Motus creates online used car portal

Motus, the vehicle business of Imperial Holdings that was unbundled and separately listed on the JSE, has developed a new online portal where prospective customers will be able to access all the pre-owned vehicle stock in the group.

Used vehicle parking lot Haidan Unsplash

Motus CEO Osman Arbee said the pilot phase of the new portal - motus.cars - will be launched in the third or fourth week of October with two or three brands, such as Auto Pedigree and Motus Select.

Osman said the group wants to test the platform first for any hiccups before fully launching it in January next year with the other brands Motus represents, such as Hyundai and Kia.

“We don’t want to do it with a ‘Big Bang’ because we are worried that the system may get overloaded and this may irritate our customers,” he said.

Osman said pre-owned vehicle customers previously had to visit the individual platforms of group brands, such as Auto Pedigree, Motus Select and Hyundai and Kia on their own.

“The benefit of this site is that it gives customers a window to all used vehicles in the group, whether they are sitting in Cargo Motors or Kia or Hyundai. They can pick them all up in the same place and not see only one dealership but all of them,” he said.

Osman did not know how many used cars will be available on the platform at any one point in time but indicated that Auto Pedigree could have 8 000 to 9 000 vehicles because it picked up all the defleeted cars from car rental companies.

He said the car rental business was the group business that was most hurt by the Covid-19 lockdown, resulting in it defleeting and reducing its car rental fleet from 21 000 to 12 000 vehicles.

Osman said Motus is well positioned to take advantage of the shift from new to pre-owned vehicles because its car rental company has quality small vehicles, small vehicles, entry level vehicles, small sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and medium SUVs.

“That is exactly what the South African car market wants. If the used car business grows from 1.2 used cars to 1.6 or 1.8 used cars for every new car sold, we are ready for that market. We have the stock, the outlets and the people to handle it,” he said.

Osman said an important differentiator between Motus’ pre-owned vehicle business and other online used vehicle platforms is that Motus focuses on pre-owned vehicles between one and five years old, which means the mileage of these vehicles is reasonable and they have the service history and records for these vehicles.

There are signs that e-commerce is going to become increasingly important in the pre-owned vehicle market.

This was evident in the proposed acquisition by JSE-listed multinational Internet group Naspers of a controlling 60% stake in online used car dealer WeBuyCars for R1.8 billion.

The Competition Tribunal prohibited this planned transaction in March this year but Transaction Capital earlier this month [September] announced it had acquired a 49.9% non-controlling stake in WeBuyCars for a maximum of R1.84 billion.

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