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Image credit: Cars24

Auto marketplace unicorn Cars24 announces expansion plans

Cars24, an India-based online used automobile marketplace, has announced its expansion to Australia after recently joining the unicorn club with a $200 million Series E investment round.

The company — claims to be Australia’s first to offer a complete online used car purchase experience — entered the unicorn club in November last year. It raised $200 Mn in a Series E funding round led by DST Global and existing investors Exor Seeds, Moore Strategic Venture, and Unbound.

Cars24 was founded in 2015 by Vikram Chopra, Gajendra Jangid, Ruchit Agarwal, and Mehul Agrawal to make it more straightforward for auto owners to sell their old cars at the best price. A customer can easily schedule an appointment with any Cars24 location, visit the location, and sell a car in a single visit.

By 2021, the company plans to expand from 130 Indian locations to over 300 Tier II, III, and IV cities and towns, thanks to its franchise model. It claims to have over 10,000 channel partners registered on its platform at the moment, with plans to expand the network to over 20,000 partners by next year. 

The company claims to have achieved pre-Covid levels in the third quarter of 2020, with annual transactions exceeding 2,00,000 units and a 4x increase in website interaction. Employees were recently offered a cash-out program under an ESOP (employee equity ownership plan).

“The initiative has been announced keeping in mind the support and trust that the employees showcased in the company during the difficult times,” the company said in a statement.

Dynamic Business spoke with Cars24 CEO Olga Rudenko about how the company views the Australian market.

What are CAR24’s immediate plans for the Australian market? 

“Our ambition is to become the most convenient and trustworthy way to buy a used car by offering Australians the first 100% online used car buying experience – all from the comfort of their own home, purchase in under five minutes with their new car delivered directly to their door. 

“We have established physical operations across the eastern seaboard, (for pick up and drop-offs) built a diverse and high-quality fleet of over 1,000 vehicles, and assembled a high caliber team of 130 experts to disrupt Australia’s A$55 billion used car market and transform the way Australians buy a quality used cars. 

“With the support of our founders, we have incredibly high expectations for our growth in this market.”

What are your thoughts on Australia’s used automobile industry? 

“When it comes to buying a car in Australia, there is still so much involved. You can undoubtedly find cars online – but then you have to inspect them and hope that you won’t be duped. 

“Either on price from dealerships or on their condition through private sellers, which can make the entire process very stressful.

“Being able to order a car in under five minutes with all the financing taken care of and the ability to return within seven days at no cost is an absolute no-brainer. We’re here to bring this new way of buying used cars to Australia.’

Is it the correct time to expand internationally amid lockdowns and uncertainty?

“We have a global reputation for disrupting the used car market and are excited to bring that expertise to Australia. 

“Our local team has significant industry and specialty experience to ensure CARS24 is fit for the Australian market and meets the demands of the Aussie consumer. 

“Demand is incredibly high right now, which is why a service like CARS24 is so vital. Used cars buyers want more value, convenience, and assurance around their used car purchase – and that’s exactly what CARS24 offers. Our 100% online model and COVID-19 safe delivery take lockdown out of the equation. 

“We’re confident that CARS24 will resonate locally by offering used car buyers greater convenience and value.”

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