Interview: Abhinav Gupta, CEO – Gulf region at Cars24
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Interview: Abhinav Gupta, CEO – Gulf region at Cars24

Interview: Abhinav Gupta, CEO – Gulf region at Cars24

Reports suggest that the UAE ranks eighth globally for readiness in the electric vehicles market and is expected to grow 30 per cent annually until 2028

Divsha Bhat

Tell us about Cars24 and how is it different from other dealers in the UAE? How do you stay up to date with the new car release and models?

We started our operations almost a decade ago in India and launched our first international hub in the UAE in 2021. We are currently operating in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia.

We understand the importance of being digitally forward, which is why our business model, strategy and innovation is tech-driven. This has allowed us to go above and beyond just physical interaction with Cars24 customers and capture valuable data at every point of the consumer’s car-buying journey and helps us be in line with current and upcoming new car trends.

The first point in our customer journey is through our website and through our data-backed search and discover option, we can identify and understand buying patterns and preferences for our wide variety of customers, including their inclination towards latest car models.

The pre-owned car market is competitive but cluttered and we assessed that there was a big gap in the region for a brand that operated as a one-stop shop for customers.

With trust, service and quality being imperative, we created our ethos around these crucial drivers, not just in the time of buying or selling but through the entire journey of the ownership. Our mega refurbishment hub in Jebel Ali is a testament to these values and it is the hub where each of our cars goes through a 150-point inspection with strong emphasis on quality.

Holding up to 2,000 cars at any given time, customers purchasing with Cars24 can not only extend their warranty up to two years but can also avail value added services such as coating and tinting and find best interest rates for easy loans, all under one roof.

How has the pre-owned car market evolved over the past few years, and what are the emerging trends that you have seen in terms of models and features that customers are looking for?

Traditionally, buying a car was an experience which required customers to visit the showroom and speak with multiple dealers. Today, the digital disruption of the used car industry has given rise to customers who are technologically savvy and want to access the entire car-buying journey at the click of a button. They are looking for a seamless customer experience, starting from the time they visit the website or app until they purchase their vehicle and beyond.

In the UAE alone, there are 9.75 million social media users above 18, which is an indication of how active the online market is in the region. These statistics along with our customer insight have allowed us to understand the changing preferences in the region and stay in tune with the trends.

One of the latest trends that customers are particularly gravitating towards is electric vehicles and smart options such as Apple car play, rear parking camera, and lane assistance.

Other emerging trends that we have seen is a clear growth in female car buyers which is correlated to the digitisation of the car buying process. Consumers are also shifting from sedans to SUVs, with 50 per cent of the purchased cars in the 50-100,000 segment.

What kind of inspection process do you have in place to ensure the quality and reliability of your pre-owned vehicles?

Cars24 ’s Mega Refurbishment Lab which operates on a 1,000,000 sq. ft space, serves as the hub where all our cars are inspected and serviced for sale. Transparency is key for us and so when a customer is in the process of finalising their preferred car, we provide a list of documents that will help you make an informed decision.

Each of our cars goes through a detailed 150-point inspection by our auto experts followed by other comprehensive tests as per RTA standards. These reports are readily available for each buyer along with details about car specification and other points such as engine type, kilometers driven and drive type.

We ensure that our customers never feel like they must sacrifice quality when purchasing a pre-owned car, which is why all our vehicles are serviced in our lab.

With 70 bays and five high-end Italian paint booths, the refurbishment process is further enhanced using artificial intelligence and data science to give customers efficient delivery standards.

How is your platform adapting to cater to the needs and preferences of customers who are interested in purchasing pre-owned eco-friendly cars?

Reports suggest that the UAE ranks eighth globally for readiness in the electric vehicles (EV) market and is expected to grow 30 per cent annually until 2028. These statistics showcase a huge opportunity for the pre-owned car market and Cars24 is all set to provide full stack solutions to our customers, from procurement to refurbishment.

There have been an increasing number of inquiries of electric cars and with the EV market constantly evolving, our aim is to develop in-house expertise through our market analysis that will help us cater to the growing demands of the region and hold a significant position in buying, selling and servicing electric cars.

As it’s an online platform, can buyers physically see the car or test drive it before going ahead with the purchase?

Our model allows customers to view the car online or at our test drive hub. For customers opting to take a test drive from the comfort of their home, the delivery can be booked through the Cars24 app to their preferred location.

Customers looking to visit the showroom can physically see and choose pre-owned cars and can test-drive up to five cars in one day.

In addition, both online and offline customers can avail a seven-day return policy, so if a customer does not feel like they have made the right choice, they can return it within seven days and get the full refund of the car.

Do you have plans to expand operations in the region?

According to market analysts, the GCC used car sector is expected to surpass a net valuation of $28.98bn by the end of 2027. This growth coupled with factors like the pandemic and the turmoil in vehicle production due to disruptions in supply chain makes this an opportune time to expand regional operations.

We want to continue to transform the business of pre-owned cars and so our aim is to invest $100m in the GCC region to expand our presence and become the largest tech enabler in the pre-owned car industry.

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