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Irish internet entrepreneurs swap Expedia for used cars

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Irish entrepreneurs Dermot Halpin and Mark Brophy have reunited at Autoquake.com, the UK’s largest online used car retailer, from internet travel incumbent Expedia, Inc. to transform the way consumers buy cars.

Mark joined Autoquake at the start of June as the new VP Ecommerce, following fellow Dubliner Dermot who has been Autoquake’s CEO since November last year.

“I’m delighted to welcome Mark to the Autoquake team. We’re both looking forward to developing Autoquake’s ecommerce platform to help more UK and Irish consumers buy cars online. Ten percent of our customer base is already from Ireland and we have a dedicated Irish page [www.autoquake.com/ireland] to help Irish buyers purchase used cars remotely and import them from the UK. Even with the VRT and import expenses, Irish customers can expect savings of several thousands of Euros,” said Dermot.

Whilst at Expedia Dermot had overall responsibility for Expedia Europe, which included the Expedia, Hotels.com and Expedia Private Label businesses. In 2008 Expedia Europe grew to over €3 billion in sales.

Mark was previously Senior Director of Ecommerce at Venere.com in Rome and prior to that he was the driving force behind the evolution of the Hotels.com website. Commenting on his new role, Mark said: “The automotive industry is in the early stages of developing and integrating effective ecommerce offerings. It’s an exciting time to work in this vertical where it’s possible to become the market leader in the UK and Ireland, setting the standards which consumers will come to expect over the next few years.”

Autoquake has also announced the appointment of Alan Burns as CFO and Karl Marriott as VP for Customer Contact and Car Operations. Like Dermot and existing Autoquake CTO, Troy Kaser, all three new management appointments share a background at Expedia Europe, the largest online travel company in the world.

“At Expedia we pioneered making travel products available to online consumers in an easy and transparent way. We built one of the biggest travel companies in the world by helping consumers find the right flights and hotels at lower prices,” said Dermot.

“Autoquake is using the internet to revolutionise the used car market, just as Expedia did for travel. The company enables consumers to buy low priced used cars from a trusted retailer in the comfort of their own homes.”

 

About Autoquake.com

Autoquake.com’s proven online retail model sells high quality used cars to consumers through its website www.autoquake.com. The well maintained ex-company cars are prepared to retail condition and sold via the Autoquake.com ecommerce platform. The company is funded by leading venture capital companies Accel Partners and Highland Capital Partners who are investors in companies such as Facebook, Digg and Real Networks.

Key Autoquake facts:

  • Autoquake.com has been the most popular website in the Hitwise Automotive Dealerships category (by share of Visits) since April 2010.
  • 60% of Autoquake customers reserve their car online on the very first day they visit the site.
  • 35% of Autoquake customers opt for home delivery. On average, these customers pay £7,500 on a car they have only seen on a computer screen.
  • Autoquake saved its customers a total of £10m over Parkers guide price in 2009.
  • Only 1.4% of customers have made use of the Autoquake 7 day money back guarantee.
  • 90% of customers said they would recommend Autoquake to a friend in Q1 2010.
  • According to the Capgemini report 08/09, 44% of consumers are likely or very likely to purchase a car on the internet if that functionality is available. This is up from 30% in 2008 and only 2% in 2001.
  • 6.7 million used cars were sold in the UK in 2008 at a value of £32.4 billion.