MyMotor out to speed past online classified incumbents
By Goh Thean Eu July 14, 2015
- Expects to hit 1,000 listings soon, says too many may lead to ‘response dilution’
- 2yrs before it makes impact on MyEG’s top- and bottom-line: TS Wong
ALL eyes are on the entry of Car X Services Sdn Bhd’s MyMotor.my into the Malaysian online automotive classifieds space, currently dominated by ASX-listed iCar Ltd and Singapore’s 701Search Pte Ltd.
In terms of the number of listings at least, iCar via its Carlist.my portal leads the space with more than 164,000, while 701Search’s general classifieds site Mudah.my lists more than 80,000 vehicles for sale, according to quick checks by Digital News Asia (DNA).
Then there is the Driven Group, cofounded by blogger and entrepreneur Paul Tan, with its online car classifieds site http://www.oto.my/and its popular paultan.org automotive portal.
Despite the rather crowded space, MyMotor chief executive officer Dr Philip Ng Kee Aun believes there’s still room to disrupt the market and make a difference.
“We recognise that individuals still want to touch and feel the cars, but almost all of them will do their car research online first,” he says.
“MyMotor aims to provide a service to assist buyers and sellers make the right choices and get the right prices for their trade-ins, as well as find the inevitable gems that lurk in each new or used car dealership around Malaysia.
“We would like to bring back a browsing experience for the car buyers, who previously may only have searched for specific cars, but would then have missed out other great buys on other makes and models,” he tells DNA via email.
Car X Services is 80% owned by Malaysian e-government services provider My EG Services Bhd, which in turn is 7.1% directly and 33% indirectly owned by MyEG cofounder and managing director Wong Thean Soon (aka T.S. Wong).
In October 2014, MyEG announced that it acquired the 80% stake in Car X Services, while the remaining 20% was held by an individual named Lee Yeow Pin.
Although Ng’s name did not appear on Car X Services’ shareholder list, it is believed that the shareholding structure will soon change.
“Once the documentation and procedures have been carried out, I will have a shareholding in Car X Services,” says Ng, who cofounded Motor Trader Malaysia magazine in 1998. The magazine was then sold to Proto Corp for RM109 million in 2011.
Competing against the big boys
A look at MyMotor's portal showed that it has over 400 listings, a drop in the ocean compared with bigger rivals like Mudah.my and carlist.my.
While the number of listings certainly matters, Ng says that it will not be the only metrics the company is focused on growing.
“Our goals are different from the other motoring classified sites, whose objectives may be to have as many listings [as possible] – perhaps at the expense of response dilution for their advertisers.
“We aim to reach 1,000 cars (listed) soon, and hope to sell as many of them as possible with our car dealers and private owner partners,” he argues.
“We also have a number of successful transactions with dealers, and are certainly looking forward to more,” he adds.
As part of its efforts to give a better experience to users, MyMotor is positioning itself as a “hassle-free” online platform that brings together buyers and sellers.
“With ever-changing consumer buying behaviours, we identified an opportunity in the online marketplace for a one-stop centre where users can buy or sell a car, and have all the transactions – including vehicle financing, road tax, insurance and car ownership transfer – done for you,” says Ng.
“We [function] as a sales and purchasing assistant, easing the buying and selling transaction for customers.
“MyMotor will assist the buyer and seller to complete the transaction from start to finish. We will come to you, assess your vehicle, and help you sell your car at the best price,” he declares.
The company intends to make money from a few avenues, including listing fees [for now, the company is not charging users for listings], value-added services like helping users with documentation and paperwork, and commissions from successful transactions.
It may also consider other avenues such as advertising, says Ng.
“There’s always a possibility. But it [advertising] is not MyMotor’s core business, so therefore is not our prime focus,” he says.
For the near term, MyMotor is expected to have a negative impact on MyEG’s bottom-line – after all, MyMotor needs to invest in staff and marketing to grow its presence.
Including Ng himself, the company currently has a team of five, with plans to grow its headcount to 15 by year end.
“We think it will take MyMotor two years before it makes an impact on MyEG’s top- and bottom-line,” MyEG’s Wong tells DNA.
Cutting out middlemen?
With MyMotor’s gameplan to make it easy to buy and sell cars, this could potentially mean that your typical car owner need not go through a middleman. After all, by cutting out the middleman, both buyers and sellers can get better prices.
Wouldn’t this potentially end the need for used car dealerships?
Ng stresses that MyMotor is designed to help all parties in the ecosystem, from owners to buyers, but also used car dealers and agents.
“There will always be a place for car dealers, and our aim is that the dealers who partner with MyMotor will see their business grow,” he says.
Ng also believes that the value-added services MyMotor intends to provide will not be a threat to used car dealers’ livelihood, since many also help their customers with the paperwork.
“Consumers can choose to have their documentation done by MyMotor or by the dealers. The rates are comparable, and it will come down to convenience and the consumer’s choice,” he adds.
MyMotor will also be rolling out other product features and services “in due time,” says Ng.
Opportunity amidst uncertainty
In 2014, 666,465 new vehicles were sold in Malaysia, up 1.6% versus the 655,793 units sold in 2013, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).
Earlier this year, MAA had forecast that new vehicle sales could breach the 700,000 mark in 2015, but sales for the first five months have been somewhat subdued, with only 235,838 new passenger vehicles being sold – a 4% decline against the 244,892 units sold in the same period a year ago.
MAA attributed the decline to various factors, including the unfavourable foreign exchange rate, the dubious economic outlook, and consumers becoming more cautious when it came to spending on big ticket items.
While Ng admits that this challenging environment would mean fewer buyers, he nevertheless feels that it also serves as a good opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of MyMotor’s services.
“I believe that the difficult times are also the best time to launch a product like MyMotor.
“In a downturn, the number of car buyers is reduced, but they are still there.
“If we can provide greater success to our partners in these challenging times, we believe that MyMotor will be in an even stronger position as Malaysia’s premier online vehicle ownership portal,” he declares.
He also believes that it is only a matter of time before a significant number of Malaysians will purchase vehicles online.
“TS [Wong] and I recognise that the car industry was the last bastion in Malaysia which had not moved into doing transactions online, something that is currently starting to happen in places like China and the United States,” says Ng.
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