EBay has agreed to acquire Cox Automotive’s Motors.co.uk, as the American company grows its presence in Britain’s used car market after earlier taking over Gumtree.

Under the deal, which is expected to close early next year, Motors.co.uk’s operations will be integrated into Gumtree UK, which was acquired by eBay in January. The three websites will cross-share classifieds in the respective motors sections, for a total of 620,000 listings, according to eBay.

“By combining Motors.co.uk’s extensive inventory, dealer engagements, traffic and cutting-edge tools and services with the considerable audience of in-market car buyers provided by eBay and Gumtree, this acquisition would give UK car dealers a significantly broader reach,” said Matt Barham, general manager of Gumtree UK.

Car finance capabilities

Motors.co.uk will also bring car finance and part-exchange tools to the combined platform. The website introduces customers to Carmoney, an online broker whose panel consists of Santander Consumer Finance and Barclays Partner Finance.

The finance offering will fill a noticeable gap between eBay and rival services such as Auto Trader. Gumtree used to offer an outstanding finance check on its Motors section, but subsequently erased the feature a few months prior to the eBay acquisition due to fear that it could scare off potential buyers.

“What Gumtree wouldn’t want to do is throttle the potential responses to dealers as a car with outstanding finance might scare customers off,” Vik Barodia, head of motors at Gumtree, told Motor Finance in September of last year.

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Appetite for used vehicle transactions in Europe

By acquiring Motors.co.uk and its sub-brands – which include Parkers.co.uk, Honest John, AutoVillage and Raccars.co.uk – eBay will add to an already-sprawling network of vehicle-focused portals in Europe.

The American web giant has been acquiring a number of businesses since the mid-noughties. Car marketplace Mobile.de, which operates in Germany, France and Italy, is now part of eBay, as is Denmark’s BilBasen.

This is on top of generic classifieds website such as Gumtree, whose overseas operations span Poland, Australia, South Africa and Singapore.

On Cox Automotive’s side, the Motors.co.uk disposal is part of a refocus away from consumer operations towards logistics and data services for dealerships and wholesalers.

Martin Forbes, Cox Automotive UK chief executive, said: “The deal with eBay is great news for Motors.co.uk and would enable the business, the brand and the team to grow under new ownership where the focus is more consumer-led.

“For Cox Automotive, it would enable us to focus on building upon our strengths in the wholesale market and in supporting dealers, OEMs, fleet and leasing customers with a ‘connected retail’ proposition.”