German auto dealers launch site for private sellers

30 Jan 2017

We didn’t think Germany needed another auto site, but it just got one, albeit with a twist. This time, dealerships themselves are behind it.

Landing page of new BDK-DAT auto platform

Bank Deutsches Kraftfahrzeuggewerbe (BDK), the banking arm of the German motor trade association (ZDK), launched a website for private owners to sell their autos directly to dealerships.

ZDK’s members are German auto dealers and repair shops.

BDK partnered with Deutsche Automobile Treuhand (DAT), a market research firm that supports the auto industry, for the initiative.

The new platform, called BDK Ankaufversprechen (“purchase promise”), will start officially at the beginning of February.

According to an article on Autohaus.de (here in German), the site is designed to guide private owners to regional dealerships that can assess and buy their autos. If a seller can’t find a dealership that will purchase the auto, BDK will buy it.

Through the site, users enter the information about their autos for sale and their locations. They receive a list of partner dealerships that might be interested in buying, and can set up appointments to bring their autos for estimates.

At the dealership, a seller receives a binding estimate for the purchase price, which is determined by DAT (DAT also offers a free, online used-car estimate tool, similar to Kelly Blue Book). Sellers then have several days to decide if they wish to sell.

Sales transactions are processed by ALD Lease Finanz, a manufacturer-independent leasing company that is also a majority shareholder in BDK.

There are plenty of other platforms out there where private owners can sell their autos for no service costs in a similar way, such as IchWillMeinAutoLoswerden.de, which claims to have more than 11,000 partner dealers. Others, such as Autohero (Autohero.com/de) and WirKaufenDeinAuto.de (both owned by the Auto1 Group), are online dealerships that buy autos directly.

So, why the new BDK-DAT platform?

For one thing, it hopes to take business away from these competitors by selling trustworthiness. Hermann Frohnhaus, managing director of BDK, stressed that BDK Ankaufversprechen supports a process that is fair, serious and transparent.

This is clearly a swipe at these sites above, which have been criticized in the German press for unfair practices, such as, providing high estimated values online, and then offering a considerably lower purchase price once the seller is at the dealership.

Another hope is that the BDK platform will drive more users to ZDK member dealerships in an age of shrinking customer loyalty, and increasing competition from online auto marketplaces.

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Kate Rodriguez

Kate Rodriguez covers the German market for AIM Group. She is a freelance business writer with an extensive background in public policy, business consulting and marketing. Originally from the U.S., Kate is now based in Munich.