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Carousell’s auto vertical is focusing on secondhand cars, but it’s readying for EV transition

carousell auto group gaurav bhasin

Earlier in April, classifieds marketplace platform Carousell Group launched Carousell Auto Group as part of its move to deepen its dominance in the automotive industry in Southeast Asia.

The autos vertical is apparently the Group’s largest vertical, contributing a third of its revenue.

“Carousell Auto Group is the most-visited autos classified platform in our markets, which means we have the largest traffic of high-intent audiences,” said Gaurav Bhasin, Carousell Group’s new Chief Strategy Officer, who also serves as the CEO in Malaysia.

“Our diversity and breadth of products and categories within autos provides deep value to users, and ensures stickiness. Our aim is to build on this loyalty to provide our users with an e-commerce like experience when it comes to the autos ecosystem in cars and beyond.”

In this new position as Chief Strategy Officer, Gaurav’s role is to lead the strategy and execution of Carousell Auto Group. He brings a dozen years of expertise in the classifieds space, having successfully transformed Mudah into a profitable business.

Reimagining The Car Marketplace Industry In SEA

When asked about the Group’s business model, Gaurav explained that they have two core models. The first is classified as a listing fee, along with a fee for value-added services. The second one is for transactional services, in which a take-rate model applies.

carousell autos
Screenshot of Carousell Autos homepage

Carousell Auto Group consolidates the marketplace’s individual autos brands — Mudah Auto in Malaysia, Cho Tot Xe in Vietnam, Carousell Autos in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Singapore — with the innovative transactional platforms OneShift and Revo Financial in a regional thrust to accelerate verticals growth and create impact for users.

“This is an indication of our ambition to reimagine the autos buying, selling and ownership experience across the region,” said Gaurav.

According to the company, its vision is to make the “buying, selling and ownership of cars a magical experience for middle-class Southeast Asian consumers.”

So how does the Group intend to create this “magical experience”?

We’ve been developing our AI capabilities so that users can set up detailed car listings seamlessly with just a few taps, expanding partnerships such that secondhand car conditions can be certified fuss-free with a warranty, and building capability from our vast historical data sets to enhance users ability to get a fair price.

We have OneShift, Revo Financial pioneering transactional models in Singapore and we’re continuing to push the needle with new innovations to improve the car purchase journey and bolstering the car ownership journey with the best of Carousell’s ecosystem of autos categories, including workshops, accessories and services.

– Gaurav Bhasin, Chief Strategy Officer of Carousell Group

With its acquisition of OneShift, they have launched Carousell SwiftQuote, a C2B bidding platform that allows car owners in Singapore to sell their cars to dealers in our network, and get offered the best price from our dealers.

It also aims to improve the car purchase journey with financial services through Revo Financial.

Covid-19 Is Pushing More People To Buy And Sell Online

In an interview with Vulcan Post, Gaurav acknowledges the huge potential of the autos market.

“What we’re really excited about is truly reimagining it as a fully online model — this is where we come in with our expertise as the region’s largest online classifieds and what we are doing on the recommerce front in other verticals.”

car covid-19 drivers
Image Credit: Carousell Blog

With the the world recovering from the effects of the pandemic and the many ripple effects it has cast onto the economy, Gaurav feels that secondhand autos are reclaiming the spotlight.

COVID-19 has definitely redesigned our world, and the way in which we navigate it. People are more open to buying and selling online. So why not cars, especially in a region that has the fastest growing middle class.

– Gaurav Bhasin, Chief Strategy Officer of Carousell Group

He added that by 2030, the number of middle-class consumers in Southeast Asia will more than double from 135 to 334 million. These users will not only want access to cars, as ways to get around comfortably, but they will also expect e-commerce convenience and seamlessness in their autos transactions.

Recognising that Covid-19 has accelerated the trend of users buying and selling online, including for cars, Gaurav said that the Group wants to go “one step further” to power its autos brands with transactional models to simplify car buying, selling and ownership.

“Our autos brands are leaders in Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines, and we have ambitions to translate this deep expertise to be the number one autos classifieds player in Singapore and Hong Kong in the next three years.”

Secondhand Autos Is A Key Focus For Now

carousell cars
Image Credit: Carousell Blog

With the formation of Carousell Auto Group, Gaurav said that it will be making substantial investments to make transformative upsizing and developing partnerships across its markets.

He remains tightlipped on sharing further details on these partnerships, but simply said that partnerships across the car ownership value chain will help position them perfectly to continue growing to be the leader in the classifieds autos space.

For now, secondhand autos is a big focus for the company.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the car rental market in Southeast Asia is anticipated to register a CAGR of about 6.7 per cent during the forecast period of 2020 to 2025.

used car market sea
Image Credit: Mordor Intelligence

Consumers are unwilling to invest hugely in newer commodities and opting to purchase used products. As a result, the used car industry on the rise. Moreover, used car platforms have proven to be widely safe, accessible, and available at reasonable prices.

The sales of used cars are also 1.3 times compared to that of new vehicles and this ratio is expected to double in the coming decade. Various factors, including population rise along with growth in the economy, are making the South East Asian counties the fastest and also an attractive economic market to the investors.

One of the biggest barriers to secondhand is trust, and it’s a big focus for us throughout our categories as a classifieds marketplace. We’re bringing the same user-first approach to Carousell Auto Group, and prioritising trust to ensure that users can transact with a peace of mind especially when buying secondhand.

– Gaurav Bhasin, Chief Strategy Officer of Carousell Group

Lucas Ngoo, co-founder of Carousell, also shared his ambitions of transforming Carousell Auto Group into a “one-stop shop for everything autos-related.”

“Soon, our users across the region will be able to sell and buy their cars quickly in a seamless manner, and have access to the entire autos ecosystem of workshops, accessories and services.”

Preparing For The EV Revolution

electric car
Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns via Flickr

Additionally, Singapore has announced that it is phasing out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040.

Gaurav is not fazed by this phase-out, and instead feels that this is a “step in the right direction”. After all, electric vehicles are already fast gaining popularity in many parts of the world, he added.

By 2040, technology will continue to advance in leaps and bounds, which will likely render ICE vehicles obsolete. By then, infrastructure to support electric vehicles (EVs) will likely be in place, making ownership a lot more convenient.

As a classifieds marketplace, we mirror and are very malleable to adapt to user needs. As the users move towards EVs and hybrid vehicles, our content and search experience will adapt directly to those needs.

– Gaurav Bhasin, Chief Strategy Officer of Carousell Group

As more electric cars will be sold on its platform, Carousell Auto Group will work on our updating its platform accordingly to better serve the needs of EV sellers, such as having smart attributes specific to EVs with specs such as charging capabilities, EV mileage and Niro EV.

“There also needs to be strong partnerships with car manufacturers to ensure that this transition is possible. Securing strategic partnerships is an important focus for Carousell Auto Group and we will make announcements in the months to come.”

Featured Image Credit: Carousell

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