Original text: Frank jacobs – Fleet Europe
In February, Belgium-based OPENLANE acquired GWListe, a German online car trade network. Why?
“GWListe has a very nice footprint on the German market. Combining our volumes will make us the third-largest auctioneer in Germany, increasing our relevance on the biggest automotive market in Europe”.
How does GWListe fit with OPENLANE’s overall strategy?
“Both companies are highly complementary. Product-wise, CarsOn-TheWeb has a steady supply of end-of-lease cars, which are well-documented and of high-quality. GWListe has a different car mix from a steady and loyal seller database in the dealer community. As for business models: CarsOn-TheWeb has a full-service, transactional, no-cure-nopay model. GWListe applies a non-transactional model: they’re essentially a matchmaker for sellers and buyers”.
How will the acquisition impact your business?
“We’ll gradually offer OPENLANE services to the sellers and buyers of GWListe and vice versa. And we’ll launch the GWListe business model all over Germany, and eventually elsewhere in Europe. Both brands will continue to offer clearly distinct services. But while we develop the best qualities of each brand, we’ll integrate ICT, HR and other back-office services”.
Online auctions are transforming the way used vehicles are being traded. How far has remarketing come in, say, 10 years?
“In short, I’d have to say that, as we adopt and implement increasingly complex aspects of new technology, our company is becoming more and more a tech company”.
For your business, how important are online auctions compared to physical ones?
“I’m convinced that the online approach right for our industry in continental Europe, and I’m sure that online auctioneers will be leading the pack, especially in international trade”.
What are the latest developments in this field?
“There are two major and strongly interlinked developments, both taking place in the fast-evolving field of information technology. Like other industries, the vehicle auction industry, and OPENLANE in particular, is increasingly using Big Data and Business Intelligence to further the main goal of vehicle remarketing: to provide an even better match between the cars on offer and demand from buyers”. “And linked to that, we are studying and adopting the typical e-marketing techniques that are current in consumer e-businesses. All this is in line with our OPENLANE strategic choices, for which we aim to dramatically improve the accessibility to our company, our website, our cars and our services for our customers”.
Will online auctions completely take over?
“Yes, the online model is by far the more cost-efficient, and it is over-performing against the physical auction model. It will increasingly do so by further improving the growing liquidity of the auctions, which is resulting in higher bids for the sourcing partners”.