Global automotive retailer Cars24 is set to shake up Australia’s $55 billion used car market as it introduces its pureplay e-commerce offer to consumers. The business, which was recently valued at over US$1 billion, launched in India six years ago but really fired up its international expansion this year moving into the Middle East, Southeast Asia and now Australia. Backed by DST Global, a venture capital company led by Russian-Israeli entrepreneur Yuri Milner that was an early investo
nvestor in Alibaba, Airbnb, Facebook and other successful social media platforms, it’s hitting the ground running with the Australian launch powered by a US$200 million capital raise. Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a brand ambassador and stakeholder in Cars24 and the business is headed up by Olga Rudenko as CEO, a former head of consumer strategy and operations at UberEats ANZ. Rudenko said Australia is a promising market for the brand, particularly at a time when new cars are in short supply. “Australia is a really overlooked market for a lot of these global [automotive] companies that are having such rampant success in the UK and US,” she told Inside Retail. “The new car market is still disrupted from Covid and it’s pushed a lot of buyers to come to used cars because they are available.” Quality control Cars24 claims to be the first entirely online used car buying experience in the country, allowing shoppers to make a purchase in under five minutes and have their new car delivered directly to their door at their chosen time. While most existing automotive marketplaces offer cars from dealers and private sellers, Cars24 owns every car it sells. As a result, it has control over the vehicle from sourcing, through to delivery, when a ‘Carcierge’ runs customers through an onboarding session with their chosen vehicle. It’s particular about the cars it buys, with the average age of a car being five years and an odometer of 70,000km. “We don’t take old cars or cars with an accident history. There are checks in the purchasing process in place that ensure that we don’t get too many of these difficult cases,” Rudenko said. After purchase, an in-house team of mechanics and technicians, working at warehouses in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, puts the vehicles through a rigorous 300-point inspection and makes any necessary repairs and refurbishments to bring them up to standard. Cars24 also offers seven-day returns and a six-month warranty. “Given how much of our resources we put into refurbishing the cars, it makes it a really compelling proposition for someone who was considering a new car in the past,” Rudenko said. “The customer can order a car and get it delivered at no cost to return it if they don’t like it within seven days. So, there is really no reason to say ‘no’.” Choice, trust and convenience Rudenko believes customers are looking for three big things when shopping online: “choice, trust and convenience”, and that it’s this quality assurance that builds trust with consumers. The online shopping experience also aims to build trust in the product, with detailed information on each car, over 30 photographs and 360-degree views. “The main proof points of the trust is our spectacular net promoter score (NPS),” Rudenko said. ‘We’ve sold over 200 cars and our NPS stands at 84.” Affordability is another important element to consider in the used-car market. The average price of one of the cars is $25,000. And buyers can get pre-approved for finance online at the checkout. While Australia has been slow to embrace electric cars, Rudenko is excited to introduce them to the platform, when they start becoming more widely available. “We would love to have electric cars on our platform, but they’re just so hard to come by. It’s going to be a while before we actually have a used car supply in the market to be able to sell them to people.” Cars24 starts out with an inventory of over 1,000 vehicles and a 130-strong local team spread across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The retailer aims to be fully operational in eastern and southern states by the end of this year.