Feb 20, 2012

Car trading websites excite buyers

USED car trading websites that have opened in the past month could be endangering a proud feature of the market – the broker – a number of businessmen and dealers said last week.
The flood of newer vehicles that have entered the market since the overage car import substitution plan was unveiled in September has prompted an unheralded increase in trading and brokers have been found wanting say some buyers.
“Before I discovered some car trading websites, I had to rely on brokers and had to regularly telephone them to make single appointments to look at cars with buyers or sellers and then negotiate pricing,” said U Aung Min Moe a 34-year-old car broker in Yangon.
He said the most important things for buyers were visual inspections and description, which were easier and faster to check online through sites such as www.myanmarcarsdb.com and www.omphwa.com.
“I’ve sometimes found that the descriptions provided by brokers were seriously inaccurate, sometimes they even gave the wrong colour for the vehicle,” he said.
He added that other problems included exorbitant brokerage fees, which saw deals fall through.
But the creation of dedicated websites meant that buyers and sellers no longer needed brokers and could find prices and descriptions transparently, all from the comfort of a computer desk, he said.
He added that savvy brokers would also use the websites to buy and sell cars as well.
U Khin Win, who runs an import and export business in Latha township, said the new websites offered a way for consumers to eliminate the middlemen.
“The availability of car trading websites has made life much more convenient for buyers and sellers, and it means that people don’t have to go through brokers anymore,” he said.
He added that car brokering zones, such as Hantharwaddy in Yangon, were frustrating places for buyers.
“If you wanted to buy a car and went to somewhere like Hantharwaddy you couldn’t just go up and ask the prices of the cars, even if they were right there,” he said. “Instead, you had to approach brokers and ask them, which could take a long time,” said U Khin Win.
But the car import substitution program gave many car buyers their first taste of online buying because they had to go through online car auction sites to find what they wanted.
A spokesperson for myanmarcarsdb website said it had received more than 10,000 unique visitors since it was launched on January 4, with more than 328,000 views. He added that by the second week of February the site had 420 registered users and 180 advertisements.
“About 40 cars had been sold by advertisers by the second week of February,” he said.
He said the website had been created to provide users with a more convenient way of trading cars.
“We hope to encourage people to use the internet to buy and sell cars here because it’s common elsewhere,” he said.
“In the near future, many car dealers and showrooms will be established all over the country. And these companies will still need these brokers or agents to work for them. For instance car showrooms would hire such people as salespeople because they have much experience in selling cars,” the spokesperson said.
“And the process of buying and selling cars will be different from now ... and they will have to adapt to the new process of buying and selling cars,” he added.
Sanchaung township-based car broker U Chit Shwe said the arrival of the Myanmar-language car trading websites would likely curtail the amount of business brokers received.
“The more attention and sales the websites receive, the less there is for brokers to handle,” he said. “But there are many car owners and buyers, especially older people, who have no experience using the internet and who will continue to rely on brokers.
“And the people who would like to change or substitute their cars, many of them will also go to brokers because we have more information and know the market better.”

Source: Myanmar Times


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