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Auto Trader Group
Company type Public
FTSE 100 Component
IndustryAutomotive trading via Internet and mobile
Founders John Madejski, Paul Gibbons, Peter Taylor
England, UK
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
  • Ed Williams (chair­person)  Edit this on Wikidata
  • Nathan Coe ( CEO)
  • Catherine Faiers ( COO)
  • Jamie Warner ( CFO)
ProductsVehicle advertisements
RevenueIncrease £500.2 million (2023) [1]
Decrease £277.6 million (2023) [1]
Decrease £233.9 million (2023) [1]
SubsidiariesAutorama (acquired in 2022)

Carzone (former) (former)

Auto Trader Group plc, commonly known as Auto Trader, is a British automotive online marketplace and classified advertising business. It enables the buying and selling of new and used vehicles by private sellers and trade retailers. Auto Trader is listed on the London Stock Exchange trading under the ticker symbol AUTO, and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


Early history: twentieth century

Auto Trader was founded in 1975 by English businessman and car aficionado John Madejski. [2]

Auto Trader founder, John Madejski, pictured in 2009

Whilst on holiday in Florida, Madejski had seen a car sales magazine that included pictures of the vehicles on sale. [3] Realising the potential of the idea, together with his business partners Paul Gibbons and Peter Taylor he founded Thames Valley Trader in 1977. [4]

Initially, the magazine advertised anything and everything, from houses to cars and even aircraft, but it soon narrowed its focus to vehicles and was rebranded Auto Trader in 1988. The first title was followed by the publication of a second one, Southern Auto Trader. [5]

The company launched a website,, in 1996, giving people the ability to buy or sell a car online. Consumers could search for cars and other vehicles using their postcode. quickly became the most popular automotive website in the United Kingdom, by 2009 attracting 10.3 million unique users per month, on average. [6]

British international investment firm BC Partners bought a stake in the business from John Madejski in July 1998 for £260m; then Guardian Media Group, who had acquired Automart in 1982, merged that business with Hurst Publishing in May 2000 so creating Trader Media. [7]

21st century and evolution to digital only

Auto Trader launched a mobile website in 2002, initially using the WAP protocol. [8]

In July 2008, Auto Trader launched a .mobi site, [9] and in July 2009, separate versions for differing handset capability levels were released. [9]

Auto Trader developed its mobile offering further from March 2010, releasing applications enabling users to search for vehicles on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices using augmented reality features. [10]

In April 2011 a group called the Motor Traders Advertising Union launched an online petition and proposed a mass pull out by auto dealers who objected to an increase in the fee for a dealership to advertise a car, from £7 to £8.50, before any discounts for bulk advertisers. [11] [12] [13]

Sales of the print magazine dwindled in line with the decline of the print industry. By July 2012, circulation had dropped to an average of 87,000 copies a week [14] and down to 27,000 in March 2013. [15]

In June 2013, after thirty six years, the final editions of the printed magazine were published, with the company concentrating on its online business. [16]

In October 2013, (Auto Trader South Africa) a subsidiary of the Auto Trader Group, was sold off to become an independent South African company. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

In January 2014, Apax Partners bought the business from Guardian Media Group for £600m. [22]

In March 2014, the company rebranded, and became known as Auto Trader, [23] and in March 2015, Auto Trader Group launched an initial public offering, with a market capitalisation of about £2bn and floated on the London Stock Exchange on the FTSE250. [24]

In 2020 it was reported that Auto Trader had created a data lake and intelligence platform using services including Amazon Web Services and Google's Looker, and was working to foster a ‘culture of data’ internally by setting up a data academy for employees. [25]

Auto Trader launched a product called Retailer Stores in April 2021, which offers retailers their own customisable destination within the marketplace, and a product called Instant Cash Offer in August 2021, which provides consumers with an alternative to selling privately, with a ‘no-haggle’ cash price for their vehicle, free collection from their home, with no administration fees and immediate payment as soon as the offer is accepted. [26]

Auto Trader granted four months of free advertising to its retailer customers to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic. [27] [28]

In 2022, Auto Trader began a partnership with the Office for National Statistics sharing its used car pricing data to power its official measures of inflation, including the Consumer Prices Index. [29]

Also in 2022, Auto Trader acquired Autorama, owner of Vanarama, one of the UK’s largest transactional marketplaces for leasing new vehicles. [30] [31]


Auto Trader’s acquisitions
Company Year of acquisition Acquired company’s activities
TNT Group 2000 [32] Publisher of titles for Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans in the UK 2005 [33] Website for motor dealers and consumers in Ireland
2nd Byte 2006 [34] Provides used car digital marketing services to car manufacturers and franchised dealers
Deltapoint Associates 2012 [35] Automotive intelligence solutions
Motor Trade Delivery 2017 [36] Vehicle moving service
Dealer Auction 2018 [37] Formed a joint venture with Cox Automotive providing an online B23B auction platform for cars
KeeResources 2019 [38] Provider of software, vehicle data, and digital solutions to the automotive industry
AutoConvert 2020 [39] Finance, insurance and compliance software platform
Autorama 2022 [40] Online vehicle leasing platform

Marketplace and products

Online marketplace

At the core of Auto Trader is its online marketplace, where consumers buy and sell cars and other vehicles, and where car dealerships advertise and sell their stock, both new and used, to consumers. Retailers pay to advertise vehicles, and consumers also pay a fee unless the transaction is less than £1,000. [41] website

The Auto Trader website was ranked first in the UK in the vehicles category by Similarweb and Eighth globally in January 2024. [42]

Mobile app

As of February 2024, Auto Trader's mobile app had ratings of 4.8/5 [43] on the Apple App Store and 4.2/5 on Google Play. [44]

YouTube channel

Auto Trader operates a YouTube channel where it publishes videos such as car reviews, car comparisons, drag races, and buying guides. Television presenter and automotive journalist Rory Reid joined Auto Trader as YouTube Director in December 2019, and fronts the videos on the channel. [45]

As of February 2024, the channel had 1.09m subscribers and had an accumulated 287,177,933 video views. [46]

Diversity, inclusion and social good

Auto Trader are one of only three FTSE100 companies to have 50:50 gender parity on their Board, and were ranked UK’s 7th Inclusive Top 50 Employer 2020/21. [47] The company makes regular contributions to Ben, a charity which provides support to the people of the UK's automotive industry. [48] [49]

Focus on sustainable mobility

Auto Trader has a dedicated electric vehicle hub and in 2021 began giving away an EV to consumers every month. [50] Auto Trader regularly shares its data and insight with the UK Government helping to shape the policies required to further the mass adoption of electric vehicles. At COP26 in 2021, Auto Trader launched the first Automotive Carbon Literacy Toolkit, which was funded and developed in partnership with the Carbon Literacy Trust, and designed with leading retailers and manufacturers. [51] [52]

The business also has a wider environmental strategy that includes a net zero carbon emissions goal and several other initiatives. [53]


  1. ^ a b c "Full year results for the year ended 31 March 2023" (PDF). Autotrader. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Auto Trader valued at £2.35bn". Manchester Evening News. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Paul Gibbons Reveals How He Launched Auto Trader, And Why He's Now Moved Onto Golf Resorts". Huffington Post. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Private equity driver gears up for Auto Trader flotation". The Independent. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Sixthings we will miss about Auto Trader Magazine". 22 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. ^ "AutoTrader web site switches to Linux". 12 August 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
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  17. ^ "Good management leads to proudly South African product". Sowetan Live. 15 October 2013.
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  20. ^ "Fundamentals for Auto Trader Group Ord 150p Wi". The Telegraph. 1 December 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2021.
  21. ^ "How to sell your car". Auto Advice. 17 February 2014.
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  23. ^ Haggerty, Angela (12 March 2014). "Trader Media Group to change name to Auto Trader as company streamlines brands under unified digital banner". TheDrum. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  24. ^ Mance, Henry (15 March 2015). "Auto Trader confirms plans for £2bn initial public offering". The Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  25. ^ Derek, du Preez (30 July 2020). "Auto Trader is creating a 'culture of data' to democratise data use internally". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  26. ^ Seymour, Tom (11 November 2021). "Auto Trader half-year operating profits up 121% to £151.7m". Retrieved 15 December 2021. "Auto Trader launched its Instant Cash Offer service in August, which has provided consumers with an alternative to selling privately, with a 'no-haggle' cash price for their car, free home collection, no administration fees and immediate payment as soon as the offer is accepted. These cars are then made available through Dealer Auction, enabling any retailer to add this as a source of used car retail stock."
  27. ^ "Auto Trader continues fee freeze as coronavirus lockdown extends into May". 17 April 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  28. ^ Davies, Ellis (6 January 2021). "Auto Trader to provide free advertising in response to latest lockdown". Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  29. ^ Sands, Helen (28 June 2022). "Using Auto Trader car listings data to transform consumer price statistics, UK". Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  30. ^ Gareth, Robert (22 March 2022). "Auto Trader buys Vanarama owner Autorama". Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Auto Trader Group Plc Announces Acquisition Of Autorama (UK) Limited". Retrieved 10 December 2022.
  32. ^ "Free weekly title TNT Magazine celebrates 25 years". Campaign Live. 17 November 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  33. ^ Micheau, Ed (17 September 2005). "Guardian Media Group drives €5m takeover of Carzone motor website". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  34. ^ "Auto Trader Improves Searches and Provides Boost for New Car Advertisers". Retrieved 15 December 2022. "B2B brands included in the Trader Media Group stable include: Auto Trader, RAZSOR, 2nd Byte and Autotrade-mail"
  35. ^ "Deltapoint Drives Forward Auto Trader Deal". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  36. ^ "Auto Trader snaps up Macclesfield-based Motor Trade Delivery". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  37. ^ Davis, Ellis (15 January 2020). "Cox and Auto Trader collaborate on Dealer Auction wholesale platform". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  38. ^ Roberts, Gareth (2 October 2019). "KeeResources bought by Auto Trader Group". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  39. ^ Sharpe, Tom (31 July 2020). "Auto Trader looks to automate car sales journey with AutoConvert acquisition". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  40. ^ Roberts, Gareth (22 March 2022). "Auto Trader buys Vanarama owner Autorama". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  41. ^ Steiner, Rupert (7 May 2021). "Auto Trader's Growth Is Accelerating Online. That Will Drive the Stock Up". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  42. ^ "Similar Web".
  43. ^ "Auto Trader on Apple".
  44. ^ "Auto Trader on Google Play".
  45. ^ Woodhouse, Andrew (12 December 2019). "Ex Top Gear host Rory Reid joins AutoTrader". Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  46. ^ "Auto Trader YouTube Channel". 23 February 2024.
  47. ^ "Inclusive Companies Case Study: Auto Trader". 14 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  48. ^ de Prez, Matt (9 December 2021). "Auto Trader donates £55k to Ben". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  49. ^ Sharpe, Tom (24 November 2020). "Auto Trader donates £55k to Ben". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  50. ^ "Electric cars". p. Electric Cars. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  51. ^ "Why Carbon Literacy for the Automotive sector?". 16 November 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2022. "This Toolkit development has been completed by The Carbon Literacy Project, with the support and funding of Auto Trader."
  52. ^ de Prez, Matt (9 November 2021). "Auto Trader launches Automotive Carbon Literacy toolkit for automotive businesses". Retrieved 15 December 2022. "Auto Trader is launching a new Automotive Carbon Literacy Toolkit to help dealers and automotive businesses reduce their carbon footprint."
  53. ^ "Our Environment". 10 October 2022. Retrieved 15 December 2022. "The impact of climate change is posing an ever-increasing threat. The UK Government has a target to become net zero by 2050. As a responsible business Auto Trader has a role to play in reaching this goal and we are committed to reaching net zero by 2040. Developing a climate resilient strategy aligned to the UK's ambitious environmental targets which considers the risks and opportunities of climate change is essential in order to protect our business from the impact of climate change. At Auto Trader, climate change is treated as a Board-level governance issue. Our newly formed Corporate Responsibility Committee evidences our commitment to drive improvements in our environmental and wider sustainability performance and ensure as a business we are making real progress with our environmental commitments."

External links