Cinch, an auto classifieds site launched in the U.K. in 2019 and operated by vehicle remarking company BCA Marketplace, has pivoted to a new business model that may give it an edge in the market.
Originally, Cinch was launched as a fairly standard auto marketplace focused on high-quality used vehicles (not older than seven years). Now, the marketplace intends to be a quality used-car marketplace while also holding vehicle stock itself. In other words, the company is becoming a hybrid between a digital dealer and a marketplace business, akin to a mixture of AutoTrader.co.uk and Cazoo.
This business model, the only one of its kind in the U.K. at present, will demonstrate how successfully a pivot can be made from a c-to-b and b-to-b business to a c-to-b-to-c framework.
The site has 4,150 cars for sale today, almost 1,000 more vehicles than its well-financed competitor Cazoo. Cinch said it plans to have 70,000 cars for sale within a year. Like Cazoo, Cinch offers free home delivery and a 14-day moneyback guarantee. Vehicles are inspected at BCA’s facility and receive a 225-point inspection before being sold. Buyers can apply for finance and trade-ins during the purchase.
In addition to BCA’s own vehicles, Cinch also sells cars from approved dealerships. BCA said this will help dealers provide a way of buying that customers want and can help reduce costs.
“The digitization of auto sales has really accelerated in the past six months. The market has to modernize,” said Cinch’s chairwoman, Avril Palmer-Baunack, in an interview with the Sunday Times.
BCA Marketplace, which is part of the same group as Webuyanycar.com, is owned by private equity group TDR Capital. The firm bought BCA in a £1.9 billion acquisition in September 2019. It recently launched a ‘click-and-collect’ service for its growing online auction sales business which features live auction bidding.