Picture: THE TIMES
Picture: THE TIMES

Launching in September, the owners of auction.co.za say their new site will disrupt the auto sales industry, much like Uber and Airbnb did in their industries.

The platform aims to offer an alternative digital marketplace for South African consumers when buying and selling vehicles. The company says it wants to completely change the way people buy and sell cars, bringing back transparency to the core of sales.

As an ancillary of DealersOnline, auction.co.za has 11 years of experience in the online auction space, accumulating auto data and creating algorithms to drive its latest innovation. Big data, backed by technology, is good news for secondhand car sales, as consumers will ultimately reap the rewards, says the company behind the project.

DealersOnline says it sells more than 5,000 vehicles month from corporate fleets, rental firms, dealers, banks and OEMs and it says it is a natural progression to give consumers their own marketplace.

Co-founder of the company behind the project, William Miller, says: "We are putting the buying and selling power back into the hands of the consumer, who will now be able to buy or sell their vehicle online. Corporate fleet owners will also be able to offload their fleet of vehicles through us."

"The business model is simple: our drive is that the end consumer gains," adds Renaldo de Jager, also co-founder of the business. "We provide car sellers with a desktop valuation, giving consumers insight into the real value of their vehicle prior to selling.

"As a tech-driven online service, transparency is a key focus because we inspect and test drive every car, giving it a rating. A list of exactly what is wrong with the car is included in the online vehicle profile allowing buyers to make an informed decision as opposed to having to live with hidden defects."

Sellers will be now be able to get the maximum value for their vehicle and buyers will know exactly what they’re buying.

Consumers will be able to participate in auctions from their desktop or on their cellphones and local banks and insurers will be offering financing, insurance and ancillary services. Buyers will have access to pre-approved loans prior to bidding.

The company claims that those in danger of having their vehicles repossessed will be able to achieve higher value, as the public will be able to participate in these auctions although of course that can only be tested once the site actually begins trading.

The company says the role of the operation is to provide additional transparency in the used car sales industry.