Cars.com acquires Accu-Trade Group and enters the digital wholesale space

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CARY, North Carolina –

With a massive acquisition announced on Tuesday, Cars.com will enter the realm of digital remarketing and wholesale vehicle acquisition, as well as the consumer peer-to-peer marketplace.

Cars.com has agreed to buy the Accu-Trade Group which includes Accu-Trade, Galves Market Data and MADE Logistics for $65 million in cash.

The purchase would also potentially include more cash and stock consideration based on financial thresholds. The company expects the deal to close in around 30 days.

Among other benefits, the purchase gives CARS the technology to facilitate digital wholesale transactions on its platform.

“We are excited to enter the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar digital vehicle acquisition and remarketing category with Accu-Trade’s best-in-class valuation and valuation technology,” said the Managing Director. of CARS, Alex Vetter, in a press release.

“These solutions will improve inventory management and maximize dealer profits while introducing a more efficient option for buying and selling wholesale inventory at scale,” Vetter said.

“We will also empower millions of consumers to confidently and securely sell their vehicles online to the best buyer,” he said. “This acquisition is a further acceleration of our platform strategy and will fuel our end-to-end transaction capabilities for buyers and sellers as well as CARS’ long-term growth.”

Dealers will be able to use the CARS platform to buy and sell inventory at scale through a dealer-to-dealer network and a consumer-to-dealer network. They will also be able to access instant guaranteed offer solutions across CARS properties, including the Cars.com Marketplace and on websites powered by Dealer Inspire.

Dealers will also be able to source used inventory from consumers through the CARS platform via Accu-Trade’s proprietary VIN-specific grading and grading technology.

CARS plans to launch “self-sell” capabilities for consumers in its marketplace, where private sellers can choose to sell to another consumer or to a dealership. CARS expects the technology to be integrated into the platform shortly after closing.

North American wholesaler and automotive software entrepreneur Robert Hollenshead founded Accu-Trade in 2015. Accu-Trade Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zamora will join the CARS leadership team.

“CARS’ strong consumer audience and exceptional network of dealer customers, combined with its proven track record of delivering digital solutions, make it the perfect partner to drive wider adoption of the Accu-Trade platform,” Zamora said in a press release.

“As dealerships look for new solutions to optimize inventory and further increase the profitability of their business, we believe we can quickly scale these assets across the entire CARS dealership network. On behalf of the entire Accu-Trade team, we look forward to joining the CARS family to help accelerate innovative digital solutions for the automotive retail space.

CARS’ expansion into the digital remarketing, wholesale acquisition and private party segments would continue what has been a broad expansion of the company’s services in recent years. Cars.com has grown from the vehicle listing/market arena to the dealer rating and review space, dealer websites, digital retail, fintech and beyond

The company expanded into the dealer ratings and review space in the summer of 2016 with the acquisition of DealerRater.

Then in February 2018, Cars.com. announced it was buying Dealer Inspire – which specializes in dealership websites, digital retail and messaging platform products – and Launch Digital Marketing, which provides digital automotive marketing services.

In November, Cars.com signed a definitive agreement to buy CreditIQ, a fintech platform that provides instant online auto finance verification and approvals to facilitate the purchase of vehicles online.

The Cars.com purchase also follows the entry of another major industry player into the online wholesale space.

Just last week, CDK Global announced the launch of an online wholesale marketplace called CDK CarSource, designed to connect dealers to used car inventories from other dealerships across the country.

CarGurus, which traditionally competes in the same market space as Cars.com, moved into wholesale with its purchase of CarOffer, a deal that closed in early 2021.

Incumbents like Cox Automotive – which owns Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, rivals to Cars.com and CarGurus – as well as KAR Global and Auction Edge are well entrenched in the online wholesale space.

And ACV and EBlock, once upstarts, are now publicly traded and making their own acquisitions.

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