Interview with James Bush, Sales Director of Motorway

James Bush heads up sales at the leading car sales platform, Motorway. He spoke to AutoScene about the ins and outs of this sector of the industry.

Motorway is the UK’s fastest-growing used car market. Founded just five years ago, today a car sells on the platform every four minutes. This year has seen the company invest not only in their product to ensure higher quality online vehicle profiling but also in marketing, including a new TV advertising campaign and sponsorship of the Six Nations Rugby and BT Sport’s coverage of the Premier League. The result? Motorway has seen a record number of motorists sell their cars online through the platform so far in 2022 and a sharp uptick in stock volumes, with over 1,000 vehicles featuring in their daily sales.

We caught up with James Bush, Sales Director at Motorway, to tell us a little more about the business, how they have fared this year and their predictions for the used car market in 2023.

Tell me about your background and how you got involved with Motorway

I’ve always been passionate about both sales and cars. I started working for Motorway as Commercial Manager in its first year when we were very small. Our three founders had recently started the business with a vision of pioneering an online-only approach to the used car-selling experience and transforming the way people sell their cars and dealers acquire their stock.

Since then, we’ve grown at an incredible pace and I feel very fortunate to be part of it. I’m now Motorway’s Sales Director, responsible for the dealer business at Motorway, including our account management, dealer experience and dealer support teams. Today, a car sells via our platform every four minutes and over 5,000 car dealers use Motorway as a source of vehicle acquisition.

Tell us about your offering to dealers and car owners

Motorway is the UK’s fastest-growing used-car marketplace. We connect people selling their car directly with our nationwide network of more than 5,000 verified car dealers, matching each seller on our platform with the dealer who most wants to buy their car.

We help car owners sell their vehicles 100% online using their phones to create detailed profiles, and enable dealers to bid for these cars in daily auctions. This new approach means sellers get much more for their car and do so from home, while dealers have a new way to acquire stock online, direct from private sellers.

How are you navigating the current economic climate in 2022?

We’ve actually seen record numbers of motorists sell their cars through our platform so far in 2022, resulting in a 200% uplift in year on year sales in the first half of the year.

We’re now seeing more than 1,000 cars go into our daily sales. This means our network of dealers have had a constant stream of quality private stock to choose from – with no middleman taking a cut. In these unprecedented times, when quality used car stock is becoming harder and harder for dealerships to acquire, we are passionate about delivering them the most unique privately owned stock, at scale, seven days a week,

What is the buying process for dealers? Can they do it all online?

With Motorway, you don’t have to leave your dealership to access high-qualityprivate retail stock. You can sign up for free to access vehicles in our daily online sales. There’s no fee to use the platform and all our dealers get instant access to hundreds of fresh vehicles to buy every day.

We offer a huge range of privately-owned cars across all major brands, and alert dealers when suitable stock becomes available. Our teams ensure each vehicle profile is as accurate as possible, with detailed photos, specs, condition and service history. Sellers are vetted, with price expectations set to the right level for a fuss-free sale for both sellers and dealers.

It’s easy to view stock on any device and place bids instantly online. Thanks to our proxy bidding system, you just need to set your maximum bid for a vehicle during the sale, and it will automatically bid on your behalf in increments of £50. If you place the winning bid, our team will automatically confirm the transaction with the seller and connect both parties to complete the handover. We also offer our own dedicated transport service – our collection service can inspect and collect on your behalf, then deliver directly to your dealership.

What happens if the dealership is unhappy with the mechanical or bodywork condition of the vehicle?
We do everything we can to ensure dealerships know the condition of each car before buying. Car sellers provide us with 16 high quality photos of their vehicle along with a detailed description of its condition as well as providing service history details. On collecting the vehicle, the dealer is able to carry out an inspection and appraisal before paying. If our own transport team is collecting, they will carry out the inspection on the dealer’s behalf. On the occasions when issues arise, we have a dedicated account management team on hand to work with the dealer to investigate and find an amicable solution.

Your valuation tool draws data from a vast number of previous sales. How accurate is this and does the final pricing reflect the initial valuations?

You can get an instant valuation on Motorway by entering your car registration number and confirming your mileage. You are given an instant estimated sale price for your vehicle, which is designed to be as accurate as possible and is based on the latest data from thousands of successful sales on Motorway.

Our pricing updates in real-time so estimated sale prices will be based on recent offers for vehicles just like the one you’re looking to sell.

Since we don’t know a lot about the vehicle at this point, the estimated sale price can change once we know about its specification, condition and service history.

To organise all this data for dealers is a significant undertaking, is there a substantial team working behind the scenes?

Our team has grown from 100 at the start of 2021 to over 350 today, including product developers, engineers and car experts

Could we see Motorway on mainland Europe at some point in the future?

Right now, we’re focused on growing the core business in the UK so we can provide a bigger range of quality stock for UK dealers nationwide and support their business growth as well as improving the car selling experience for more car owners.

We’re selling a car every four minutes, with over 1m car owners using our site a month – a big number, but that’s still just 1.5% of the UK used-car market. There’s still so much opportunity to improve how cars are sold in the UK, and that is our near-term focus.

The used car market has been extremely volatile post covid with inflated prices and low stock levels. Do you believe that we will see a return to “normal” in 2023?

The market has been highly unusual in the last 12 months, and we expect there to be fluctuations in pricing as things ‘normalise’ over the next couple of years.

But our business isn’t affected in the same way by market movements as some direct retailers. We continue to grow and that’s because we’re doing something completely different. Whether used car prices are high or low across the market, we help people secure a competitive price for their car by connecting them directly with our network of dealers whilst at the same time supporting car dealerships to more easily acquire quality used car stock.

This route to market has paid off – more people than ever before are coming to us to sell their cars, which means in turn we are able to offer more used stock to our dealer network, and to continue scaling. We believe Motorway is the best place to sell your car, or acquire stock from, regardless of market conditions.

If you are a seller, check out the Motorway free valuation tool here: Value my car.

If you are a dealer who wants to supercharge your stock acquisition, click here: Motorway for professionals.

Latest Stories