SPH dabbles into online car marketplace with SVTA

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

I’m sure many of you are familiar with SGCarMart.com, the online portal for car buying and selling. It’s been around for 7-8 years maybe? And it has a huge following, partly due to its online community – My Car Forum which draws lots of traffic.

 

I’m not sure about before my time, but for the last four years at least, SGCarMart.com has not had any real competition to worry about and is probably one of the most frequented automotive websites. People log in to check out car prices or what cars are being sold. In 2008 SGCarMart.com started an editorial section which lives on till today, with new car reviews, feature stories and news bites.

 

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Along came Motormuse.com in 2009 with a similar concept to SGCarMart.com, with used and new car sales and also an editorial section. They had quite a cute launch campaign with funky comic illustrations (see my previous blog post on their launch premiums here) and they looked good for a while.  However, Motormuse.com hasn’t been active for half a year now and theystill owe me my wages! Urgh.

 

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There’s Oneshift.com but they are more of an editorial resource rather than a middleman platform for car owners and car seekers.

 

Now, the new kid on the block is CARS.SVTA - an online car marketplace set up by the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVTA) and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). It functions almost like SGCarMart.com but members are the car dealers themselves, who can post their ads for free for the first year of launch. A huge advantage of this new platform is their strong element in print media - members who advertise exclusively on CARS.SVTA will be entitled to special rates for SPH print ads. In addition, these ads will also be cross-posted to ST701.com, the online version of SPH’s CATS Classifieds.

 

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Wow, sounds like a good deal eh? According to the press releases by SPH (see below for two), this project was in discussion since 2009 and has finally come to fruition. Apparently their office is located one level below SGCarMart.com’s! And I also heard that the father of the owner of SGCarMart.com owns the building they are in. Why still rent it to CARS.SVTA you might ask? I think they should! Keep thy enemy close… and earn rent from them!

 

Will this have any impact on SGCarMart.com? If yes, what kind of impact and how will it affect their ‘monopoly’? If no, how will SGCarMart.com continue improving themselves to sustain their position?

 

Read on for the two press releases on CARS.SVTA…

SVTA launches its new web portal CARS.SVTA in style
Singapore, 17 February 2011 – The Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVTA) has launched CARS.SVTA, a new all-in-one marketplace that serves the requirements of motor dealers and car buyers with a listings and inventory module.

The web portal is jointly developed by SVTA and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), a fitting collaboration as SVTA members’ bulk of classified ads has been featured prominently in SPH. The portal, which went live late last year, currently lists over 5000 used cars together with their specifications and prices.

Due to a buoyant online motoring community and the growing reach of online technology, this is an opportune time for SVTA to launch an online system that houses the advertisements of its motor dealer members.

The association also cites the recent spates of case misrepresentations in the form of errant vehicle dealers and erroneous information posted in other motor classifieds as one of the main reasons to initiate for the development of the new portal.

To revitalise the deteriorating image of motor dealers in Singapore, CARS.SVTA ensures the quality of listings on the site by screening the information before they are uploaded.

Eddie Loo, the publicity in-charge of the launch said: “The effort is in line with our drive to spearhead transparency in the industry as well as protect consumers from unreliable dealers.”

All ads listed at CARS.SVTA will be reflected at ST701.com, SPH’s online version of Cats Classified. At CARS.SVTA, members who are car dealers can post ads for free while car buyers can search for new or used vehicles (passenger or commercial). Useful tools such as COE prices, ERP rates and car loan calculator allow buyers to enjoy the ease of an all inclusive online platform.

Please visit http://cars.svta.com.sg for more information.

Media invitation

To add buzz to the launch, SVTA is holding a private celebration at the St. James DragonFly on 22 February. Members of the trade and media, as well as corporate and governmental organisations will be invited to the event. Guests will be treated to a fun-filled night of food, drinks and live music performances. Attractive prizes will also be given away to winning participants of the I-AM-LUCKY Great Giveaway 2010.

Date: 22 Feb 2011 (Tue)
Time: 6pm to 9 pm
Venue: St James, DragonFly

To RSVP, please contact Gary at garyyeo@sph.com.sg or 6319 1225 by 21 Feb, Mon, 5pm.

 

Food, drinks & music fuel up CARS.SVTA launch at St. James
Singapore, 23 February 2011 – It was a night of electrifying ambience on 22 February, Tuesday, at the launch of CARS.SVTA, a joint development between Singapore Vehicle Traders Association (SVTA) and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) that came to fruition after nearly two years of detailed planning and dedicated efforts.

Among the guests were Guest-of-Honour, Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC and President of CASE; Mr Eddie Loo, Chairman of CARS.SVTA; Ms Tan Su-lin, Head of CATS Classified in SPH, as well as members of the trade and industry leaders.

The opening speech by Mr Eddie Loo touched on the beginnings of CARS.SVTA and what the portal represents. It is first and foremost an e-marketplace and online repository that houses the advertisements of its members. As a non-profit organisation, SVTA strives to offer low advertising rates to its members but for the first year of the launch, members will be able post their ads for free. Mr Eddie Loo had more good news – members who advertise exclusively on CARS.SVTA will also be entitled to special rates for SPH print ads.

The portal also serves as a communication platform on SVTA activities to its 400 members and other related parties. It also aims to be a reliable motor resource for car buyers with the integration of LTA’s (Land Transport Authority) motoring links and tools such as ERP rates and loan calculator, reinforcing its status as an all-in-one motoring web portal.

CARS.SVTA’s journey started in 2009 when the idea of the site was first introduced. Several avenues were explored before the ‘right one’ came along: SVTA chose to partner SPH for its extensive media reach and expertise in both print and online products and services.

Ms Tan Su-lin, Head of CATS Classified, said: “It is the coming together of 2 parties in a mutually satisfying relationship: SVTA and SPH, specifically CATS Classified and ST701. We each bring valuable assets to the table and today, we are taking the next big step to move beyond our vendor-customer relationship.”

Another concern of the motoring community is the increasing spates of case misrepresentations caused by misleading information on websites and errant dealers. SVTA believes that by placing ads of SVTA members under one platform (and reflected in ST701.com, SPH’s online version of Cats Classified), the high level of data credibility will be apparent to consumers and trust re-established in the used cars market.

In addition, with the introduction of the CASETRUST-Accreditation Scheme in 2009, consumers can look forward to a fairer motor trade in CARS.SVTA.

Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC and President of CASE, said: “Governed by the fair trade practice regulations that members of SVTA adhered to, customers will be assured a fair deal and stand to benefit from their choice of purchase from these dealers.”

Guests were treated to a delectable buffet dinner spread and free flow of beer against the background of live music from the Dragonfly band. The event rounded up with a prize-giving ceremony to winners of the I-AM-LUCKY Giveaway 2010 and a surprise lucky draw for guests, with the top prize of $1000 cash going to Mr Ricky Chan of Leco Automobile.

Please visit http://cars.svta.com.sg for more information.

CARS-SVTA-official-launch-event

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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