The car dealership business in Nigeria constantly battles with the problem of integrity and trust. In previous times, most prospective buyers always had some sour experience which made them really wary and skeptical about seller’s claims.
Resolving this required an independent but reliable expert to serve as a middle-man. This was why Etop Ikpe took the decision to solve this issue by founding Cars45, Nigeria’s foremost auto auctioning and car buying service.
The cars45 business model solved this problem with its 200-point inspection unit where the vehicle is assessed and valued before offering a deal to the seller.
He was previously the commercial director of Konga, one of Nigeria’s largest e-commerce platforms, and formerly the CEO and co-MD of DealDey, West Africa’s answer to Groupon.
One major problem that Etop was hoping to solve when he launched Cars45 was the problem of ‘timing’ in the Nigerian automobile industry. He wanted to fast-track this time-frame that car dealers needed to wait before getting a buyer.
Etop always wanted to become an engineer because his mathematical skills was top notch, but he eventually studied Actuarial Science at the University of Lagos, which is a sort of business and mathematics combination.
As a student, he co-founded clickmobile, an IT solutions company. He subsequently worked at Konga for 8 months before proceeding to start Cars45.
“For me, it has always been about using technology to solve problems” He says. And this was exactly what prompted him to leave Konga to start an independent automobile company.
The assessment services offered by Cars45 gives the condition of all parts of the vehicle, noting what parts are faulty and what it would likely cost to fix it. This optimally saves time and gives a conclusive value for the item being purchased.
At the moment, the company has over 60 retail inspection centres across Lagos, PortHarcourt, Abuja, Ibadan, Kano, and Benin, and some other 200 locations in cities across the country. The adoption of online auctions has helped to digitize the process so that all transactions could be concluded online.