Gone were the days when the only way you could purchase a new set of wheels was to head to the nearest car dealership or spend a day (or more) going through everything at car showrooms until you came to a decision. Now, there are other ways to go about the process of buying a car, and one of them is through car classifieds.

Car Classifieds: An Overview of the World’s Largest Players

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In this article, you will first get 1) a look at car classifieds, and learn then about 2) the world’s largest car classifieds.

A LOOK AT CAR CLASSIFIEDS

Technology – information technology, to be exact – has certainly changed the way that the automotive dealership companies play the game. By bringing the automotive marketplace online, the number of opportunities to close a deal has certainly increased for all parties involved. Car sellers, car dealers, and car buyers are able to get together more easily and quickly.

Car classifieds have turned out to be the ideal platforms for prospective buyers of vehicles to find what they are looking for, and for owners and dealers looking to sell their vehicles to find a buyer for their properties.

You can compare a car classifieds to a typical online marketplace. The concept is basically the same; it’s just the subject – or the main product or item for sale – that is markedly different. It contains listings of vehicles by car sellers, with information that are potentially of interest to someone who is looking to buy a car or any type of vehicle.

Admittedly, there are several arguments against buying a car – or any product, really – online, and the main one is security. It becomes especially sensitive when we are talking about transactions involving large sums of money, which a car purchase normally entails. There is also the part about not seeing firsthand what you are actually buying, and relying largely on photos uploaded and posted by the sellers on the website. Many buyers are still apprehensive about parting with a significant amount of money for something that they have not yet taken on a test drive or even seen.

But online marketplaces have now improved greatly since the first time they invaded the worldwide web. There are now security measures in place to assure both buyers and sellers that their transactions are secure. Buyers and sellers are also becoming smarter when going about their purchase and sale transactions. Soon, the idea of buying a car online does not seem too bad, after all.

There are actually several benefits to buying your car through a car classifieds.

  • Car classifieds offer convenience in shopping. This is the main advantage offered by any form of online shopping, really. You get to browse through product choices – in this case, car or vehicle choices – in the comfort of your own home, without stepping out of your door.
  • Buying through a car classifieds spares buyers from being exposed to high-pressure sales tactics of car dealers. Most of the time, buyers easily cave in to the persuasive tacks taken by car dealers, and they end up buying something that they are not fully satisfied with. Coursing the purchase through a car classifieds allows buyers to do more research on the car they are eyeing. They can take their sweet time looking at the available cars for sale and come back again another day, instead of being pressured by a car seller or dealer to buy right now.
  • Buyers are better able to make product and price comparisons almost instantly when using a car classifieds. Most of these sites offer a facility that allows buyers to compare prices on vehicles at multiple dealers within a specific geographical area.
  • Since there is no lengthy and meandering sales pitch to deal with, there is no need for haggling which, all too often, jacks up the price to more than its actual value. Pricing in car classifieds is often straightforward and hassle-free, and closer to the actual value of the car.

Presently, there is already a large (and growing by the day) number of car classifieds that can be found when you look it up on the internet. It’s bound to be confusing, especially for buyers who are trying to go the car classifieds route for the first time. In an attempt to ease the process a bit, we will look into the world’s largest car classifieds: who they are, what they offer, and why they are good at what they do.

THE WORLD’S LARGEST CAR CLASSIFIEDS

In the past, people usually looked through the newspapers and other print media’s classifieds when looking for a car. Then craigslist came along, followed by other online car classifieds.

Craigslist

Founded by Craig Newmark in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay Area, craigslist is a classified advertisements website for jobs, gigs, housing, community events, personals, services, and for sale items and services. It originally started as an email distribution list about local social events, until it evolved into a web-based service finally offering classifieds for other categories, such as jobs and housing units.

Currently, craigslist is serving over 570 cities in 70 countries all over the world. It is also considered to be the largest automotive marketplace in the USA, serving all 50 states.

Owners and dealers submit information of the vehicle for sale to the website. Once the information has been submitted, the advertisement will appear on the listing.

Pros:

  • craigslist is free. That means there is no fee to be paid by sellers for making a car listing.
  • craigslist offers three ways for prospective buyers to view car, truck or vehicle advertisements: all vehicles, vehicles being sold by the owners or private party, and vehicles being sold by dealers. This allows users who are wary of dealing with dealers to go through vehicles being sold by private parties only, and vice versa.
  • Buyers do not have to spend much on shipping charges, since craigslist operates locally. With craigslist serving more than 570 cities all over the world, there is bound to be a craigslist in your area, and you will be buying or selling to someone within the same location, so this saves any massive shipping or transport fees for the vehicle.
  • Buyers are likely to find good deals on craigslist, since sellers and dealers are, most of the time, willing to negotiate, particularly on price points.
  • Sellers can easily post their cars for sale on craigslist, since all it takes is a few minutes to create an account and post their listing.

Cons:

  • There is no firm commitment on the part of craigslist. Buyers are not covered by any guarantees, which means the sellers can say something then do not actually follow up on it. It is possible for a buyer to go into negotiations with a seller, for the latter to “disappear” completely halfway through the transaction. In short, buyer protection is lacking.
  • Updating of listing is solely the responsibility of the seller, so there is no indication on whether the car has already been sold or not unless the seller takes the listing down or says so on the post. As a result, there are listings that are still up, even if the vehicle is already unavailable months ago.
  • There is no indication on the amount of interest that a listing is generating, so it is possible for a car that you have been watching to disappear from the list because someone else acted before you did.
  • The usability of craigslist is comprably worse than on other car classifieds.

AutoTrader

AutoTrader proclaims itself to be the “Ultimate Automotive Marketplace”, catering to car shoppers and car sellers – both dealers and private sellers – alike. It was founded in 1997 as a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, but is now wholly owned by AutoTrader Group of companies.

AutoTrader specializes in the sale of automotive products alone, whether they are new, used, or certified second-hand. That is the major difference of this car classifieds from craigslist, which is said to be its toughest competition. It offers listings of new and used vehicles from private sellers and dealers, as well as other services that consumers – sellers and buyers alike – find useful in conjuction with their car purchase transactions.

As a car classifieds site, it was able to receive various recognitions and awards, such as the 2010 Most Useful Automotive Site by J.D. Power and Associates, and the 2012 Information Week 500 Award. In 2013, AutoTrader also won the Dealers’ Choice Diamond Awards for New and Used Vehicle Internet Leads.

Pros:

  • AutoTrader is not just about making the sale. It also offers other services that help consumers, especially those who prefer doing some research first before making a decision. Consumers can also look into the various tips, shopping advices and suggestions provided on the site and its social media pages.
  • There are certain levels of firm commitment, where buyers may choose from options of various levels of service. AutoTrader can have its representatives handle most of the details of a sale or purchase transaction. They also have a free service for the valuation of vehicles.
  • AutoTrader vets its sellers through a pre-screening process conducted by the firm’s representatives.
  • The site also has valid and legitimate reviews of new and used cars, provided by the firm’s own editorial team. Comparison tools are also available, especially on car financing and car insurance information.

Cons:

  • Listing at AutoTrader is quite expensive, especially for the period of coverage of the advertisements. A standard advertisement costs $25, and it will run for 4 weeks, with the seller able to upload up to 3 photos of the car being sold. After the period has lapsed, the seller or dealer has the option of upgrading the status of the listing or continuing it. A premier ad listing, which allows the ad to “Run ‘til It Sells” and is featured in the listings, cost sellers or dealers $100, with 18 slots for photos.
  • Compared to craigslist, the reach of AutoTrader is smaller, although it also operates locally.

eBay Motors

eBay is one of the largest e-commerce companies and online marketplaces in the world today. This multibillion-dollar business, which was founded only in 1995, is now operating locally in more than 30 countries worldwide. Although it started initially as an online auction and shopping website, it now sells a very wide variety of goods and services, with categories such as Fashion, Electronics, Collectibles & Art, Home & Garden, Sporting Goods, Toys & Hobbies, and Motors.

eBay Motors is the arm of eBay that focuses on the sale and purchase of motor vehicles. Aside from cars, trucks and other types of vehicles, the site also allows the listing of vehicle parts and accessories, and other automotive tools and supplies. The listings cover brand new, used and certified pre-owned cars.

Pros:

  • eBay has a larger reach, compared to other car classifieds by virtue, perhaps of it’s being an already established name when it comes to online marketplaces.
  • eBay provides many useful tools for both sellers and buyers to evaluate a potential transaction with another party. The feedback system is a good way to gauge the trustworthiness of the seller you are planning to buy from, or the buyer you are about to transact with. Selling tools are available, and they include a Selling Manager and the generation of Sales Reports.
  • Sellers can provide as much detailed information as they want about the vehicle they are selling, since eBay provides an unlimited scope for the listing. Potential buyers will feel more confident with a listing that is detailed and comprehensive.
  • Sellers feel more secure since, upon winning an auction or the buyer clicking on the Buy It option, deposit is already paid, so there is a higher probability of the transaction going through.

Cons:

  • Going on eBay Motors to look for something to buy will not cost a consumer anything; making a listing of a vehicle you want to sell, however, requires a certain fee. Sellers have to pay selling fees, which are broken down further into the Insertion Fee (the listing fee), the Successful Listing Fee (a fee when the vehicle listed sells), and other optional fees, such as the Advanced Listing Upgrade Fees and Supplemental Service Fees. The total fees will depend largely on the vehicle being listed.

Carmudi

Carmudi is still a relatively new online car classifieds, having started operations only in 2013. However, by targeting emerging automotive markets, it has managed to grow into a major operation, expanding out of its headquarters in Berlin, Germany to various parts of Asia and the Pacific Region, Africa, Middle East, and Mexico.

Carmudi’s operations are solely as a vehicle marketplace, providing a platform for car sellers, dealers and buyers to find vehicles online. The company focuses more on the quality of listings and value proposition instead of the number of listings.

Pros:

  • Carmudi has recently launched its mobile website and a mobile app, making it easier for those who prefer to transact via their mobile devices to do so.
  • The site offers a search functionality that stays true to Carmudi’s role as a dedicated vehicle platform. It is certainly easier for prospective buyers to look for their dream cars since all they have to do is enter specific parameters and the site will search through the inventory listings for them.
  • Carmudi also offers professional car sellers support on how they can present themselves and their offerings to potential buyers.

Cons:

  • The mobile application is still only available for Android devices. Hopefully, it will also be available for iOS users in the future.
  • Those who are used to seeing a multitude of listings may be disappointed by the smaller number of listings available on the local Carmudi site they are looking at.

Cars.com

Launched in 1998, Cars.com has once been cited by many websites as the “complete car sales megasite”. This car classifieds, which operates out of its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the providers of the listings appearing in Yahoo! Autos.

Cars.com also acts as a reviews site not just for cars, but also for dealers. Another service that consumers can get from this car classifieds company is getting estimates for repairs, as well as locating certified service centers for their vehicle’s repair and maintenance needs. This stems from its current partnerships with Auto.com, NewCars.com, and RepairPal.com.

Pros:

  • Cars.com’s slogan is “All drive, no drama”, which explains the straightforward functionality offered by the site. Searching for your dream car has been simplified, and the accompanying specs and reviews certainly make the process of car shopping easier.
  • The many reviews, lists and guides made available by the editorial team allows for more research and informed decision-making on the part of the buyers. They are also very well-written and detailed, providing the information that is most needed by vehicle shoppers.

Cons:

  • Just like other online marketplaces, there are no concrete buyer or seller protection utilities to prevent bogus buyers or those that start a transaction but do not follow through on them.

Oodle

Founded in 2004, the online marketplace called oodle.com has earned the reputation of being the largest aggregator of classifieds, collecting listings from other online marketplaces – eBay included – and local websites and publications.

Aside from pets, merchandise, real estate, jobs and rentals, oodle also offers classifieds for vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, RVs, and boats. Being an aggregator of other online marketplaces means that oodle contains more listings than your usual, smaller car classifieds site.

Pros:

  • Oodle came up with an email anonymization service in order to protect buyers and sellers from being scammed by people who are out to defraud them.
  • Since oodle uses the power of social media and collects listings from other sources, there are bound to be more advertisements for car shoppers to browse.
  • Oodle has partnered with Twitter and Facebook, so listings on Oodle can also be accessed through Facebook. This is a good option for those who prefer to

Cons:

  • Having too many listings sourced from many marketplaces tend to make the list of choices convoluted and end up confusing buyers. Some sellers may not even update the status of their listings, so buyers may be inquiring over a vehicle that has long been sold already.
  • Except for some safety tips, there is no real or decisive protection for buyers and sellers against scammers.

Other car classifieds:

Hemmings is said to be the world’s “largest collector car marketplace”, where you can find advertisements for classic, antique or vintage, and exotic cars and their parts and accessories in the Hemmings Parts Marketplace. The target audience is clearly the car collectors, who are willing to pay top dollar for these classic vehicles.

mobile.de is the largest vehicle online marketplace for Germany. It allows users to sell their vehicles on the site, and for buyers to specify the parameters of the vehicles they are looking for, whether it is used or new, and other details such as the make, model and mileage. It also allows users to get New Car quotes.

KBB (Kelley Blue Book): The Trusted Marketplace takes pride in providing trusted information needed by those who are buying and selling vehicles. It has a long history of being involved in transactions related to automobile and other automotive products, but it was only in 2004 when it made use of the internet and became a car classifieds company that offers listings on vehicles, as well as reviews and guides.

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