AUTO1 Group – In conversation with Co-Founder & Co-CEO Hakan Koç

We spoke to AUTO1 Group's co-founder and co-CEO Hakan Koç on what the future holds for automotive trading.

The AUTO1 Group is a somewhat unlikely candidate to join the unicorn club: Founded in 2012 by Hakan Koç and Christian Bertermann in Berlin, it has now expanded to match the supply and demand of vehicles in over 30 countries. In January 2018 the startup received an investment of €460 million from Softbank and now ranks as one of the highest-valued German startups. 

 

 

The automotive trading industry is currently facing fundamental changes. Which role does AUTO1 Group and its brands play in this change process?


The European car trading industry used to be highly fragmented and limited to local operations. As a pioneer, AUTO1 Group digitised and unified the fragmented European car trading market by taking advantage of arbitrage opportunities and thus incrementally adding value to the whole network of private and professional customers.

We developed a two sided platform that synced supply and demand across Europe. Through our proprietary technology, we basically solved two problems: First of all, selling a car used to be a real hassle. By applying the principles of e-commerce to the automotive trading industry, we’ve been able to reduce both effort and time you need to sell a car. On the other hand, professional car dealers didn’t have a source for constant quality supply – and now there is no better source on the market than us.

Solving these problems has enabled us to build a network of dealerships of more than 60,000 professional partners and therefore to buy and sell more than 1500000 cars. By pursuing a dual strategy of both providing user-friendly digital solutions as well as physical presence with more than 400 branches and local car experts in 30 countries throughout Europe, AUTO1 Group is still unique in its comprehensive range of services.

The AUTO1 Group specialises in the trading of vehicles. How will your business model develop if the private ownership of a car loses relevance?


To rethink mobility is of course one of the most important tasks of our time. While in Germany and many other European countries we have to deal with the first bans on diesel driving, at the same time the relevance and thus also the range of alternative drive systems is increasing. From my point of view, shared and intermodal mobility is the most promising future mobility concept. Still, the availability of car sharing services is mostly limited to urban areas. Especially in rural areas the personal car will therefore continue to play an important role.

But contrary to what many may assume, even comprehensive access will not subvert AUTO1 Group’s business model at all.
Rental cars cover relatively many more kilometres within a year than a purely private and personally used vehicle. Of course, this also leads to a more frequent exchange of the fleet - and as a wholesaler, we are more than interested in an increase of transactions. For several years now we therefore successfully have been offering fleet operators, rental companies and OEMs a remarketing service via AUTO1.com.

You recently announced partnering with Wirecard - Will AUTO1 Group concentrate even more on offering services along the value chain of car trading?

Since the beginning of AUTO1 Group in 2012, we’re increasingly supporting our private and professional customers with technical, logistical and financial services. Having a look at the B2B side of our business, the many values added in the background become quite vivid: With just one click, a professional car dealer can purchase a car on AUTO1.com; with a second click, he can finance this car via AUTO1 Fintech. In the background and invisible to the buyer, a fully digital process along the value chain is now underway. Contracts are prepared, the vehicle gets deregistered, old financing is replaced and a new one initiated, documents are transmitted, the best logistics route is selected and, if necessary, import or export regulations are fulfilled – all digitally and mostly automatically due to AUTO1 Group's proprietary technology.

And with each car traded and each remarketing process completed, AUTO1 Group gets more insights into the used car trading industry than anybody else on the market. The captured digital data is constantly enhancing our automotive expertise and thus benefiting all groups of customers. So yes, as a result AUTO1 Group has evolved from a purely trading platform to a full-service provider offering solutions along the entire value chain of used car trading. Fully digitised products not only enable our customers to purchase and sell but also to quickly and easily evaluate, remarket, transport and finance cars across the European continent.

What’s the next big thing?

That's a very good question I am not able to answer today. But perhaps we will be able to find out at the IAA and NMW in September.

Thank you, Mr Koç!

 

On September 13, Hakan Koç will be speaking at the IAA Conference! Join us in Hall 5 from 14.15 to 15.15 as he voices his opinions and expertise on the topic of "Playing the next big role".

About AUTO1 Group

Founded in 2012, AUTO1 Group is Europe's leading digital automotive platform. AUTO1 Group is aimed primarily at the used car trade and offers over 60,000 professional partners the opportunity to access a diversified portfolio of more than 30,000 vehicles. By connecting buyers and sellers through technology, the company enables dealers and consumers to trade seamlessly throughout 30 European countries. AUTO1 Group’s well-known brands are AUTO1.com, wirkaufendeinauto.de and Autohero. In 2018, the company sold more than 540.000 vehicles and achieved revenues of EUR 2.9 billion.