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Volvo Cars buys a stake in Carwow online car marketplace

Carwow has attracted an investment from Volvo Cars, which has taken a minority stake of the online car sales marketplace through its venture capital arm, Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

The deal recognises carwow's growth in recent years and its role in the UK, Germany and Spain in online sales of new cars, said Volvo.

It is the latest step in an existing partnership between carwow and Volvo Cars, which includes collaborations on Volvo Cars’ subscription service and generating web traffic and sales leads to Volvo's dealers.

“Third-party marketplaces play a key role in any consumer industry, which includes the competitive landscape of Volvo Cars,” said Lex Kerssemakers, chief commercial officer at Volvo Cars.

“We were one of the first car manufacturers committed to shift to online sales and through this strategic partnership, we will learn and gain insights into online buying behaviour.

"Our collaboration with carwow will help us and our retail partners grow volumes and reach our target of selling around half of our volume online by 2025.”

Some carmakers, particularly premium brands such as Volvo, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, see online sales as an opportunity to develop their own direct relationships with drivers, to improve their marketing and new car development by gaining a closer understanding of what consumers do or want from their cars.

Through the investment, Volvo Cars will gain valuable insights in areas such as online sales, customer acquisition and content creation, which will help its shift towards online and direct customer relationships.

Carwow recently enhanced its platform to support dealers seeking used car stock, which is a service it added last year with its takeover of the car buying operation Wizzle.

Volvo Cars aims to become a global leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment with millions of direct consumer relationships, and it has announced it will be a leading pure electric car brand by 2030.

The Volvo UK dealer network has been fulfilling online new car orders since 2019, and in 2022 the platform expanded to include used cars for sale direct to consumers.

“Volvo Cars and carwow have the same ambitions: to make buying a car online easy and seamless and help consumers switch to electric cars,” said Alexander Petrofski, head of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “Our investment in carwow is a good example of how the Volvo Cars Tech Fund aims to support the overall strategic direction of the company.”

carwow is headquartered in London and employs over 400 people across Europe.

Having started life as a reviews aggregator, it has also become one of the most influential names in consumer car media. Its automotive channel on YouTube has over six million subscribers and counting.

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