The Philippine startup promises a platform where car dealers and buyers can talk and trade securely
Buying a car in the Philippines has largely involved asking friends for recommendations, taking flyers from sales personnel at malls or driving from one dealership to another in Metro Manila traffic.
AutoDeal, founded in January 2014, aims to change that by giving potential buyers and dealers a platform for more secure and better informed vehicle purchases.
“The first stage of the car buying process is ultimately the stage that requires the most work. Buyers have to research through different vehicle choices and ultimately decide what they can afford. All of this, they can do on AutoDeal,” AutoDeal Co-founder Christopher Franks says in a release.
The AutoDeal website lists car information from various automobile dealers in the country along with any promos that they might be offering so users can easily compare prices, specifications and promotions.
Buyers can then get in touch with certified dealers through the website if they have questions or if they want to schedule a test drive.
“On AutoDeal, only official agents invited by their dealership can participate and communicate with customers. This creates a new level of accountability and ultimately develops a more secure environment for the customer,” says Co-founder Daniel Scott.
Connecting users to dealership-vetted sellers eliminates the potential frustration on many classified sites, where dealers may not be as forthcoming with details, or may not be as attentive to queries.
On the dealerships’ side, AutoDeal’s new Lead Management System for partner showrooms gives accredited sales agents an avenue to connect with prospective buyers and respond to their inquiries to increase the chances of landing a deal.
The new software has been rolled out to around 35 per cent of 200 dealers in the network, Franks says in an email to e27.
AutoDeal also allows users to create a profile where they can save promos as well as price and specification comparisons for viewing later and can subscribe to brands they are interested in, so they can keep abreast on the latest model and financing offerings. The user profile also allows to share wishlists with friends and family over social media.
Franks says that the site gets around 370,000 visits on its site a month, up from 350,000 a month in data released in September.
“We’ve roughly attributed to just over PHP 1 billion (around US$20 million) worth of vehicle sales across multiple industry segments. This is over 1,000 vehicles in multiple segments ranging from entry-level vehicles at PHP 500,000 (US$10,664) all the way up to luxury SUVs at PHP 8 million plus (US$170,628) — this figure is just from the data we sourced through customer feedback. Based on the number of leads we’ve provided and the volume of customers we’ve received feedback from, the total could be three of four times this amount,” he says.
He adds that “there’s high appeal for first-time buyers”, with entry-level subcompact sedans making up 18 per cent of sales and subcompact hatchbacks accounting for 17 per cent.
According to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and the Truck Manufacturers Association, vehicle sales in the country rose 29 per cent in September against September 2014. They also say 206,284 units have been sold since January, a figure 21 per cent higher than the same period last year.
The chambers attribute the increased sales to “continued marketing efforts and flexible financial options being offered to the consumers.”
AutoDeal, which primarily sources revenue from dealers who subscribe to the service for leads, has funding from Future Now Ventures. Its founders previously started and ran Pinoy Auto Trader, which was acquired by Sulit.com.ph in 2013. Sulit has since merged with classifieds website OLX.
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