Cazoo goes into administration – but what brought the online car retailer to this point?
May 31st, 2024, Steve Hatch

Cazoo goes into administration – but what brought the online car retailer to this point?

Cazoo fell into administration last week, after cutting 728 jobs earlier this year. The news came just three years after the digital used car retailer was listed on the New York Stock Exchange for $8 billion. 

So what brought Cazoo to this point? Experts have highlighted the fundamental differences between cars and other products you might buy online – or, as former Porsche MD Kevin Gaskell said, a failure to gain traction in a “very sophisticated, very established market.”

YouGov BrandIndex data shows that, compared to other companies in the car sales, services, and fuel industry, Cazoo’s Ad Awareness scores – which measure whether the public have seen or heard an advertisement for a brand in the past two weeks – are at 7.2 compared to a sector-wide average of 2.9. Given the online retailer’s high-profile investments in advertising and marketing (including, at one point, simultaneous sponsorships of both Everton and Aston Villa) it makes sense that consumer consciousness of the brand’s advertising would be higher.

But these investments haven’t necessarily helped Cazoo get ahead of the competition. Net perceptions of the brand’s Quality, on a –100 to +100 scale, are in the negatives at -1.2; across the industry, they are at 6.4. At -0.9, Cazoo’s Value for Money scores are also lower compared to the sector average of 1.1. This may contribute to a gap in Impression scores, which measure general sentiment towards a brand: these are at -0.5 for Cazoo, and 4.6 for car sales, services, and fuel brands on average. 

Overall brand health, as measured by our Index score metric, sits at -0.6 compared to 4.0 for the industry. 

A challenger brand will often face an uphill battle against incumbents who have resources, name recognition, and longevity, among other advantages. Sometimes, as with Netflix or Monzo, the battle is successful; at other times, the challenges may be too great. Cazoo’s marketplace model is reportedly attracting interest from potential suitors, but it is now up to the administrators to decide whether the brand has run out of road.

This article originally appeared in City AM.