Business & Economy

An Exclusive interview with CarFirst CEO Raja Murad

Q. What has been the growth story for being a successful company? Can you share some interesting numbers?

Today with consistent hard work and determination from my team, we employ over 280 people and have over 30 purchase centers across Pakistan with many new services and products under our belt. Our top line has grown to several times the monthly volume we had in the beginning of this year, but the more interesting thing is that we are growing into new value chains and expanding our presence throughout the entire auto-sector ecosystem.  In accordance with our commitment to growth, we are excited to announce that are expansion plans for Faisalabad are underway and we are soon to launch our operations in this city.  We hope to open our purchase centers and warehouses in every city, making our services available to all of Pakistan. So, whosoever is willing to sell their car in any city of Pakistan, has the option of driving down to a CarFirst purchase center.  We aim to make the used car trade market more transparent, secure and convenient for anyone wishing to buy or sell their car. By connecting car owners to insurance, financing, warranty, inspections, and a host of other services, CarFirst will leverage not one but many revenue streams for its future growth.

Other than the marketplace model, CarFirst is trying to expand its outreach through a number of initiatives such as ‘Corporate Fleet Program’ Program – The program provides logistical support and hassle-free tailored solution such as Fleet Liquidation, Value Guarantor, Auction Management and BuyBack Program to multinational and local companies looking to Manage their auto fleets, ‘Merchant Program’ – Creating opportunities for small scale car dealers and help them grow their volume and profits exponentially, increase our ‘Apprenticeship Program’ – Invest in training the mechanical engineering students (youth) who have a keen interest in the automobile industry, get more Dosts through our ‘Dost Program’ – An incentive program is open to everyone who wishes to help their friends and loved ones sell their cars to CarFirst, encourage customers to avail our ‘Exchange Program’ – Option to trade up an old car for new Car by offsetting the value of your old car against the price of the new car, expand our ‘Purchase Centers Network’ – We are continuously working to expand our network of purchase centers within Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and then beyond and searching newer avenues to grow by partnering with automotive related companies and lastly since the verification process and payment take up to 2-3 days we want to minimize that window and bring it down to max 1 day for which we started off with our pilot project , however on-ground realities still don’t allow for that to happen, not at least yet.

Q. CarFirst has recently received an Award at 14th Consumers Choice Award | 2019, could you tell us more about this?

Being the largest network of consumers rights in Pakistan, Consumers Association of Pakistan again set another milestone this year by organizing 14th Consumers Choice Awards in Karachi. Consumers Choice Awards are awarded every year to those consumers friendly companies, traders and organizations who offer their products and services in the best interest of Pakistani Consumers. CarFirst received a ‘Consumer Icon Award’ for ‘Fastest Growing Tech Company In Pakistan’ which is testament of a strong and authentic verdict of Pakistani consumers’ nationwide. It is an honour for each and every member of the CarFirst family to receive this recognition from the biggest network of consumers rights in Pakistan. CarFirst has been a consumer-centric company from the get-go, and we are proud to play our part in simplifying the lives of our consumers through technology and innovation. Today, CarFirst stands proud to have revolutionized the way used cars are traded in Pakistan, and are grateful to be known as the most trusted used car trading platform by our consumers. This award goes out to our customers – Thank you for believing in us, as we continue to work endlessly to make the car selling process in Pakistan, fast, simple, secure and stress-free.

Q. How have the rules of marketing changed to attract more customers than before?

In today’s world, understanding your customer is the only marketing strategy you need.

Advances in technology change everything, including how we must market our business. While these changes are going to continue, it is so important to understand the fundamentals of marketing remain the same. We need to get your business in front of the right consumers and tell them a compelling story about how the products and services we offer will satisfy their needs.

 We need to adapt to this changed consumer and their new way of purchasing.

We have to focus on three core goals

Drive More Traffic To Your Website From The Right Consumers

Convert These Websites Visitors Into Quality Leads

Nurture These Quality Leads Into Customers

Q. How many used car sale and purchase deals you strike daily in Karachi as compared to prior February 2019. Please share the number of your outlets in Karachi.

The numbers for us have been up to par with what we had planned, again the shift in categories and reasons for trading have changed, fewer people seem to be trading cars to higher categories and the average age of traded cars is increasing, meaning that people seem to be holding cars for longer than they would have previously. We have 16 outlets in Karachi as of now and will have over 22 outlets in Karachi alone by the end of the year.

Q. General:  In the auto sector, successive price increases amid the rising cost of bank finance has applied brakes on auto growth. And it seems red light will remain on in the immediate future in that sector. What is your view of the auto sector?

In my view, the auto sector hasn’t been too influenced by successive price increases amid the rising cost of bank finance. However, we have noticed that the prices of imports have gone up by 15% concerning the accountability of taxes due to which growth grinds to a halt, in light of the fact that the on-going schemes by new government have requested for a money trail. On the contrary, the local trade industry and Japanese imports won’t be influenced by the price increases and will remain the same as it will be beneficial for the country as a whole.

 

 

Article source: https://nation.com.pk/12-Nov-2019/an-exclusive-interview-with-carfirst-ceo-raja-murad

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