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Cazoo’s acquisition of Cazana left ‘gap in the market’, says Rupert Pontin

Rupert Pontin, director of insight, Cazana

Cazoo’s acquisition of used car valuations provider Cazana left a “gap in the market”, according to its former vice president of insight and analytics Rupert Pontin.

The Vehicle Remarketing Association’s (VRA) deputy chair was this month made redundant from the business re-named as Cazoo Data Services and its whole-market data offering was withdrawn from a growing client base following its £25 million acquisition by the online car retailer in September last year.

Now the remnants of the Cazana business are driving Cazoo’s bid to improve its buying decisions to improve its gross profit per unit £3,000pu from £124pu in Q1 this year.

But Pontin said it was “a great shame” that the former Cazana offering had been lost from the UK car retail sector. Speaking to AM this morning (July 22), he said: “This time last year (Cazana was) very high profile and had some great products available for customers. Now, very suddenly, it’s all been kept in-house.

“The loss of Cazana has certainly left a gap in the market. There are other players out there and Auto Trader offers a vast array of tools that undoubtedly help retails gain visibility and sell cars, but nobody else served-up that whole market data piece.”

Pontin told AM that Cazana counted AM100 car retailers Jardine Motors Group and Sytner among its list of clients until the Cazoo takeover.

Cazoo had intended to monetise its valuations data through relationships with insurance companies, Pontin said, but he understands that plan is now being rolled-back.

The New York Stock Exchange-listed online car retailer is currently aiming to cut £200m of costs out of its UK business by the end of 2023 as part of a rationalisation strategy which will include around 750 job cuts in total.

An announcement on the new direction in June also revealed that it will cease signing up new business to its new car subscription service, which it launched after acquiring Drover for £65m in late 2020.

In May Cazoo revealed that its overall gross profit had declined 2% to £2m in a Q1 trading period which had seen revenues up 159% year-on-year to a record £295m.

Pontin said: “I wouldn’t want to be negative about Cazoo. They have had their own challenges.

“If Cazoo had not been there at the start of COVID I am not sure the sector would have responded as it did. It was there leading the way from an online retail perspective and had already served to focus retailers’ minds on that shift.

“In my opinion Cazoo is not doomed in any way whatsoever, it just needs to adjust to a new operating environment.”

Alongside his VRA role Pontin said that he was currently acting as a consultant through his Pontillion business and also operating a small car retail site selling eight to 10 vehicles a month.

But there are further plans also in the offing.

“I’ll be back in a more public facing role in the next two to three months”, Pontin told AM. “Watch this space.”

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