Making a bid for a better way to sell your car

Sell your car quick and get more for it: that’s the goal of a new bidding platform by

SINGAPORE — There’s a new way to sell your car in Singapore, and it aims to be the easiest. Local used car listings site has launched a “Sell your car” feature that aims to simplify the way you dispose of an existing car.

Within the site, a seller clicks on “Sell my car”, enters a few details into an online form, and receives a quote from potential buyers in two days. The buyers come from a network of more than 230 dealers. 

Sellers are under no obligation to accept the deal, but if they accept, the dealers pay a S$1,000 deposit to secure the car. Ucars arranges a viewing for the prospective buyer to inspect the car and fork over the remaining amount if satisfied with the car’s condition.

Ucars says it keeps all seller information confidential.

That company also makes sure one of its staff is present at the viewing to make sure that buyers don’t back out or try to renegotiate on the spot, says Ely Wong, a member of Ucar’s marketing team (above).

One user left a testimonial on Ucars’ Facebook page to say the bidding system eased the selling process “tremendously.” The platform’s “thoughtfulness from the seller perspective was awesome,” she wrote. “That was evident when the buyer attempted to ask for a lower-than-agreed price.”

For now, Ucars is hoping to sweeten the deal by giving CashCards loaded with S$50 to every successful seller. 

But Ucars says it can get you more for your wheels than similar bidding platforms nevertheless. It does this by charging buyers less.

At least one rival platform charges a S$107 administration fee as well as a commission based on a percentage of the sale price, but Ms Wong says with Ucars, dealers pay only a flat S$88 fee. That gives them room to put in stronger bids (or more accurately, doesn’t disincentive higher bids), and means more of the final sum ends up in the seller’s pocket.

A platform that charges 1.5 percent would cost the winning dealer S$1,500 for a S$100,000 bid, for example. Ucars’ flat fee structure means a dealer could bid S$101,000 for the same car and yet pay less for it. 

Auction platforms aren’t the only way to rid yourself of an unwanted car fast. Traditionally, the easiest by far is to trade it in with a new car dealer. Yet, there is a price for convenience, and it’s often paid at trade-in. Swapping your old car for a new one means you typically get to drive it until the moment your new car is ready for collection, but with fewer used car traders involved the trade-in route can unlock less value.

There is always the route of selling a car yourself to other drivers, which is the least convenient but usually gives you the chance to get the most for money for your metal.

The Ucars platform aims to be a sort of happy middle ground: faster than selling on the open market, but with more in your pocket than from a trade-in. The middle ground here comes without the typical middleman fees.

about the author

Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.