AutoTrader and CarGurus are two of the largest digital marketplaces that enable buyers and sellers to efficiently connect for used vehicle transactions online Comparing AutoTrader and CarGurus.
This article provides a detailed comparison of their key features, functionality, advertising options and overall value propositions to help potential customers understand which platform might be a better fit for their needs.
Overview and History
AutoTrader was founded in Britain in 1977 as a weekly newspaper for automotive classified listings. It launched its first website in 1997 and has since become the largest digital automotive marketplace in the UK. In the United States,
AutoTrader has similar standing, starting as a print publication and growing its digital presence significantly over the past two decades.
CarGurus, on the other hand, was established more recently in 2006 with the objective of streamlining the car shopping experience online through vehicle research tools and a simplified marketplace experience.
Listing Features and Functionality
Both AutoTrader and CarGurus provide basic and paid listing options for private sellers and dealers to market their used vehicle inventory.
Their listing creation processes collect similar details about makes, models, prices, images, locations and vehicle specifications. However, there are some differences in additional features provided:
|360-degree vehicle imaging
|Optional add-on service
|Included with paid listings
|Vehicle history reports
|Included for dealers, available to include for private sellers
|Not available to include
|Marketing tools and analytics
|Robust suite of tools for dealers
|More basic metrics for sellers
In general, AutoTrader provides sellers with more advanced and customizable listing features, particularly those oriented towards helping dealers promote and track vehicle sales. Meanwhile, CarGurus keeps its listings comparatively simpler but includes 360-degree photos for visibility.
Search and Browsing Functionality
Both platforms enable users to search for vehicles based on make, model, price range, location and other filters. Their interface designs for browsing search results are a bit different:
- AutoTrader displays search listings in a grid format, making it easy to scan across multiple vehicles at once.
- CarGurus focuses each search result on a single vehicle page with photos and details, requiring more clicking between individual options.
In terms of research tools, CarGurus provides more granular data like fair market price analysis, while AutoTrader focuses on overall search and filtering capabilities. Over time, each platform continues improving theirshopper tools based on user behavior insights.
Advertising Options for Buyers and Sellers
The revenue models for these marketplaces center around advertising upgrades available to sellers. Here is a comparison:
|Basic active listing
|1-30 days; no upgrades
|7 days; no upgrades
|“Seller Flex” premium spots
|“Dealer Inspired” top sections
|Dynamic digital ads
|Various ad slot upgrades
|Geo-targeted online ads
Overall, CarGurus keeps baseline listings shorter but opens more ad inventory for paid promotion opportunities. Meanwhile, AutoTrader users can list longer with basic placement, while dealers enjoy complex ad solutions.
Value for Buyers and Sellers – Comparing AutoTrader and CarGurus
In summary, here is how each platform provides value:
- For buyers – AutoTrader’s wide selection and filters. CarGurus’ comparative research tools.
- For large dealer lots – AutoTrader’s robust marketing features and analytics. Complex and flexible ad solutions.
- For small sellers – CarGurus keeps listings simple and focused. Inexpensive ad upgrades available.
Overall, AutoTrader offers more advantageous self-service options for high-volume dealerships. Meanwhile, CarGurus focuses on streamlining the shopping process for buyers and keeping costs low for smaller-scale independent sellers.
Comparing AutoTrader and CarGurus – Parting Words:
In the end, for most customers the best platform depends on their specific use-case as either a frequent buyer or seller handling large inventories versus occasional transactions of personal vehicles. Both provide great value but in different customized ways.