Ariel Cilento
COO
LatAm Autos and Speaker for SEMINuevos.com
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View from the Top

New Technology to Sell Pre-Owned Cars

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 12:25

Q: How was LatamAutos created and what expectations does it have for the Mexican market?

A: LatAm Autos is present in six Latin American countries, namely Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia. Mexico and Argentina represent our main opportunities for growth. The company was formed through the acquisition of five car-listing companies in six different countries. Mexico was the only country where LatamAutos bought two different companies, one in Guadalajara named SEMINuevos.com and the other in Mexico City called Demotores.com. We unified both platforms under the first name and even though we do not only focus on second-hand cars, SEMINuevos.com had enough presence to secure a solid position in the country, with the largest specialized vehicle audience.

We launched our IPO in December 2014 and focused on unifying all platforms in the first months of 2015. In the second half of 2015, our target was to restructure the company, to implement new operations and work on a positioning strategy. By the end of that year, we had a follow-up offering of US$20 million. Our goal for 2016 is to consolidate the business so we are dedicating a considerable part of our monetary and human resources to Mexico. Our Mexican webpage attracts over 2.5 million visits per month and at least 60,000 new listings. Comparing inventories on car-listing websites in Mexico and Argentina with the penetration rate of these platforms and the population in both countries indicates that the market still has plenty of growing room.

Q: What participation has SEMINuevos.com garnered in the new and used vehicle segments?

A: Our challenge is to offer added value to the customer. Nine out of 10 people with access to the Internet use it to find information when they are car shopping, so our goal is to attract 100 percent of those people to our website instead of the OEMs’ platform. On SEMINuevos.com the customer can compare all brands in the market and the advantages of a particular model against other vehicles. Buying a car is an emotional process. Used vehicles can present certain complications regarding the state of the car so customers need a trustworthy partner to help them form an opinion about the product. We aim to become the best partner for these customers who want to buy or sell their vehicle.

Q: How has SEMINuevos.com built trust between both parties in a car purchasing operation?

A: We still have many miles to cover in this area but we are creating a unique solution. Having developed a tool that helps the client determine if a vehicle is within an acceptable price range we added an option to list a car with no cost. We are not directly involved in the payment process but we are working on a solution to integrate this into our operations. Even if a customer does not pay for their ad, we still validate certain information about the person and the vehicle. Purchasing a new car is relatively easy but used cars can imply complications for both parties. We work to create a stress-free environment. We support OEMs by helping with their new releases and brand development strategies. SEMINuevos.com is an excellent partner in the customer-attraction process. With large distributors our role is to appeal to customers using the group’s portfolio. Even though both OEMs and distributors have their own digital platforms we do not consider them competitors as we do not sell the cars.

Q: How has LatAm Autos innovated to offer a better solution to clients?

A: Listings have not evolved much from their original concept but the Internet has made it much easier to extend inventories to the public and connect people beyond their phones. From June 2016 onward, we implemented real-time communication between buyers and sellers on our platform. Instant messaging is now commonplace, so it is a natural next step for these types of operations. Our engagement rates have grown approximately 15 percent, showing visitors spend more time on the website. Furthermore, this system allows us to track all the interactions between buyers and sellers, providing insight into the needs of both parties. In response to what our corporate customers were saying, we just released MOTORChat and MOTORDealer for dealers to manage their online presence and their online sales.