eBay has announced its intention to buy Motors.co.uk from Cox Automotive and join the platform with its Gumtree online classified site to strengthen its online car sales offering.
Cox Automotive also confirmed its intention to sell its consumer-facing car search business for an undisclosed sum, as part of a deal, subject to approval by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The development will see Motors.co.uk join Gumtree UK, which is part of an eBay Classifieds business featuring Gumtree UK and Kijiji Canada as well as automotive specialists including Mobile.de in Germany and BilBasen in Denmark.
A statement issued on behalf of eBay said that, together Motors.co.uk, Gumtree Motors UK, and eBay Motors UK would offer more than 620,000 car listings via three shop windows, to advertise and reach 10 million unique cars buyers.
Martin Forbes, the chief executive of Cox Automotive, said: “The whole team at Motors.co.uk has done an incredible job growing the business, and it isn’t surprising that it has attracted the attention of eBay, one of the world’s most well-known e-commerce companies.
“The deal with eBay is great news for Motors.co.uk and would enable the business, the brand and the team to grow under new ownership where the focus is more consumer-led.
“For Cox Automotive, it would enable us to focus on building upon our strengths in the wholesale market and in supporting dealers, OEMs, Fleet and Leasing customers with a ‘connected retail’ proposition.”
Since its acquisition by Cox Automotive in 2012, Motors.co.uk has more than doubled its consumer audience and the number of vehicles it advertises.
A statement issued by Cox said that the platform has focused on innovative and mobile-first consumer search tools, the creation of a market-leading dealer solution — including its response tracking tool The Eye — and sustained investment in marketing to attract in-market buyers.
Motors.co.uk has also built a network of high-quality automotive sites including Topgear.com, Parkers.co.uk, Honest John, Autovillage and Raccars.co.uk. Combined, the Motors.co.uk network enables automotive retailers to reach more than 5.4 million unique visitors per month.
Commenting on the acquisition by eBay, Matt Barham, general manager of Gumtree UK, said: “This acquisition would finally present a viable car selling and shopping alternative for car dealers and buyers.
“By combining Motors.co.uk’s extensive inventory, dealer engagements, traffic and cutting-edge tools and services with the considerable audience of in-market car buyers provided by eBay and Gumtree, this acquisition would give UK car dealers a significantly broader reach.”
Phill Jones, managing director at Motors.co.uk, said: “Our mission has always been to make buying and selling cars easier.
“The deal with eBay would allow us to take this to the next level and we’re very excited about what it potentially means for our team members, our consumers and our advertisers.”