BCA has transformed its cinch business into an online retail platform, offering more than 4,000 used cars for sale with home delivery.
The move puts the remarketing giant in direct competition with its clients; such as online retailer Cazoo, with which it has a contract to provide cars.
Cinch was launched back in July 2019 as a rival to Auto Trader, offering car retailers an online marketing platform on which to promote their stock for sale.
BCA has been accused of “opening Pandora’s Box” and the move has triggered anger and debate across the car retailing sector.
One car retailer told Fleet News’s sister title AM: “BCA has opened Pandora’s Box. Many businesses in many sectors of business have considered taking on their customers in the past and the wise ones have thought better of it.
“Clearly BCA have decided that the rewards are greater than the risks in this case.”
BCA’s new cinch offering comes just weeks after the remarketing giant launched a Retail Ready stocking source for retailers.
Now it appears that BCA’s car retail customers will be competing with car buyers to buy vehicles.
When AM contacted BCA to speak about cinch’s shift into direct sales this week, it was told that the business was not conducting interviews on the subject.
Avril Palmer-Baunack, executive chairman for BCA and Cinch, told The Sunday Times: “The digitisation for auto has really accelerated in the past six months.
“The market has to modernise.”
It also reported that Cinch is looking to recruit a chief executive for the new proposition.
Martin Forbes, the president of BCA rival Cox Automotive International, said that his phone had been “ringing off the hook” since news of BCA’s new venture, with car retail group bosses keen to learn of its own stance on direct sales.
He said: “The strategy that is being followed by one of our main rivals puts them front and centre in a position of conflict with a lot of their customers.
“Cox Automotive will not go into direct retail.
“For years it’s a question that we have been asked and it’s really important, as it has been for a number of years, to make our stance clear. That’s not the strategy of Cox Automotive.”