Anyone who works in the used car industry will probably be familiar with Manheim Inc., the renowned autos auction company. They have a huge stake in Auto Trader, they own Motors.co.uk, and in an intriguing new development, they’re set to rebrand Carmony.co.uk. You’re probably least familiar with Carmony, which was established in 2008. The rebranding will see the site attempt to break into the ‘dealer approved’ luxury car market, where cars are offered from franchised dealers nationwide.
The online used car market is fairly saturated. Brands like eBay, Gumtree, Auto Trader and Motors seem to rule the roost in terms of second hand sales. Even the luxury used market has precedents with ventures like Southport’s http://www.premiumtradecars.co.uk/, seeming to offer a decent range, but the USP of Carmony is that it’s nationwide, it has huge scale, and everything is dealer approved.
If you’re going to shell out £20,000+ on a new Mercedes, you don’t want the insecurities associated with private sales.
Let’s face it the advantages of second hand luxury sales are huge, with massive markdowns immediately after these cars have left the forecourt. It’s natural to want a Mercedes E-Class, an S-Class, or a Porshce 911, and it’s even more natural to want to buy from an approved franchised dealer due to the big sums involved.
Manheim probably see the Carmony site as a worthy ‘vertical shift’ from the Motors.co.uk site. Motors deal with a mass market – you can get luxury marks on that site, but it’s not necessarily a focused niche the way that Carmony would be.
Look at Zoopla and Primelocation.com as examples of businesses making this so-called vertical shift. Zoopla is now a tried and tested brand in the housing market, so Primelocation.com – owned by Zoopla and DMGT – uses a bit of Zoopla’s leverage to break into the ‘Luxury Sales’ market. This kind of product diversity seems both clever and necessary.
Carmony could become a huge brand name in months to come, and Manheim are probably keen for their site to be first on the ‘nationwide luxury car market’ scene.
The site already has a big stock of luxury cars and with the right branding it could serve as a business model for any venture looking to diverge successfully into related markets. It’s all about getting the right marketing angles and giving the necessary reassurance to prospective buyers – the ‘approved dealers’ angle is a strong USP.