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Leading South African auto vertical AutoTrader has become the first local vehicle classified to allow consumers to search for vehicles based on VIN data.

CEO George Mienie has been working on this project for more than five years. He’s often said that the lack of data available to consumers has been holding the local motoring industry back. “The South African motor industry is among some of the industries that have been crippled by unstructured and incomplete data sets, having suffered from the ineffective collection and use of VIN data since inception,” the company said in a statement.

The new VIN database captures vehicle data right down to a car’s features. “If a car’s features have not been captured accurately, sellers can find themselves selling higher spec’d vehicles with specialized features, at base level prices,” Mienie explained. Consumers previously had to waste time clicking through multiple ads to find the car they were looking for. “The reality is the high variation in both variant and feature level data across makes and models, which produced unnecessarily complicated search results.”

To create the database, AutoTrader’s team cleaned and captured more than 4 million data points for more than 11 million vehicles. “AutoTrader now has a vehicle taxonomy database that not only solves their search problem but, when paired with other data sources, can also provide influential market information to their dealers,” the company said.

AutoTrader’s dealer product AutoFuzion is already using this database for live market valuations. “By combining the vehicle taxonomy data with other critical information like transactional valuation data, retail price data and market supply and demand data, AutoTrader is uniquely positioned and provides accurate, live market information to its customers,” Meinie noted.

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