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Innovations for consumers’ peace of mind in online used car purchases

Ardy Alam
Ardy Alam

Chief executive officer of Garasi.id

Jakarta  /  Thu, March 12, 2020  /  08:37 am
Innovations for consumers’ peace of mind in online used car purchases

Illustration of cars for sale (Shutterstock/Mikbiz)

New vehicle prices and loan payments have been rising steadily for the last five years and show no sign of retreating. According to California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price is now at $36,692, with monthly loan payments averaging $548. This is due in part to the ongoing market shifting away from sedans to costlier sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, and a growing number of buyers across the board who are willing to pay more for added comfort, convenience and safety features.

Many people, both young and older, dream about owning a car. To get their first car, often they have to save a significant amount of their hard-earned salary to make their first car’s down payment. While a car is a depreciating asset, it is still considered as one of the primary investments to fulfil the entire family's transportation needs.

Both offline (car dealers) and online automotive e-commerce work together with financing companies to enable buyers to simulate their car payments. Some simply offer loan calculators, while others go beyond by offering pre-qualification of credit. By using technology, potential buyers can submit their preliminary information to the finance company so the institution can perform the pre-qualification process. That “lightning-quick credit/instant pre-approval” will ease the number one question that potential car buyers have in mind: “Will I get my loan application approved for my dream car?”

Online automotive e-commerce with these kinds of features will help shift the paradigm from “I am nervous when I want to buy my dream car because I don’t know whether anyone will give me a reasonable loan” to “I am more confident to shop for my dream car because that financing institution will have advised me on my creditworthiness”.

The next journey for a potential car buyer is to determine whether he or she wants to buy a new or used car. There’s an aura of uncertainty in buying used cars, as in Indonesia, vehicle history is not readily available. One can guess the history of the car from maintenance receipts, but again, not all car owners are impeccable in keeping those records.

Some automotive e-commerce is in the business of disrupting the used car market by offering value-added services such as inspection and extended warranty.

Inspection can be ordered with a nominal fee that will allow potential buyers to receive information about the cars’ conditions at the time of inspection. These services will highlight not only the “niceness” of that particular used car but also the “not so nice” parts. For example, scratches, mechanical imperfection, tire wear and so on. These time-saving offerings will be advantageous and make the process more convenient.

To disrupt the industry, even more, one particular automotive e-commerce site offers one year extended warranty for the engine, electrical and suspension, as long as the car passes the aforementioned inspection. Having this will alleviate the fear of purchasing a used car and provide buyers peace of mind. (wng)

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Ardy Alam is the chief executive officer of Garasi.id, an automotive vertical-marketplace startup focusing on used cars. He is an automotive enthusiast with a mission to create a simple and transparent ecosystem-based platform for used cars sales and services in Indonesia.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.