CarGurus Acquires AutoList: Are Your Listings Still Free?

By Desiree Homer

Last week, one of the leading automotive marketplace platforms, CarGurus, announced its acquisition of the popular shopping platform and app, Autolist. This acquisition helps expand the footprint for CarGurus in terms of customer audience, and subsequently, is a smart move for them in enhancing the value of their dealership subscription services. Few details have been released with regard to terms of the acquisition, and some dealerships may be wondering if their free listings will continue to be free. Here’s what we know so far.

Recent Announcement & What We Know

The Massachusetts based company, CarGurus, will continue to operate Autolist as its own brand and website, according to CarGurus CFO, Jason Trevisan. Autolist will maintain its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, and its founder, Corey Lydstone, will remain at the leadership helm. Trevisan told Automotive News he feels the two companies are “culturally similar” and share a mission to provide the best consumer-based, vehicle buying search options.

CarGurus Flagship Platform

Dealerships that partner with CarGurus for vehicle listings can do so free, or with additional options for subscription-based listings. Of the 40,000 dealerships listing there today, approximately 29,000 of them are paying for the added benefits. 

AutoList’s Flagship Platform

Autolist enjoys over 1.3 million unique visitors to its website each month. Born in 2014, Autolist has focused on tech options for browsing consumers and grown to around 400,000 visitors to its popular mobile app. CarGurus CFO, Trevisan, expressed his enthusiasm for Autolist’s progress in digital retailing and intelligent use of AI with their search algorithms.

What Does This Merger Mean for Dealership Paid & Free Listings?

While the acquisition is intended to scale CarGurus customer reach, and ultimately grow its paying dealership partnerships, the free options will still be available. The free listings engagement will remain intact. However, there is an incentive for dealerships to upgrade to the paid services, as they will now be able to leverage and post on Autolist now too. Trevisan says, “We think this gives dealers who are still free on our site, even more reason to become paying subscribers.”

Is This a Sign of Acquisitions to Come?

CarGurus may be on the hunt for strategic acquisitions in 2020, and the Autolist acquisition may be a sign of growth to come. CarGurus said last October that it had plans to add companies to the portfolio, to scale growth efforts with its core listings services. They plan to target dealership technology tools, companies with similar products, and those that would help enhance CarGurus market share in emerging business segments.

If your dealership partners with CarGurus, you may have already been notified about the recent Autolist acquisition. If you’re paying for listings, you’ll soon have additional listing options to leverage the Autolist site and app. For those still using the free listings with CarGurus, you may have a reason to transition to the paid services. This recent acquisition may be the first of many to come this year. As your digital partners look to enhance how they target car-buying customers, your ability to sell cars via those platforms should benefit as well.