Technology like everywhere has also taken hold of Pakistan’s second-hand car market which is going through immense transformational phase owing to the technological advancement by upgrading the standards for almost most of the investors.
Traditionally, the non-commercial, second-hand vehicle market was operated by the end users, mechanics or auto car dealers and the only choice of buying or selling a vehicle was either via market visits or advertisements.
But, with the advent of technology people have found new options of a nearly free mode of advertisement on various websites and online platforms but such options do not guarantee hassle-free, smooth and fast transaction.
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Frontier Car Group (FCG)—a Berlin-based start-up, started its business in emerging markets of the world and Pakistan was its foremost choice.
FCG—which is operational in Pakistan by the name of Carfirst creates, introduces and operates second-hand automobile markets, by raising the efficiency of transactions via technology, infrastructure and a creative business model that permits all stakeholders to gain.
Gouher Aftab—Head of the Partnerships—Carfirst said that the used-car market is a hypothetical industry where the buyers and sellers must display a lot of patience during deals and many a time the transactions end with no output.
Pakistan with 2.9 million cars on roads in 2016 displayed an enormous market in an unprofessional way. Aftab added that our motto is to streamline that market by adopting the best global procedures which save energy and time not just for the end users but also for the car dealers.
The business runs like this—initially a vehicle is purchased from a customer and then the vehicle is sold to a dealer in an auction, hence the business firm plays the role of a middleman. But, Carfirst also gives the offer to the client of immediate payment within forty-eight hours’ time and that too also via legal channels.
He added that in Pakistan twenty percent used car owners prefer immediate selling of their vehicle to save time and energy. He said at Carfirst we make it transparent which never occurred before in the vehicle industry. This was initially met with challenges from the market forces but now things are becoming smoother.
The company has inspection centres set up in all the major cities of Pakistan with plans of entering more cities like Multan and Gujranwala.
Aftab added that Carfirst provides better inspection of the car than any prevalent market force, but the firm has limitations, so it cannot offer a better price than the consumer. He assured that although we may not offer the best price, with us the transactions are quick, hassle-free and secure, without the need for document verification procedures and all.
The company then organizes an auction for the car dealers of the purchased cars six days a week via an app. The stock needs to be sold for maintaining the business cycle. He added that its just one year and many dealers and customers are using the platform. He said that in future Carfirst would hold auctions live as practised in modern economies.
According to Aftab, nearly thirty percent of the people prefer cash based dealings. However, the company is not practising this as it wants to channelize the automobile market via banking so that government departments would be aware of the size of the used-car market.
He added that the transaction via proper channels is a significant factor and if streamlined would attract insurance companies and banks to provide vehicles on loan—currently, these institutions are hesitant from making any such investment in the industry.