Used-car sales

Spiffy deals on wheels

APTOPIX DEU Konjunktur Autoindustrie Abwrackpraemie
Unlike its rivals, Auto1 is keen to attract used-car dealers to its site. Source: AP

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.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.