Why 'Cars and Bids' by Doug Demuro is such a big deal
The star power of Doug combined with a new entry into the boutique online car auction house is a sure fire bet to be BaT's new enemy.
I definitely enjoy seeing things like this for sale. I want to buy it just to impress my children. Image from Cars & Bids (carsandbids.com)
The man of many 'quirks and features' has decided to wade into the depths of the online automotive auction house with 'Cars & Bids'. We now have a site I believe is the first true competitor to Bring-A-Trailer (BaT). The market was ripe for another price influencer, but will Cars & Bids be the Ying to the BaT Yang?
In his announcement video Doug states the Cars & Bids (C&B) is geared towards cars from the 1980s and newer, as those are the cars he "likes the most". Doug continues that he wants the site to become the "default marketplace to buy and sell cool cars from the modern era". This is no doubt a tall order, but one that few people - other than Mr. Demuro - could pull off.
Doug has even enlisted the assistance of Tyler Hoover (Hoovie's Garage YouTube) and sold his Phantom on C&B. Image from Cars & Bids (carsandbids.com)
Every industry needs a great rivalry
The connection between a BaT and C&B rivalry is nothing less than obvious. Both are online automotive auction houses, and both are geared towards high quality, unusual or popular segments. Where these two differ is in the origins of BaT versus C&B.
BaT began with an email blog from site founder Randy Nonnenberg. In the beginning it was truly about cars for sale that NEEDED a trailer. I remember getting the email and looking through all the gold the site dug up on forums and sales ads about cars that generally needed quite a bit of work.
Evolution being a necessary evil, BaT slowly transformed into the site you see today. The numbers behind its success are staggering. An article by the 'New York Times' really hit the nail on the head when quantifying the BaT model.
2 million monthly visitors
100,000 registered bidders
Total sales of $230 million in 2019
11,000 vehicles listed last year (275 per week average)
Consider these stats for BaT when you hear that Hagerty has reported an overall cooling of the collector car market. The car nerds that like to chat have proved the BaT model is certainly a profitable one.
A cheap car for sale on a boutique auction house! This sold for $2,000. Image from Cars & Bids (carsandbids.com)
It isn't all just about money (or is it?)
The $230,000,000 slice of the automotive collector pie BaT has attained surely has enough cream on top to be shared. Even a small disruption to their model and 'loss' of business to C&B shouldn't be devastating, but at some point it could be.
Where BaT has succeeded and where C&B needs to follow is with the participation. There is a camaraderie among bidders and commenters only bested by the most loyal forums. I'd even argue that BaT is more forum than auction house due to the loyal participation. The shear amount of discussion, arguing, and storytelling should be enough for any enthusiasts to browse through listings. The participation is thick and juicy.
If C&B can emulate a participation anything close to BaT, it should be a no-brainer success. We might not see a BaT level of numbers, but no one involved will be headed to the poor house for investing into the site by any means.
Screen capture of Doug Demuro YouTube on Cars & Bids announcement.
The employees and star power will make it or break it
Doug is a genius for using his star power to do what he wants to do, not what he could do. With over 3.6m YouTube subscribers I'd assume businesses are throwing cash at him asking him to influence their product or cause. What makes Doug smart is that he isn't folding to the dollar - he's sticking to his niche.
The star power of our favorite automotive-nerd Mr. Demuro feels authentic. It is something BaT doesn't have. Outside of the very inner circles or people researching BaT, I don't know anyone who knows their founder Randy Nonnenberg. Just like you're more liable to buy a car from a celebrity, you're more likely to use C&B if you're a fan of Doug Demuro.
Obviously though, Mr. Demuro isn't the one writing every 'for sale' ad on C&B as that would be impossible considering his already non-stop ability to create new content. The employees at C&B will be vital as we've seen how tenacious BaT is with their reserve estimates and research into the cars they allow to be sold through their site.
Both sites are positioned to be the go to sites for years to come. Doug believes in the site so much as that his Mercedes was the first sacrificial lamb slaughtered for the feast. Just like BaT, we can see the sold prices, and the Mercedes didn't disappoint. It sold for $35,000. That's a lot of money for a car formerly owned by the man of 'quirks and features'.