The high-profile launch of the online used-car platform heycar in Berlin was almost exactly three years ago. Working in partnership with selected dealers, the aim of the online portal has been to bring prospective buyers together with high-quality used cars from all brands, and to do so transparently, reliably, and without annoying advertising. A lot has happened since it started.
heycar focuses on mediating first-rate vehicles with warranty, all from pre-screened and approved dealers. There is no distracting advertising on the way – the user can take a direct path to his or her desired vehicle. The past years have shown that the concept works and is well received by users and dealers alike. And this new way of finding and buying a car continues to evolve: heycar is constantly working on new solutions to embrace more and more areas of the vehicle purchasing operation online – integrated financing offers are one example of the related services involved. Moreover, the "heycar select" platform also enables users to directly take out a leasing contract for a used car. Internationally, heycar is also set for growth: after the successful start in Germany and the United Kingdom, Spain will soon be added as a further European market for the online marketplace.
heycar laid the foundation for its success in 2017 when pioneering work was carried out together with dealers in North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Hamburg. Only a few ten thousand vehicles were advertised on heycar.de at the time. But now, just three years later, heycar has not only built up a nationwide presence throughout Germany where it fulfills its promise of quality, but is now preparing to conquer further markets. "heycar has grown substantially over the past years. We operate in Germany and in the United Kingdom and we intend to further expand our international footprint. We are becoming a true European," says Florian Schlieper, CEO of the heycar Group. He continues: "We stand by our promise of quality internationally as well and want to offer customers the highest level of transparency and reliability."
There are in fact more than 300,000 vehicles from all major brands currently available for sale on the heycar platform in Germany (www.heycar.de) and more than 130,000 vehicles on the website in the UK (www.heycar.co.uk), where heycar has been online since the summer of 2019. And heycar will be starting up in Spain before the end of the year.
The goal right from the outset has been to compete with the established market players in Germany and the UK – with a strategy that consistently focuses on the market for high-quality, young used cars. The idea is that whoever finds and buys a vehicle on heycar should be able to be certain that they have indeed made a good decision. All cars come with a warranty from certified dealers and meet heycar's strict quality criteria. heycar already depicts a major proportion of this top-quality market on its platform today: in Germany, more than half of all vehicles in this segment, which comprises around 550,000 to 600,000 vehicles, can already be found on the heycar portal.
Therefore, however different the used car markets are in the respective countries, it can be reliably claimed that the parameters of the vehicles advertised on the platforms are identical. In no country are the cars older than eight years, they all come with a warranty, and they all have low mileage on the clock. In addition, all the dealers have also been quality-tested by heycar. It is this quality promise that clearly sets heycar apart from the competition.
heycar was founded by Volkswagen Financial Services AG. In the meantime, however, Daimler Mobility Services GmbH and Volkswagen AG also hold stakes in the holding company. "We are a brand-neutral platform and want to represent the complete market of high-quality used cars in each country. Consequently, cars from more than 50 different manufacturers can be found on heycar. That is another reason why we are of course open to further investors and with them business partners and shareholders," says André Warmuth, CFO of the heycar Group.
heycar drives the digitalization of the industry
Digitalization in the used car market is pressing forward – and heycar is a driving force. Here is one example: in addition to vehicles on offer, users are showing increasing interest in financing their purchase. According to a study of the British market carried out by YouGov in May 2020, 29 percent of customers are ready and willing to conclude a financing deal online. Today, a wide spectrum of financing options can be calculated online. As Schlieper further points out, "60 percent of potential used-car customers in Germany are interested in vehicle financing. Together with our financing partners, we offer them the opportunity to arrange and conclude their appropriate financing contract."
After only three years in operation, heycar will now soon be active in three different markets in Europe and several hundreds of thousands of high-quality used cars from more than 7,000 dealers are currently up for sale. At the same time, the range of products and services is constantly evolving and new solutions are being integrated. "A lot has happened at heycar during the past few years and a great deal of progress has been made. But we are clearly still at the beginning of our development. We want to further intensify the collaboration with our partners, win new partners for our company, and at the same time expand the service for our customers and grow internationally", Schlieper and Warmuth insist, adding: "We still have a lot of plans."
So it will be exciting to see where heycar stands on its next such birthday, just as it will be exciting to watch where the journey is heading over the next three years. One thing is clear: heycar will continue to grow – digitally and internationally.