An announcement tells users not to worry about the change. "Had listings [at AutoPlaza?] Don't worry. They're here," it says.

An announcement tells users not to worry about the change. “Had listings [at AutoPlaza]? Don’t worry. They’re here,” it says.

MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: Meli), an ecommerce and classified company operating in 19 Latin American countries, merged its auto site AutoPlaza.com.mx with its MercadoLibre Mexico site, the company announced recently. 

A Top-3 auto classified site in Mexico, AutoPlaza is now part of the MercadoLibre Vehículos brand in Mexico, the homonymous auto vertical operating in several Latin American countries, including Brazil and Argentina.

Amelie Mossberg, the company’s head manager for auto classifieds, told us the MercadoLibre Mexico brand was stronger than AutoPlaza, so the company decided to shut down the AutoPlaza site.

“MercadoLibre is Mexico’s leading platform. The MercadoLibre site has 14 times more traffic than AutoPlaza, so we decided to keep the strongest brand,” she said in a quick phone interview from her office in Mexico City.

Citing data from ComScore, Mossberg said the MercadoLibre autos category has about 2.2 million unique visitors per month, while AutoPlaza had some 53,000 unique visitors per month.

“MercadoLibre is the leading ecommerce company in Latin America, so I think [other countries] will also want to use that muscle. One of the things that we jointly did at MercadoLibre Vehículos in Mexico was to improve the site’s design. We also produce industry-related content,” she said, while commenting the company’s move towards a more user-friendly site.

Mossberg said the move didn’t affect dealers or private owners of autos. Additionally, the company’s pricing policy wasn’t changed. Even before the site merger, users that had accounts or listings at AutoPlaza also had access to the MercadoLibre Vehículos site in Mexico. Additionally, users had the ability to have the same listing posted twice at once, and prices to advertise on both vertical sites were the same.

SimilarWeb data indicates the asset acquired by Meli on September 2011 had been sliding sideways in August, before ticking up in the first half of October, and dropping back in the second half. This may be confirmation that most of the company’s traffic for autos was already going to the MercadoLibre Mexico site.

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The ComScore graph below shows the competitive position of the MercadoLibre Vehículos brand in Mexico against its competitors.

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Meli acquired 60 percent of AutoPlaza in 2011 and then, in December 2014, exercised its call option to buy the remaining 40-percent stake. It paid a combined $9.5 million U.S. to fully own AutoPlaza, which belonged to AP Clasificados.

Mossberg said 55 percent of MercadoLibre’s revenue from auto classifieds in Mexico come from dealers. Private owners account for the other 45 percent of the company’s auto classifieds revenue.

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