By MIKE OCHONMA, Motoring Editor
Jiji, the largest online marketplace in Africa, has entered into a new marriage of compatibility to merge operations with leading tech-enabled automotive trading platform, Cars45, creating a new and leading pan-African car buying and selling business.
Under this agreement, they will merge their operations in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria in a very significant and landmark deal as both entities combined are category leaders. The merger Business AM was informed will create Africa’s No.1 automotive marketplace for end-users, dealers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Jiji also has presence in the Ugandan and Tanzanian markets. Sources from both Cars45 and Jiji said the merger of operations promises a new level of trade experience for auto buyers and sellers across the three countries. Joining the Jiji family will allow Cars45 users to benefit from Jiji’s market-leading products in online classifieds. In turn, Cars45 brings a unique online-to-offline, O2O car buying and selling service, where cars can safely be sold instantly to dealers or via a consumer marketplace to other consumers. Following this marriage of convenience Together, users in the auto sector can expect a new level of convenience layered with technology and transparency in buying and selling cars, combining online and offline capabilities. Cars that will be traded would be certified through an over 212-point inspection process which Cars45 has expertise and experience with. Jiji already operates online classifieds for used cars. However, this new relationship will serve as an offline extension to the Jiji’s digital classifieds marketplace platforms. The merger would also further deepen and formalize the automotive retail process and standardize customer experience across the continent. Reacting on the new development, Soumobroto Ganguly, chief executive officer of Cars45 said, ‘’We are proud to have built a trusted buying and selling experience in autos. It makes sense to combine online and offline expertise. Merging with Jiji is aimed at creating a new kind of automotive retail experience for users in Africa’’. The automotive online marketing platform CEO stated that, Cars45 and Jiji are confident of jointly building an African champion in the O2O automotive Sector. ‘’Together we look forward to making transactions transparent and convenient for our customers, dealers and franchisees across all our current and future markets’’. Ganguly expressed delight over the merger stating that both businesses compliments the other. ‘’Jiji have a good database of listings, merchants, sellers, dealers. Jiji has got a powerful performance management in Nigeria to generate leads. We (Cars45), on the other hand, have a strong transaction side in terms of bookings and inspections for closing transactions. We hope to combine offerings with all kinds of users and stakeholders. On his submission, Maxim Makarchuk, investor relations manager at Jiji explained that, the merger represents Jiji bold step into the transactional business model and an important foundation for building the future of the company. Apart from the goal of the merger being to bring value to the end-users and create a one-stop solution for buying cars in the most convenient way for customers, the merger is also a logical step in Jiji’s development as the leading e-commerce platform on the continent. ‘’Our strategy implies moving further into transactional marketplace models and Cars45 merger is an important step in its realization. We are a customer-first company, and we are positive that customers will enjoy an even wider array of options with this relationship. Similarly, Yuliy Shenfeld, director, Africa, Jiji, stated that for Jiji, the merger seeks to transform the market of buying and selling of cars with Cars45, which will have to go through inspection first before listed on Jiji and that both are looking forward to creating a new advanced experience for customers. ‘’Undoubtedly, our collaboration will bring additional value to the consumers. The Cars45 inspection process covers both the technical details, legal and vehicle history and documentation. With Cars45, you can sell your car in less than one hour. Now Jiji sellers will also benefit from this, and they can use more than 100 locations of Cars45’’. He concluded.