shared vision to transform the wholesale automotive market in the UK for the benefit of our current and future customers.

“Our core strengths are extremely complementary, and we believe that Auto Trader’s digital and data expertise combined with Cox Automotive’s wholesale channels and vehicle handling capabilities will deliver a market changing B2B platform. We are confident that this will be a long term and very successful partnership.”

Auto Trader chief executive, Trevor Mather, said: “The way in which vehicles currently move around the UK automotive ecosystem is overly complex and inefficient, and Auto Trader has the digital and data assets that can make it a quicker, more convenient and cheaper process for all parties.

“However, we know that we will have an even better chance of disrupting the market by partnering with an established player which knows this particular industry intimately.

“I am delighted that we are creating this joint venture alongside Cox Automotive, who we have found to be forward thinking and culturally aligned to our business.

“We believe that together we can fundamentally improve and lead change in this market, for the benefit of both wholesalers and retailers alike.”

Ultimately, the intention is for Dealer Auction to provide a connected platform that enables a complete end-to-end solution that increases speed of sale and profitability for vendors, and gives buyers access to a single, data-driven wholesale marketplace with integrated access to NextGear Capital funding, Auto Trader and consumer listings, logistics through Movex and Motor Trade Delivery, and Manheim’s services to inspect, image, recondition, and prepare vehicles.

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