Online auction site Quotz pays sellers first

A first in the industry, this locks in the price and prevents the risk of dealers talking down prices

Quotz, an online auction site tailored to help individual motorists sell their cars, has had its first major facelift since its launch 11 years ago.

Run by Singapore Press Holdings-owned online portal sgCarMart, Quotz now locks in the price of an auction for the seller by buying the car on behalf of the winning car dealer.

The modification started this month and removes the risk of dealers talking down prices when they eventually collect the car.

The seller gets paid immediately on the spot after the auction - a first in the industry.

Quotz general manager Glenn Ong says: "Under the previous operating model, we learnt that car sellers have a positive experience from the auctions because, usually, high prices are derived through the competitive bidding.

"But the auction prices are only indicative offers because the deal needs to be finalised offline with the car dealer. In many cases, the dealer will use various excuses to offer the seller a lower price than the indicative offer and then use delay and pressure tactics to close the deal. This sours the experience for sellers."

Mr Ong says with the revised system, Quotz is "the counterparty to both the customers and dealers".

  • HOW TO SELL YOUR CAR VIA QUOTZ

  • •Book an appointment on its website, with Whatsapp, SMS or phone.

    •Drive down for a 188-point professional inspection and photo-taking of the vehicle.

    •Live bidding by more than 500 used car dealers takes place, with the highest selling price arrived at within one hour.

    •Accept an offer only if the price is right. There are no obligations to sell. If you decide to sell, you get cash immediately and hand over the car after two weeks.

"We can maintain good customer experience for owners and provide dealers more reassurance on the quality of the car due to our comprehensive 188-point inspection of the car, which includes undercarriage checks and test-drives," he adds.

Quotz has a network of more than 500 used car dealers and processes several hundred cars each month.

Since its inception in 2007, Quotz has completed some 15,000 transactions, placing it among the most successful platforms of its kind here.

Asked if the new operating model would involve Quotz locking up sizeable capital, Mr Ong admits that the business requires "a high amount of liquidity".

"However, dealers come to collect the cars and pay us within three days," he says. "So the amount of capital locked up is three days' worth of transactions."

Should a car dealer back out of a deal, Quotz will get the second highest bidder to honour the deal, he says.

"We have very few of such cases, and the price difference will be a few hundred dollars."

Quotz competes with similar platforms operated by players such as Carro, Carsome, Motorist.sg and Swiftquote. Still, Mr Ong says he is bullish about Quotz's prospects.

According to statistics, about 9,000 used cars change hands each month. Most are transacted through trade-ins.

"We're capturing only a small percentage of the market," Mr Ong says. "We're looking to attain at least 10 per cent market share in the next few years and also increase our revenue by five times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline 'Online auction site Quotz pays sellers first'. Print Edition | Subscribe