ACV Auctions, the $481-million US-based digital automotive marketplace for car dealers and commercial partners, has entered the Indian market with its technology development centre in Chennai. It has started the centre with 15 employees and plans to end the year with around 100 employees, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Vikas Mehta.

The company started nine years ago and has built a platform leveraging data insights and proprietary technology. This enables dealers and partners in the US to instantly evaluate, buy, sell, finance and arrange transport for vehicles with confidence and efficiency, he told businessline.

The company has around 120 technology employees in its headquarters in Buffalo, US, 80 in Toronto, Canada, and 25 in Parish, France.

The Chennai centre is the latest addition, and employees here will work on existing technologies and new products as the company plans to foray into the commercial segment. Right now, most of the supply coming for auctions is from dealers and bought by other dealers. The commercial segment is to enable banks, fleet operators and large companies to sell old cars through ACV auctions, he said.

At present, the platform enables transactions between two dealers (buyer and seller) of around 25,000 across the US. In the December quarter, the company enabled the sale of 144,000 cars through auctions on its platform, he said. Nine years ago, the company started with just 100 sales a month, he added.

Wholesale vehicle auctions

Typically, the auctions used to happen physically with the buyer and sellers (both dealers) assembling in a huge fair, and the bids used to take place. While this continues, a lot of transactions have moved online, he said. Every year, 15 million wholesale cars are put to auction, he said.

The physical auction has limitations. It is organised once a week in a local area, while the company has access to a supply of vehicles, and is run on all days. There is a supply limitation in a location, and customers can see only a few cars, while in virtual auctions, there are thousands of cars available.

The company’s digital marketplace connects buyers and sellers of wholesale vehicles. Its 20-minute live auction facilitatesinstant vehicle transactions. The marketplace is accessible across multiple platforms, including mobile apps, the web, and directly through Application Programme Interface integration. The company also offers transportation, financing, and assurance services to facilitate the entire transaction journey, he said.

Mehta said there are 220 data points, including vehicle ID number, model mileage and service records for each vehicle. The company’s 800 inspectors across the US check thousands of vehicles daily, he said.

On selecting Chennai to set up the centre in India, Mehta said the city has a strong talent pool with domain knowledge in software, engineering and automobile; and a vibrant software as a service (SaaS) ecosystem . Through the company’s MAX Digital - a SaaS product - the company enables dealers to manage their inventory and set pricing effectively while turning vehicles faster and maximising profit. This is done by leveragjng predictive analytics through machine learning and market data, he said.