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Young Star

Pimp your ride

IN A NUTSHELL - Samantha King - The Philippine Star

Easy, online and fast, get to know Carmudi, the e-commerce website that might just sell you your first car.


Once upon a time, guys needed hot wheels to get the girl, only dads could afford higher-end cars, and the thrill of buying a first automobile was accompanied with sweaty palms, butterflies, and stressful rounds of haggling.

Not so much today — Millennials are changing the way cars are bought and sold.

Girls can buy their own cars, more and more yuppies are cruising around in luxury wheels, and an automobile deal can be sealed just like that.

In an age of increased purchasing power, with more options and various installment plans flooding the market, a decent car isn’t as difficult to acquire now as in the past. More young, middle-class Filipinos can save up for a used car if they so choose, and more often than not, they choose to do this from the comfort of their homes, with a gadget on their laps.

What else could be expected from a generation that considers the smart phone more of a necessity than the automobile? An article on the Automotive News sums up what Generation Y wants out of the car-buying experience: easy, online, and fast.

After all, Millennials who came of age with the advent of online shopping and Facebook, are enemies of the hard sell. They want details about pricing, model options, financing, and mileage at the click of a button. Information up front, if you please, and none of those mind games where you have to wait for the manager, or wander around the dealership to see what cars are in stock.

But it’s not just the youth who are purchasing; it’s the youth who are selling, too.

Enter Carmudi, an online marketplace that’s revolutionizing how car classifieds are supposed to be. The platform, founded in 2013, is backed by German company Rocket Internet, one of the world’s largest e-commerce focused firms, with sites like Zalora, Lazada, and Easy Taxi under its belt.

“What makes Carmudi different is our quality control and superior customer service,” says Nicolas Boldt, former managing director of Carmudi Philippines and now commercial director of all 15 global branches.

“So when we engage large car dealers to put their cars online, we send our own collection team to really look at every car, take pictures, and verify the information. It’s safer and more personal than other car classifieds, where people just list everything online.”

At present, Carmudi operates in 15 countries with “emerging markets” — the Philippines having joined its network last January. But aside from being a young company, the team behind Carmudi Philippines boasts a relatively young staff as well.

Boldt, for instance, is only 25. His co-managing director, Subir Lohani, is a 29-year-old investment banker turned Carmudi head, and their communications manager/business development officer is 24-year-old Roxanne Lim. Their oldest employee is around 35, and the youngest is 21.

“The Internet and e-commerce in general is a very young industry. We need people who understand social media and how it works,” says Lohani. “Also, Carmudi came to the Philippines because of demographics — more than 70 percent of Internet usage is between the ages of 15-35 years old. If you think about it, this is the demographic that’s going to be buying their first car.”

With 20,000 listings in only six months of operations, the launch of a mobile app, expansion to Cebu and Davao, and a friendlier interface featuring blog posts, reviews, and DIY car tips — a new era of car shopping has well and truly arrived.

“What we want to be in the end is a one-stop shop for vehicles,” says Boldt. “So if you think of fashion online now, you think Zalora. Electronics online, Lazada. And if you think of cars online, it’s Carmudi.”

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