Carsome

  • Carsome Group appoints former AirAsia tech chief Vishnu Nambiar as CTO ahead of possible US listing

    Carsome Group, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, has announced the appointment of Vishnu Nambiar as chief technology officer (CTO). Nambiar, a former CTO at AirAsia, takes over from Chet Sin, who will now be Carsome’s chief architect to lead the design, implementation and governance of the company’s tech architecture.

    As CTO, Nambiar will drive Carsome’s next stage of transformation by leading the tech team and spearheading the strategy on deploying tech to address the automotive industry’s most pressing needs. His addition to Carsome’s executive management team will aid the company’s drive to become Southeast Asia’s most valuable digital automotive marketplace, the company said.

    Prior to joining Carsome, Nambiar led the technology function of AirAsia and the group IT function of the AirAsia Group. In the announcement, Carsome says that the seasoned tech exec rolled out multiple game-changing initiatives that ensured the sustainability of the low-cost airline during the Covid-19 pandemic, digitising the passenger experience while improving efficiency.

    Carsome co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng (right in the pic above, with fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee) said that Nambiar adds significant strength to the company’s growing executive leadership bench. “Vishnu’s experience in transforming business operations through technological innovations means he is perfectly placed to bring us to the next level as a technology-driven marketplace for all things automotive in the region,” he said.

    At Carsome, Nambiar’s role is to digitise the entire car ownership journey, while creating an integrated and engaging ecosystem. He is also empowered with providing greater trust and transparency for consumers and stakeholders through providing convenience and access to the right data, to help them make the best decisions along the automotive chain.

    “Carsome is at a pivotal point in its development, and the timing couldn’t be better for me to join. I’m seeking to build the best technology team in Asia at Carsome that will solve some of the biggest pain points in the used automotive industry. It’s full speed ahead for us as we reach toward these goals,” said Nambiar, who also had a stint at Lazada.

    Nambiar is the fourth C-suite executive management team appointment reporting to Cheng since 2020. The others are Piyush Palkar as chief data officer; Mei Han as CEO of Carsome Certified, Carsome’s business-to-consumer (B2C) arm; Benjamin Koellmann as COO and Juliet Zhu as CFO.

    Carsome is the market leader in the online used car buying and selling platform across Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. Founded in 2015 in Malaysia, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, expanded regionally into ASEAN, and is now looking at a US listing.

    It was recently reported that the deal, if it happens, would make Carsome Malaysia’s first unicorn, which is what the business world calls startups valued over US$1 billion (RM4.22 billion). It was said that Carsome is seeking a valuation of about US$2 billion (RM8.44 billion) in the US listing, which could be via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or a conventional initial public offering (IPO). The company could go public as soon as the end of 2021.

     
     
  • Carsome eyes US listing via SPAC – RM8.3b valuation would make used car platform Malaysia’s first unicorn

    What a meteoric rise it has been for Carsome. Founded in 2015, the Malaysian online used car platform has grown by leaps and bounds, expanded regionally into ASEAN, and is now looking at a US listing.

    The deal, if it happens, would make Carsome Malaysia’s first unicorn. Not the mythical creature, but unicorn is what the business world calls startups valued at over US$1 billion (RM4.14 billion). According to people with knowledge of the matter, reported by Bloomberg, Carsome is currently working with advisers and is seeking a valuation of about US$2 billion (RM8.3 billion) in a US listing.

    The listing could be via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or a conventional initial public offering (IPO), the sources said. The company could go public as early as the end of 2021, they added.

    Heard of SPAC in the news lately? That was probably Grab’s planned US$40 billion (RM165.9 billion) SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth Corp, a blank cheque company set up with the sole purpose of acquiring a business. Announced in April, the regional super app’s SPAC deal is set to complete in Q4 this year, a slight delay due to a review of its financials. For those who are unaware, while Grab was born in Malaysia, it’s now based in Singapore.

    The report’s sources say that Carsome is conducting a pre-IPO funding round that aims to raise about US$150 million (RM622 million). It’s not the only used car platform seeking fast growth though – Singapore-based rival Carro recent raised US$360 million (RM1.49 billion) to fund expansion in Thailand and Indonesia, with the ultimate goal of a US listing.

    Also not alone is Carsome’s SPAC merger plans. Grab aside, online companies in the region such as Indonesia’s Tiket.com and Singapore’s PropertyGuru are also planning to list in the US through mergers with blank cheque firms.

    The used car market is booming not only in Malaysia, but globally as well, and Carsome is riding the wave. The company, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, has of late expanded to Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

    As of April this year, Carsome reported annualised transactions of 100,000 cars totalling more than US$700 million (RM2.9 billion) in value. Penetration rate of the Southeast Asian used car market is almost 2%. “We are very encouraged by our growth. With greater ambition, we are on track to surpass the US$1 billion (RM4.14 billion) revenue mark by the end of 2021,” co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng (right in the pic above, with fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee) said then.

    It was only in August 2020 that Carsome launched its B2C online platform and flagship store, finally getting into the game of retailing used cars themselves instead of just passing on the cars to used car dealers. Its B2C business has a few unique selling points; among them are a 175-point inspection, one-year warranty and even a five-day money-back guarantee. More on Carsome’s B2C business here.

     
     
  • Carsome partners with Axiata’s Aspirasi to offer data-driven car dealer financing solutions – up to 80% loan

    Carsome has entered a partnership with Aspirasi, the micro-financing and micro-insurance provider under Axiata Digital, to offer data-backed digital financing solutions to used car dealers in Malaysia.

    Carsome, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, says that the collaboration aims to elevate the used car industry by providing hassle-free and seamless financing solutions to the dealers.

    The underwriting process – based on Carsome’s data in credit scoring, pricing and structured financing – requires minimal documentation which shortens approval and disbursement turnaround time. This eases the “pain points” of conventional underwriting processes, namely cumbersome documentation and a slower approval process.

    According to Eric Cheng, Carsome’s co-founder and group CEO (right in the pic above, with fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee), the financing solution empowers used car dealers through financial inclusion, and is estimated to benefit at least 2,500 of them on Carsome’s platform.

    “Aspirasi’s financing scheme, coupled with our data capabilities, will see the enhancement of used car dealers’ financing needs in a viable manner. We are confident that this will be the most convenient solution for dealers who want to expand their business with ease and speed through Carsome’s platform,” he said.

    Since 2019, Aspirasi has been providing digital financial support to micro-enterprises, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region. The collaboration with Carsome is an expansion of quick and easy digital financing solutions in the country. Dealers on Carsome’s platform are now eligible for up to 80% financing of the used car transaction value, with rates as low as 1% per month. This partnership is expected to enhance the growth potential of used car dealers’, and extend both Carsome’s and Aspirasi’s reach.

    Aspirasi joins Carsome’s other financing partners such as Funding Societies and CIMB Bank in offering various financing solutions to the car platform’s dealers, in line with Carsome’s efforts in creating an end-to-end integrated online used car ecosystem.

    Besides financing solutions, Carsome has invested more than RM10 million in Malaysia to help used car dealers through a variety of programmes, including the Dealer Alliance Support Program, Dealer Car Selling Program and Dealer VIP Program. Currently, the company is running the Dealer Reward Program, Sell & Win Kaw Kaw Program and Buy & Win Kaw Kaw Program for its used car partners.

    More on what the company is doing on the business-to-consumer (B2C) front here.

     
     
  • Carsome builds its brand via motorsports sponsorship

    Carsome, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest integrated car e-commerce platform, has announced its foray into motorsports sponsorship as part of brand-building. Carsome is now a very prominent sponsor of the B-Quik Absolute Racing Team Car #1, the Audi R8 LMS Evolution driven by Sandy Stuvik in the 2021 Thailand Super Series.

    Stuvik, the first Thai driver to win a Formula 3 championship and the reigning double champion of the Thailand Super Series GT3 Class, will also become Carsome’s partner in the Thai market.

    According to Carsome co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng (right in the pic below, pictured together with fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee), the company is evolving from just elevating the used car buying and selling experience to also building avenues that enhance its brand. It now wants to bring together a community that understands and shares the same ethos of solving industry pain points through technology, he says.

    “This partnership is a teaming up of champions to scale greater heights. As a leader in our industry, we want to work with similar-minded partners like B-Quik Absolute Racing Team and Sandy, both champions in their respective leagues, to expand our footprint as well as bring greater joy and value to people who matter to us. For Carsome, we pledge to bring cutting edge data applications and technologies to enrich and move people forward in the new norm through holistic mobility solutions,” Cheng added.

    Carsome declares that its larger ambition is to be a part of local communities in countries where it operates, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through sports. Motorsports is the most natural gateway for Carsome, given the industry it is in, and the company feels that the most fitting motorsports event in the region is the Thailand Super Series.

    “We are proud to stand by Thai people and celebrate local sporting events that bring people together. Our involvement in the Thailand Super Series is the first of several more to come in the region,” Cheng said.

    The sponsorship announcement comes as Carsome is officially expanding Carsome Certified, its business-to-consumer (B2C) arm, to Indonesia and Thailand. While there are already four Carsome Certified outlets known as Carsome Experience Centers in Malaysia, the flagship stores in Jakarta and Bangkok will be officiated this month.

    Carsome also received a couple of accolades in the first quarter of the year, namely the EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, SME & Entrepreneurs Business Award’s Technopreneur of the Year and Wild Digital’s BOOM21 Disruptors. It is also the only Malaysian company ranked in the Top 50 of the Nikkei-FT-Statista High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2021 list.

    On the financial front, the company recorded solid growth, transacting an annualised 100,000 cars totalling more than US$700 million (RM2.89 billion) in transacted value. This increases Carsome’s penetration rate of the Southeast Asian used car market to almost 2%, up from the previous 1.0-1.5%. “We are very encouraged by our growth. With greater ambition, we are on track to surpass the US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) revenue mark by the end of 2021,” a bullish Cheng added.

     
     
  • Carsome reaches 100,000 used car seller milestone

    Carsome, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest online used car trading platform, has reached another milestone, obtaining its 100,000th used car seller with the completion of a transaction in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week.

    Reaching its 100,000th seller – in its fifth year of business – is a defining moment for the company, and Carsome co-founder and CEO Eric Cheng said he was proud of the achievement and in the faith customers have shown in the company, which has grown from a team of five employees to a 1,000-strong workforce across more than 50 cities in five countries.

    He said that the milestone did not come easy. “One of the biggest challenges in our early days was getting people to trust and use the then new-in-market service. We started building trust by establishing a transparent and hassle-free used car-selling process,” he said.

    Over time, things began to gain traction. Last year, Carsome racked up 40,000 cars worth RM1.2 billion, handled across the region. Besides Malaysia, which contributes up to 65% of its business, the company operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

    “We have changed the way customers sell their cars. Our next step will be introducing a new way of buying used cars across the region after a successful launch in Malaysia three months ago. With customers’ continued support and confidence in our quality service, we are committed to continuously building Carsome into the most trusted brand. This will ensure that our customers continue enjoying the best experience, be it car-buying or car-selling,” he added.

    Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been plenty of growth this year for the company on the local front. In August, it launched its own B2C online platform and flagship store (at Parklane Commercial Hub in Kelana Jaya) as well as the setting up of official stores selling used cars on Shopee and Lazada.

    Its entry into the retail space also saw the introduction of Carsome Promise, a programme that offers a one-year extended warranty (provided by Allianz Partners Malaysia), a five-day money-back guarantee and a Carsome Certified vehicle that has undergone a 175-point inspection.

    The company also launched several tech products this year for its partners, namely the CARpartner and CARdealer (previously known as CarsomeGO) mobile apps to improve process and workflow efficiencies. Cheng said that Carsome will continue to invest in the digitalisation and upgrading of its products to enhance the speed and convenience of car transactions.

    The company is also opening more retail centres across the region, bringing the new way of buying and selling cars in the automotive industry to more cities in Southeast Asia. Carsome will also be venturing into the technical education sector in the coming months, with the aim of upskilling the technical workforce through accreditation.

     
     
  • Carsome teams up with Allianz for extended warranty

    Carsome, which bills itself as Southeast Asia’s largest online used car trading platform, has announced that it will provide extra assurance for its customers via a one-year warranty programme provided by Allianz Partners Malaysia.

    The warranty programme, a main feature of “The New Way of Buying Cars” recently launched by Carsome, consists of two different packages. The Carsome Gold Plan covers the engine, transmission and air con system; while the Carsome Platinum Plan covers includes the fuel system, steering and cooling system, in addition to roadside assistance by Allianz.

    The extended warranty is part of the Carsome Promise package, which also offers Carsome car buyers a Carsome Certified car and a five-day money-back guarantee. Carsome Certified means that cars have passed its 175-point inspection, have not been in major accidents and do not have structural or flood damage.

    Money-back guarantee for a used car? Yes, if you’re somehow not happy with your new purchase, you can swap to another car or get your money back within the five-day period. The example given by Carsome co-founder and CEO Eric Cheng (right in pic above) is of an avid golfer unable to fit his equipment in the new car’s boot. Yes, it can be as “trivial” as that.

    Cheng explained that many used car buyers are worried about potential post-purchase problems. “Carsome’s car purchase preference survey showed that 60% of car buyers appreciate an extended warranty. As such, our partnership with Allianz in offering the one-year warranty definitely gives the best value proposition and peace of mind to buyers,” he said.

    As part of the partnership, a dedicated team at Allianz Partners Malaysia will handle all the operational aspects of the programme, including the delivery of an online motor warranty processing system as well as customer service helplines to handle enquiries about coverage, programme info and full end-to-end customer service delivery.

    The warranty programme includes 24-hour claims and flexibility for the customer to select from a list of workshops nationwide.

    To recap, in August, Carsome launched its B2C online platform. After a couple of years of buying used cars and moving them on to car dealers, Carsome has now got into the game of retailing used cars themselves, via a new online marketplace and flagship store.

    One can browse Carsome’s range on its website, with all listings furnished with 360-degree views of the exterior and interior, and a list of the imperfections with the reconditioned report. Also, one big hassle of used car buying is removed here – there’s no price negotiation needed, because what you see online is the final all-inclusive OTR price.

    Carsome’s online platform is open to its used car dealer partners as well – for these listings, one deals direct with the dealer, and they do not come with the one-year warranty and money-back guarantee. If a car catches your eye, you can book an appointment online and proceed to test drive at the Carsome Experience Center located at Parklane Commercial Hub in Kelana Jaya. More on the whole process here.

     
     
  • Carsome launches store selling used cars on Shopee

    Fresh from launching its B2C online marketplace and flagship store, Carsome now has an official store selling used cars on Shopee. We’ve seen OEMs selling new cars and merchandise on the e-commerce platform before, but this is the first time anyone is selling used cars there.

    What this means is that consumers can now browse and purchase a selection of used cars on Shopee. All the cars listed in Carsome’s official store on Shopee come with full specification and photos in various angles. Most importantly, the cars are Carsome Certified, which means that they come with a one-year warranty and a five-day money back guarantee – that’s right, a money back guarantee, which you can read in full here.

    Carsome Certified cars have gone through the company’s 175-point inspection, the same one it uses when purchasing your car for resale. This ensures that the cars have not been in major accidents, and do not have structural or flood damage.

    “We are proud to work with Shopee, who have been very supportive in our endeavour to reshape and elevate the used car buying experience through digitalisation,” said Carsome co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng.

    “The launch of Carsome’s store on Shopee is also just in time for our upcoming 10.10 Shopee Brands Festival. Carsome will gain exposure from the increased customer traffic to the platform and by leveraging it, bring about the awareness that users can now experience a new way of shopping for quality used cars,” said Ian Ho, Shopee’s regional MD.

    Here’s an opening promo. Shopee users can purchase a RM500 cash voucher at a promotional price of RM199, and use it to pay downpayment for selected cars.

    Those who purchase a car on Shopee will also get free merchandise for test drives, a RM500 discount for those who have previously sold their cars to Carsome, and a referral scheme with combined cash rewards of RM800. A simple search for “Carsome” on Shopee should take you to the official store.

    We caught up with Cheng and fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee last month and found the startup to be in very good health. Last year was Carsome’s best ever year with 40,000 cars worth RM1.2 billion handled across the region – besides Malaysia, Carsome operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

    Now, one would be forgiven for thinking that Covid-19 has dampened prospects for the company, but it is actually well on track to double 2019’s 40k total this year. That bullish stance is in-line with the big boom the used car sector is currently enjoying. Click on the links to read more and also check out our used car buying guide.

     
     
  • Carsome launches B2C online platform, flagship store – used car dealer with 5-day money-back guarantee

    Many would be familiar with the Carsome name. Perhaps you’ve even sold your car to the company, or via them before. After a couple of years of buying used cars and moving them on to dealers, Carsome is now getting into the game of retailing used cars themselves, via a new online marketplace and flagship store.

    And there’s no better time to go B2C. Last month, Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said that the used car sector is currently doing “roaring business”, recording over 100% year-on-year growth in the first half of 2020. This boost in demand for used cars is partly down to people wanting their personal set of wheels in the era of Covid-19.

    There are many good deals to be had in the used car arena, but as we’ve pointed out in our recent used car buying guide, it’s a minefield for those who aren’t familiar with the nuts and bolts of cars. Even for those who are more informed, the sheer amount of choice and the areas to inspect can be daunting. And there’s also the issue of trust when it comes to dealers.

    Carsome co-founder and CEO Eric Cheng says that many used car buyers are worried about car quality and potential post-purchase problems, and Carsome’s new venture is to address these issues.

    “Our Car Purchase Preference Survey shows that consumers appreciate features like extended warranty, test drive and money-back guarantee when it comes to buying used cars. The Carsome Promise and our carefully curated selection of Carsome Certified cars offer customers peace of mind when getting a pre-owned car,” he said.

    While that sounds like a pipe dream, especially the money-back guarantee part, that’s exactly what Carsome is offering with the cars it sells – a five-day money-back guarantee. Somehow not happy with your new purchase? Swap to another car or get your money back within the five-day period. Cheng’s example is of an avid golfer unable to fit his equipment in the new car’s boot.

    Besides the novel guarantee, the other elements in the Carsome Promise package are a one-year warranty and the passing of Carsome’s 175-point inspection, the same one it uses when purchasing your car for resale. That’s called “Carsome Certified”, and it also means that cars have not been in major accidents, and do not have structural or flood damage. Acknowledging that no car is perfect, images of minor flaws will be shared in listings.

    One can browse Carsome’s range on its website, with all listings furnished with 360-degree views of the exterior and interior, and a list of the imperfections with the reconditioned report. Also, one big hassle of used car buying is removed here – there’s no price negotiation needed, because the price you see on the site is the final all-inclusive OTR price, so there’s no need to ask for a discount.

    Carsome’s online platform is open to its used car dealer partners as well – for these listings, one deals direct with the dealer. These ads are tagged “Carsome Certified”; while they have been inspected by Carsome, they do not come with the above-mentioned one-year warranty and money-back guarantee.

    If a car catches your eye, you can book an appointment online and proceed to test drive at the Carsome Experience Center. The flagship store at Parklane Commercial Hub in Kelana Jaya started operations earlier this month and was officially opened today. Except for the car you’re scheduled to test drive, there will be no other cars at the “showroom”, which is filled with couches and iPads. The new outlet is next to an inspection centre.

    Besides its own property, Carsome has also set up official stores on Shopee and Lazada. There are some ongoing launch promos such as free merchandise for test drives, a RM500 discount for those who have previously sold their cars to Carsome, and a referral scheme with combined cash rewards of RM800.

    We caught up with Cheng (right in the pic above) and fellow co-founder Teoh Jiun Ee after the outlet’s opening ceremony and found the startup to be in good health. Last year was Carsome’s best ever year with 40,000 cars worth RM1.2 billion handled across the region – besides Malaysia (which contributes up to 65% of Carsome’s business), it operates in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

    One would think that Covid-19 has dampened prospects for the company, but it is well on track to double the 40k total this year. A new business (new logo too, by the way) in the midst of Covid? “The timing couldn’t be better,” Cheng said. Check out our used car buying guide here.

     
     
 
 
 

Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM2.05 (0.00)
RON 97 RM3.95 (0.00)
RON 100 RM4.70
VPR RM5.70
DIESEL
EURO 5 B10 RM2.15 (0.00)
EURO 5 B7 RM2.35 (0.00)
Last Updated 24 Nov 2022