We Buy Any Car is a well known brand and a big business these days, but its days could be numbered if a new start-up which launched today does as well as its potential suggests it might.
Vehicle buying giant We Buy Any Car started life in 2006 when it was founded by Noel and Darren McKee and has grown to the point where it now employs almost 400 staff, had revenues of more than £500 million in 2014 and has been bought out by a company called British Car Auctions.
But its success hasn’t come without criticism.
The firm has often been criticised for the way it does business, with customers often getting a lower payment for their vehicles than initially promised.
Now one new SME is hoping to change that situation for consumers.
The business in question is called Wizzle, and you can trace its roots back four years to the establishment of another business called Auto i. Auto i was established when Seb Duval decided to go it alone after a long career in the auto industry which saw him start out in sales before moving into management.
‘Auto i was set up in order for me and the other partners to build a vehicle appraisal system for dealers across the country,’ says Duval. ‘It was successful and we ended up with a very efficient and accurate tool which was popular with dealers.’
It was after building the appraisal system and seeing it in action that Duval spotted a gap in the market.
He says, ‘We soon realised the tool could be used to help consumers as well as dealers and that’s when Wizzle was born.’
That was back in January this year, when Seb laid out the main aims behind Wizzle.
He adds, ‘We wanted to help two groups, consumers and dealers. So the aims are to give the consumer the most money for the least hassle and to provide the dealer with quality stock at a competitive price.’
Wizzle achieves this by connecting consumers with more than 3,000 dealers around the country. Consumers simply need to download the Wizzle app on iOS or Android, or visit the Wizzle website, and input the details of their vehicle to the appraisal system. Once that’s done dealers are able to see the details and bid on the car, which means consumers get a choice and can choose the bid that works best for them.
‘The thing with We Buy Any Car and other providers like them is that consumers are provided with a very generic price based purely on make, model, age and mileage, which is then chipped away at when the vehicle arrives at the depot because of its condition,’ says Duval.
‘Wizzle lets dealers bid on a vehicle with more of an idea what it will look like when they eventually see it, allowing for more accurate quotes.’
The company is in partnership with HPI, CAP and Experian, which is another helping hand in ensuring dealers get a proper appraisal of a vehicle they’re considering buying and is sure to ensure plenty of dealers take advantage of the app to purchase used stock.
And as an incentive to consumers to provide that stock, Wizzle charges no fees, instead taking a percentage cut from dealers and making the app free to use.
The app went live to consumers on iOS on July 29 and will go live on Android in September, while the website has been allowing appraisal to be carried out for a week or so. On Monday the system will be opened up to dealers, so the first car sold through the app will be sold in just a few days.
All of which means these are exciting times for Wizzle.
‘It is very exciting for us,’ says Duval. ‘But I think it’s most exciting for consumers because they now have the chance to use an accurate appraisal system where you can get a true picture of the value of your vehicle even with little knowledge.’
The days of seeing consumers ripped off could be coming to an end.