AMSTERDAM — Speaking to AIM Group principal Jonathan Turpin, James Wilson, COO of U.K.-based c-to-b used car marketplace Motorway, discussed some of the innovations that the company has brought to the market, particularly its use of machine learning to ensure image quality and its Motorway Pay payment solution. 

Wilson said that Motorway was taking market share from dealer part-exchange: “1,000s of dealers competing to buy your car … gets you [the seller] a better price.” 

However, he denied this made the company a competitor to dealers, as “Dealers often don’t want part-exchanges; we’ve matched support and demand more efficiently … Dealers love the quality of stock they’re getting.” 

For its initial valuation of a vehicle, Motorway requires sellers to take 16 standardized photos. 

“Previously, we would check them manually; they would have to be re-taken,” he said. 

“Two years ago, we started to use machine learning to QC [quality control] photos in real-time,” he added, noting that this was “hard to get right” but “an absolute game changer.” 

Wilson said that Motorway’s frontline teams captured feedback and that it had created mechanisms for them to work directly with product and engineering teams to improve the feature. 

Regarding Motorway Pay, Wilson said it provided instant payment to sellers and finance houses, saving dealers time. To date, £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion U.S.) in payments had been made using this system, he added. He noted that dealer take-up of this solution was 30-40%. 

Asked about the company’s financial health, Wilson said that Motorway “was focused on core operations to build a sustainable business for the long-term.”

He discussed the investments it had made in brand marketing and engineering in 2022, which had driven a negative margin. However, the company saw profitability improve in 2023 and expects further gains in 2024, supported by investments in areas such as AI. Motorway’s focus is on continuing to grow and delivering profitability.

Wilson was speaking on the first day of the AIM Group’s AutosBuzz conference.

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