Another new player has launched a used car classifieds website this month, entering an increasingly crowded marketplace. This one, however, seems to have friends in high places.
On the surface, heycar looks very similar to the existing Auto Trader/Buyacar/Motors/everybody else offerings, but the crucial difference is that heycar is jointly owned by Volkswagen Financial Services (which trades as Audi Finance, SEAT Finance, Skoda Finance, Volkswagen Finance and more) and Daimler Mobility (formerly known as Daimler Financial Services, and you may know them better as Mercedes-Benz Finance), as well as a private venture company called BCG Digital Ventures.
Although owned by Volkswagen and Daimler (and the venture company), the platform is open to cars from all brands. However, heycar is exclusively for dealers rather than private sellers, unlike Auto Trader and other platforms. The company claims to have 1,400 dealerships already on board, representing 50 different brands, which is certainly a good start – although it helps that it’s currently free for approved dealers to advertise their cars on heycar.
Is heycar really any better?
The key message heycar representatives were keen to sell at its launch earlier this week was a desire to make used car searching simpler. There are no adverts for car insurance, credit check services or GAP insurance, and results don’t annoyingly prioritise “sponsored adverts” like rival sites.
All of the cars listed on heycar must be less than eight years old and have covered less than 100,000 miles. They will also have a minimum warranty of 30 days, although there is no detail provided as to what level of warranty cover is offered.
Heycar also claims that it won’t advertise cars that are repaired insurance write-offs (known as Cat S or Cat N), which is a departure from other sites.
By only working with selected dealerships, there are inevitably fewer cars to choose from. We checked half a dozen popular cars and another half-dozen less popular models on both heycar and the market leader, Auto Trader. Even applying the same eight-year/100,000-mile limit to Auto Trader, it still offered more than double the number of cars to heycar in virtually every one of our 12 searches.
If you’re planning to buy a used car from a dealer, the key will be whether the limited number of cars on offer at heycar are basically the same cars you would consider on Auto Trader anyway (so in effect they’re not offering the cars you wouldn’t buy), or whether the choice really is too limited for most people.
At this stage, the answer to that will vary on a case-by-case basis, but the impression at the launch was very much that this is a significant new project that is setting up for the long haul. So we’ll need to wait a year or so to see how heycar evolves and whether it becomes the classifieds site of choice for used car buyers.
How many used car sites do we really need?
Heycar was launched in Germany two years ago, and its owners appear to be very happy with progress over there. As the second-largest used car market in Europe, the UK is a logical next step for expanding the heycar business.
But how many different used car classifieds sites is enough or too many? With Auto Trader, Motors, Buyacar and more, plus the likes of eBay and Gumtree, surely there’s no great need for another player. Which suggests that if heycar is to succeed, it’s likely to be at the direct expense of at least one or more of its rivals.
What’s your go-to site when you’re looking for a used car? And do you think that there is room for heycar in an already crowded market? Let us know below.