While it might not appear as immediately innovative, behind Volkswagen’s move into the online market for used cars is a more subtle strategy.
VW’s subsidiary, Volkswagen Financial Services, has just launched an online platform for second-hand cars. The virtual market place called Heycar will allow used car dealers from all over Germany to offer their stock of cars for second hand sale. While the brand will not play a role, the platform will offer customers predominately higher-quality vehicles, according to a VW company announcement.
With HeyCar, VW wants to attack the existing online competition, above all portals such as mobile.de and Autoscout24.de. One of the aims of HeyCar is to take market share from the existing online market. What makes HeyCar different than existing platforms, is that dealers will be pre-selected, a move aimed to create “more security and confidence” among customers.
Industry talk claims that VW wants to boost the sale of its diesel vehicles with the launch of the HeyCar platform. However, this misses one of the main strategies behind the VW move. The car industry in Germany is now dominated by commercial, fleet and leasing deals. As part of these arrangements, the resale of the car is a central component of the financial calculation on these sales. Now, Volkswagen Financial Services will control all financing options including having better access to post-lease car sales via the HeyCar platform. It is hoped that the used car platform should help to increase the number of leasing, financing and insurance contracts to 30 million by 2025.
Currently, the platform serves only Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Valley area, however new regions are being added each week, according to the company’s website. From mid-2018 HeyCar intends to offer vehicles from all regions of Germany.