[Written in partnership with Caricarz, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]

Suppose you are looking to buy a used car in Malaysia. What is the first site that comes to mind?

If you’re like most of us at Vulcan Post, you think of Mudah, Carsome or Carlist. Nick Leong knows this, and as the co-founder of Caricarz, a new Malaysian vehicle exchange platform, building brand awareness is a huge speed bump (but more on that later).

Generally speaking, the experience of buying used cars in Malaysia is a tedious process, filled with skepticism from customers due to unreliable sellers.

This is a common problem that car trading platforms address, and so does Caricarz, which assures its buyers that its dealerships are legit based on a rigorous verification process.

But what differentiates Caricarz from the platforms mentioned above is its focus on supporting and helping traditional car dealerships.

Double car dealerships

Traditionally, dealerships obtain used cars from customers who walk into their stores to trade in or sell their used cars.

But the rise of online vehicle trading platforms in Malaysia has disrupted these practices, and car dealerships have suffered as most platforms abandoned them in the process.

Dealerships also lack the database and access to find people who want to sell their cars.

One of the dealers Caricarz works with / Image credit: Caricarz

This leaves them with few options to find and sell good quality used cars in the market. Some may even resort to buying the used cars listed on other platforms at an affordable price and then reselling them at a higher price to make a profit.

Therefore, Caricarz’s goal is to help traditional car dealers find used cars for sale, by creating a platform where potential sellers, dealers and customers can be connected.

There is also a feature in their portal where dealers can transact with other dealers, which means they can trade or exchange the car models they have.

Another thing to note about the startup is that they don’t actually have a warehouse to store all of the used cars listed on their site. Instead, all cars are kept in each individual dealership’s stores, and Caricarz is essentially just the middleman for those dealerships. “Kind of like Shopee,” Nick said.

Turn to traditional methods

To get Caricarz in people’s minds, the team chose to go the route of mass marketing like billboards and radio ads.

This approach struck me as rather unusual, as we are in the digital age where most eyes are glued to the screens of their devices. On top of that, Caricarz is a digital platform after all, where a simple hyperlink from an ad to the platform can even boost site traffic.

Nick justified that these traditional methods were preferred over digital social media ads, as the latter would only be seen by a niche audience. These audiences would primarily include those who were already looking for methods to buy or sell used cars.

The billboard installed on the North-South highway / Image credit: Caricarz

Caricarz’s goal was to make sure the general public knew its name so that the platform would be a go-to option when Malaysians think of sites to buy and sell their used cars. And to achieve this, the team thought billboards and radio ads that target the masses were their best strategy.

Nick also believes that traditional advertising methods have a higher customer retention rate, unlike digital ads which can be seen today and forgotten tomorrow.

Arguably, Caricarz’s methods have worked, as the brand has grown rapidly since its launch in November 2020. To date, Caricarz has 1 million page views per month, with approximately 3,300 resellers and 20,000 registered users. on its platform. The site has also achieved a sales growth rate of at least 20% month over month.

Insurance is key

Besides growing the platform’s user base, Caricarz has also gained the trust of 47 private investors, who funded a total of RM3 million through pitchIN in December 2021.

The funds were intended to fuel the company’s expansion plans, including the launch of the platform’s Premier Selection category.

Intended to assure interested buyers that the cars listed are in good condition, Premier Selection cars have undergone a 100-point inspection against major damage caused by accidents, floods and fires.

The Caricarz platform at a glance

In the event that any damage is found after purchase, Caricarz offers a 5 day money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty period.

Nick hopes the Premier Selection range of cars can grow in the market, targeting buyers who want to buy used cars with minimal hassle.

While what Caricarz is trying to do borrows elements from existing solutions on the market, it’s worth providing a solution for those in the market who have been somewhat left behind.

Although they intend to help traditional resellers, they should also ensure that they are able to offer a unique proposition to customers to maintain demand.

  • Learn more about Caricarz here.
  • Check out other Malaysian startups we’ve featured here.

Featured Image Credit: The Caricarz Team

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