For many people across Africa, buying a car is the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Many are, in fact, more likely to buy a car than to buy a house. However, the informal nature of the African automotive industry means that these transactions are generally conducted with opaque pricing and quality assurance structures.
As a result of these opaque structures, trust is very low and car buyers, and sellers, often have to resort to creative means for ensuring a positive trading experience. For example, if you want to buy or sell a used car in Nigeria, you will either have to navigate the world of middlemen or take it upon yourself to work through every leg of the transaction – from sourcing and inspection to negotiating the best deal. Needless to say, this can be complicated, time-consuming and unnecessarily expensive.
The African used car market accounts for $45 billion in sales annually, with 9 million used cars traded and an average selling price of $5,000. With this level of investment, there is an emotional attachment that comes with every purchase and car buyers want to make sure they can make a purchase with confidence and peace of mind. For sellers, they also want the assurance that they are dealing with serious buyers with legitimate funds and interest. Not dupes or fraudsters that will waste their time and effort.
Delivering a delightful trading experience
Owning a car means different things to different people. For some, it is a luxury that adorns their lifestyle and for others, it is an aspirational purchase that gives them the freedom and mobility they need to chase new dreams and explore new opportunities. Whatever the reasons for buying a car, Africans should not have to endure the hassle and uncertainty associated with the traditional car trading process.
This is why we have created Car45, to build the infrastructure that allows sellers and buyers of cars across the continent to exchange value quickly, cheaply and with unhindered access to independent, relevant information required for decision making.
Protecting buyers and sellers
For sellers, we are easing the friction associated with pricing, transparency and liquidity. Our proprietary pricing algorithm enables us to standardize the prices associated with used cars and our technology-enabled platform gives customers 100 per cent visibility into the price offers they receive for any car we inspect at our inspection locations. We also reduce the number of days customers typically need to sell their cars and provide a guaranteed price offer, or cash in the bank, in under an hour.
For buyers, we provide access to the largest selection of verified cars – new and used vehicles at very affordable prices. The cars, which have been inspected using a 200-point system and categorised in grades ranging from A-E, have gone through due diligence and proper background checks to ensure that buyers can purchase these vehicles with confidence. Each car also comes with an inspection report on the website, which provides insight into the condition of the car, enabling consumers to make an informed buying decision. We also provide vehicle financing, background checks, vehicle history, insurance, after-sales support, servicing and other ancillary services that consumers will need in their automotive lifecycle.
We have also launched a new consumer-to-consumer marketplace that directly matches sellers and buyers across all markets it operates in, positioning ourselves as a marker of professionalism and excellence. All cars listed in the Cars45 marketplace have been through a thorough vetting process (200 point inspection, due diligence and background check) and will carry the trusted Cars45 inspection report. We will also conduct multi-level screening to ensure that only serious buyers are brought forward. Buyers will have full confidence in the purchase they are making and sellers will be protected by an escrow model.
After successfully establishing ourselves in Nigeria, expanding into Ghana and Kenya made perfect sense as the ideal next step as we build a transparent and fair structure for trading cars on the continent. We want to put an end to the complications of the current system and make it easier for Africans to enjoy the process of buying and selling cars as much as they enjoy owning and using them.
On the unmatched strength of our comprehensive service offerings, especially the documentation and background checks on all cars in our inventory, we want to become the go-to platform for every car transaction in Africa.
Etop Ikpe, CEO Cars45