An auction in reverse

Dealerfloor chatted with Marius du Toit, Managing Director of the 4Wheels Motor Group, with dealerships in Mahikeng, Vryburg and Lichtenburg, about his other passion of doing business, on-line vehicle auctions. But is not your traditional way of selling new vehicles on-line.

Mariusdu Toit

1: With Beat the Price, are you playing matchmaker between dealers and customers? What is that all about?

We allow dealerships to bid on a transaction to sell a new vehicle to the customer who approached us through this website. Dealers have two days to bid against each other for the best price or deal for the customer.

The customer does not have to drive from dealership to dealership or spend endless hours on the phone looking for the best deal on a specific new vehicle. The playing field must be level and the bids are for exactly the same model.

Our reward is a finders’ fee from the winning dealer once the transaction is concluded, and it is a free service to the customer. We can also assist with arranging the finance.

2: How long have you been doing this and what are the challenges?

We have been using this concept for the last two years. Like any new Internet venture, you have to create awareness of your website, the service that you provide and convince dealers and customers about the advantages of your offering.

3: While talking about the Internet, did the COVID-19 pandemic bring about a new urgency for people to do business on line, especially in the motor industry and with Beat the Price in mind?

Hopefully we will use our time much more effectively after this pandemic. People don’t want to waste time phoning for prices, arguing, going through sanitising processes and things like that.

For dealers, the advantage is that we could introduce them to customers they would normally not have been aware of. With this, they can move stock in other areas where they don’t normally have a presence.

4: Could COVID-19 and the era of digitisation bring an end to huge and fancy showrooms with more emphasis on the service and parts departments?

I reckon the day of big showrooms with pylons is something of the past. Why have a high pylon displaying the brand name and emblem when it is already on the building or window of the dealership? Does it really add value or is it just an unnecessary cost? There is no value in it for my clients to exhibit cars on 600 m2 of porcelain tiles. With lower interest rates, customers can rather buy a later model for basically the same instalment they are paying now.

5: Do potential buyers have different approaches when buying new or used vehicles online?

People must do their homework more thoroughly when buying a used car over the Internet. When buying new, be it in Cape Town or Nelspruit, the product is the same.

The risk when buying a used vehicle is the question of the vehicle’s condition. How was it used and looked after? Things like services, kilometre readings and general condition are all risks the prospective buyer has to take into account. Just do your homework.

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