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Marketing Featured East Asia

Carro marks Japan expansion through SoftBank partnership

Singapore – Southeast Asian used car marketplace Carro is expanding its presence into Japan via a partnership with Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank. Through the partnership, Carro Japan aims to introduce its full suite of services, such as subscription-based services and car leasing in the local market.

The market expansion follows a local increase in demand for used cars and subscription-based services, resulting from the backdrop of rising prices of new vehicles and a growing need for car ownership. And yet, there has been difficulty of accurately assessing a used car’s valuation due to the inconsistent and lack of credible evaluation criteria.

With Carro’s Japan entry, it aims as well to support existing car dealers with leasing services and provide a highly competitive subscription-based service. In addition, Carro’s AI technology will be incorporated to accurately predict the valuation of used cars based on their history and data.

Meanwhile, SoftBank’s key role in Carro Japan will be to tailor services for the Japanese market, including marketing, sales, and collaboration with partner companies.

Aaron Tan, CEO and co-founder at Carro, said, “Japan is one of the leading automotive markets and most digitally-savvy countries in Asia. Our entry into Japan is the next natural step in growing our regional presence and helping traditional dealers expand their market reach across the country using our AI-technology-backed capabilities.”

With Carro’s entry into Japan, corporate clients can apply for the subscription-based service by stating their requirements for a used car via Carro Japan’s website, including vehicle size, mileage, non-smoking or smoking options, and more. A list of suitable used cars available for hire will be automatically generated for consideration

Tan added, “Over the next few years, we plan to capitalise on the growth of the used car market. We’ll start by providing car subscription services with SoftBank as a first step, and eventually plan to work with thousands of dealerships across Japan to play an active role in offering consumers a hassle-free buying and selling experience.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Carsome Thailand’s tongue-in-cheek campaign demonstrates how car sales is easy—quite literally

Bangkok, Thailand – Following the launch of their Malaysian and Indonesian campaign as part of the Hari Raya celebration, used car sales platform Carsome has launched a new campaign for their Thailand market, demonstrating that buying and selling used cars on the platform is easy and safe using a tongue-in-cheek narrative.

Titled ‘Mr. Handsome’, the campaign features a married couple, where the wife scolds her husband for checking in used cars on Carsome, which quite literally ‘drops’ at their home. For every concern the wife raises regarding transacting on the platform, a Carsome salesperson enters the scene, noting that all cars enter a 175-point inspection, prices are set with no hidden fees, every car has a 1-year warranty, plus other services.

The ad continues to take a more quirky turn as for every promise the salesperson makes, the husband ‘takes off’ parts of his body, until both him and his wife are ‘left’ later with hands as she sold the car as well, showing that at the tip of our fingers, transacting on Carsome is as easy as scrolling on our phones–whether buying or selling.

Speaking about the creative process for the ad, Chaval Sindhusingha, creative group head at VMLY&R Thailand, stated that through the ad, they used bold and quirky sense of humor plus a touch of Thai insights, along with impactful visuals to create a positive brand association, register top-of-mind awareness and be the most recalled brand when it comes to used car purchase.

“At VMLY&R it’s our mission to build connected brands. Carsome is an online used car platform that offers exceptional ease and confidence when buying and selling used cars. The challenge was to differentiate the brand from all existing others in the market, while also highlighting the many selling points it offers,” Sindhusingha stated.

Meanwhile, Derek Tan, chief brand officer at Carsome, remarked that they are happy to work with VMLY&R to bring their vision and ideas to life through their brand film in Thailand.

“At Carsome, we understand the pain point of the used car industry which is fragmented and marred by distrust. We leverage on data and technology innovation to streamline the used car transaction process, with the aim of helping our customers move forward with peace of mind – per the film, Aud doesn’t need a head to worry about his purchase, a heart to go through a heart attack over prices or problems, nor even legs to go out and buy a car. Buying a car from Carsome is as easy as counting 1-2-3: only a single hand is required,” Tan said.

The film is part of a wider campaign across online and offline channels including TV, radio, billboards, digital LED screens and showrooms in Bangkok including location-based ad optimization for digital.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Carsome launches data center of excellence, appoints new chief data officer

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Following the company’s endeavor to launch a new data center of excellence (COE) in response to the digitalization of the company’s business decisions for the used car industry, Carsome has recently appointed Piyush Palkar as the company’s latest chief data officer.

The former head of data at iflix and subsequently WeTV iflix brings to Carsome a vast experience in data and analytics across banking, energy, media and entertainment, and retail. Despite being a construction engineer by qualification, he ventured into data since his varsity days.

Palkar will lead data maturity, data engineering and management, ML/AI-based data-driven innovations, business intelligence, insights and data analytics in Carsome. He will also embed data culture in the organization to support organizational efficiency and agility through data.

Speaking about his announcement, he stated, “I am very excited to be part of the team that digitalizes the used car industry, now further strengthened by cutting-edge data technologies, as democratizing data and providing near-real time insights to different business functions are vital in driving innovation and efficiency. We will leverage data to improve customer experience via personalization, customer segmentation and propensity models.”

Palkar’s appointment by Carsome will also aid the company in its quest to use data, which allows Carsome to power its business at all stages while supporting strategic decisions. The combination of auction and market data, and machine learning (ML) model backs Carsome’s proprietary vehicle pricing optimization and inventory support system. It also helps the company in understanding different user personas and their journey as a customer, and allows for analytics-backed inventory acquisition and liquidation strategy.

Carsome co-founder and group CEO Eric Cheng explained that the company has amassed a wealth of data after six years in business, where data of hundreds of cars pass through Carsome’s platforms every single day. “By setting up our data COE, we are on full throttle in implementing data science solutions, along with data-driven insights to increase operational efficiency.”

“Our in-house data capabilities and machine learning automations increase work efficiency and enhance timely, evidence-based decision-making abilities, which in turn helps our customers get good quality services from Carsome,” Cheng added. 

The company also believes that data helps in digitalizing workflows and processes by improving internal products with artificial intelligence (AI) and ML capabilities. Application of AI and ML include automating various operations tasks, such as car number plate masking and car scoring engine; these reduce the time an inspector takes to inspect a car and therefore promote better efficiency internally while providing faster car-selling process for consumers.

Carsome is on track to hit an annualized US$1 billion in revenue by the end of the second quarter (Q2 2021). The company is also expected to complete a number of major merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions that will further cement its market leadership position in the next six months.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

myTukar, Mitsubishi Motors MY collaborate to digitize customer experience

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Used car selling platform myTukar and the Malaysian arm of automotive brand Mitsubishi Motors have announced a new partnership, aiming to create new digital customer experiences to the public.

As part of the initial timeline in the partnership, both companies have collaborated in creating Mitsubishi Motor Malaysia’s (MMM) virtual showroom, which offers customers a 360-degree view of the car’s exterior and interior, as well as allows customers to zoom in and out and navigate in every direction. Each of the Mitsubishi vehicles on display has a clickable interactive button to instantly show more information about the car and its key features. Besides a 360-degree view, the online showroom also comes with a gallery which showcases more images of the vehicles at various angles. 

Encapsulated within the partnership as well are other digital CX strategies including ‘Test Drive 2U’, which allows customers to test drive a Mitsubishi car from the comfort of their homes through an online booking in the online showroom platform; a booking assist that allows customers to continue their purchase journey online by submitting a booking request form on the online showroom’s website ranging from loan to insurance application; and trade-in assist which allows customers to have the option to request for the car inspection, handover, transfer of ownership and the collection of the sold car to be done at any of the customer’s preferred location to the customer’s convenience. 

“In the past year, we’ve seen an unpredictable level of change, because of the new normal and the need to maintain social distancing. The launch of Mitsubishi online showroom is a strong example of MMM’s commitment to deliver a more human-centric experience by encompassing a holistic approach across three key organizational pillars: people, process and technology,” said Tomoyuki Shinnishi, chief executive officer of Mitsubishi. 

He added, “We have always believed in creating a walk-through experience and this online showroom is an extension from getting to know the product, test-drive at customer’s convenience, and communication with the dealer to finalize the purchase journey. We want to offer our customers a safe purchase of their Mitsubishi model without the need of leaving their homes.”

For Fong Hon Sum, CEO of myTukar, the collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors means leveraging myTukar’s proprietary technology-enabled platform which provides Mitsubishi Motors with a simplified and transparent valuation to ultimately enhance retail customer experience. 

“I strongly believe that this partnership will reinforce our mutual vision of giving customers an innovative and convenient process of purchasing and selling their used cars,” Sum stated.

Mitsubishi Motors has also announced the launch of MITSUBISHI CONNECT mobile application as a continuation of after-sales service through a digital platform. The mobile app offers a range of vehicle-related digital services, allowing Mitsubishi owners to schedule a service appointment with their preferred MMM service centres, keep track of vehicle maintenance history and get reminders for their next car service in an easy and hassle-free manner.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

MY car trading platform myTukar expands to East Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Used car trading platform has announced its expansion to the untapped car trading market in East Malaysia by opening two myTukar inspection hubs located at Kuching, Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

According to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), used car sales grew by 100% in the first six months of 2020, a positive growth especially during Q3 of 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“With the increased demand for used cars nationwide, we have also observed an increase in online trading among East Malaysians. Currently, only an estimated 26% of used car dealers in East Malaysia are conducting their transactions online,” said Fong Hon Sum, CEO of myTukar.

He added, “As myTukar’s mission is to simplify the process of selling used cars through digitalization within our online platform, we believe that it is the right time to enter the currently untapped East Malaysian market. The innovative myTukar platform is able to provide the needful support to used car dealers in East Malaysia, ultimately helping to increase sales for the dealers through a speedy, efficient, and cost-effective ecosystem.” 

This is not the first time the Malaysia-based used car trading platform has gone wide market expansions in the country.

In October of 2020, seven branches were opened by myTukar across Malaysia, bringing the total number of branches to 15, and transacting over 27,000 vehicles with an estimated value of RM805M.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Carro’s myTukar deploys AI on own car trading platform

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Used car trading platform myTukar has announced the deployment of its artificial intelligence (AI) driven Car Defect Detection system and Car Plate Masking to its own platform.

The said service, developed via Amazon Web Services (AWS) and a combination of Amazon Rekognition and Amazon SageMaker, allows the platform to analyse images and videos using scalable and deep learning technology. In turn, this then automates and standardizes car inspection and uses AI to detect car defects such as dents, scratches and paint deterioration, while eliminating human error by up to 80%.

“The cutting edge myTukar AI was developed as a result of our passion to digitally transform the used car industry to ultimately benefit our customers and to digitize the industry. myTukar is the first tech company in the used car industry to set up an in-house data science team to provide both system efficacy and customization,” said Fong Hon Sum, CEO of myTukar.

He further added, “However, more than just digitalizing the used car market, the myTukar AI that we are implementing in our business operations today is but a glimpse of what is possible for the entire automotive industry in the near future. With a powerful self-diagnostic tool built on AWS such as myTukar AI, the entire customer experience within the automotive industry can be radically transformed.”

In addition, the AI algorithm also allows to produce car inspection report can be produced in seconds, consequently increasing the overall productivity and efficiency of myTukar’s operations within its 2,000 authorised dealerships.

“Most importantly, with the use of myTukar AI, we are benefiting our customers by strengthening the trust and increasing the transparency of the car inspection process,” Fong added.

The myTukar AI technology is set to roll out Carro Group’s Southeast Asia markets in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, a strategy to continuously expand and digitalize car trading for the Southeast Asia Region.