Car dealers are getting fed up with what they see as Autotrader.co.uk exploiting their market dominance by charging far more than their competitors. Auto Trader are seen as the “Google” of used car advertising so it is a big decision to walk away but according to the newly formed MTAU (Motor Traders Advertising Union) many are doing just that.
Boasting over a 1,000 members the MTAU has been set up to give the many disgruntled dealers upset at the recent Auto Trader price increase from £7 to £8.50 per car per week, a voice and possibly a means to negotiate a bulk buyers discount. So far though they are not having much luck as, according to their website, Auto Trader have said a resounding no to their request for a fee of £4.75 for their members.
A post on MTAU’s Facebook page calls Auto Trade “Bully Boys” for forcing through their price rises and it is claimed they are 7 times more expensive than their nearest competitor. Trader Media Group’s claim that they will make £160 million this year rankles with the MTAU and may be regarded by some as profiteering at a time when many dealers are really struggling.
The MTAU reckon around 90 dealers a month are jumping ship from Auto Trader but Trader Media Group deny this. Speaking to the Sunday Times a spokesman from TMG said: “we have engaged with the MTAU even though it is not a recognised industry group” and “no dealers have cancelled”. MTAU’s clear message is that there is an alternative to Auto Trader and dealers should not put up with the prices Auto Trader charge. MTAU’s stated membership adds up to around 10% of the 11,000 dealers TMG say are in their customer base so they may have to engage with MTAU a little more in future. The battle lines have been drawn and it should be an interesting tussle.
We’ll keep you posted.