The second-hand car market is not what it used to be. Gone are the days of shady deals, here-today, gone-tomorrow salesmen and old jalopies glossed up to look like new. Gone also, it seems, are the clichéd sales pitches made by archetypal used-car salesmen. That’s because the business has largely gone digital, and it’s booming more than ever.
Auto1, an online marketplace for second-hand-car sales, is probably Germany’s least-known successful startup. But if founders and co-chief executives Hakan Koç and Christian Bertermann have their way, their model will transform the industry.
Founded in 2012, the company is on a steep upward curve. Valued at €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion), the Berlin firm already has 3,000 staff, 800,000 customers and 35,000 car-dealer partners across Europe. Last year’s turnover was €1.5 billion, up 100 percent on the previous year. “We’re achieving healthy growth,” says Mr. Bertermann. Over 330,000 cars have been sold via the site since the beginning of 2017.