BEIJING – Lentuo International Inc., a leading non-state-owned auto retailer headquartered in Beijing, said in a statement in March that it has signed an agreement with Sohu Auto, a leading online auto information provider, to create a fully integrated online-to-offline (O2O) platform for pre-owned cars.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lentuo will act as the exclusive aftersales service provider for pre-owned cars while Sohu Auto, a business unit of Internet portal Sohu.com Inc., will act as online marketing partner. The two parties plan to expand the platform to the rest of the country in the future, which is expected to expand Lentuo’s ability to reach a larger group of car buyers and allow it to meet the growing demand from younger Chinese who increasingly shop for cars on the Internet.
On the physical side of the platform, and as a first step, Lentuo announced on February 18 that it will convert an existing new car showroom in south Beijing into a fully integrated pre-owned flagship store for mid-to-high end cars that will privilege customer experience, reliability and extensive choice. The flagship store will employ state-of-the-art technological equipment and rely on Sohu’s IT systems to ensure the highest level of service quality and productivity.
The online side of the platform will leverage Sohu Auto’s technological know-how and extensive IT resources to continuously enhance the O2O platform and build big data analytical tools which will allow a comprehensive and highly focused leverage of its expansive user base.
“We are excited to team up with Sohu Auto to build a fully integrated online-to-offline platform for pre-owned cars in China,” said Hetong Guo, founder and chairman of Lentuo International. “This new platform will provide a one-stop shop and high quality customer experience in a hassle-free and highly professional environment. In addition to a streamlined information gathering and transacting process, customers will benefit from reliable certification as well as modern technical facilities and services, financing, and insurance.”
Lentuo operates 12 franchise dealerships, 10 automobile showrooms, one automobile repair shop and one car leasing company in China, while Sohu Auto operates two of the most influential websites dedicated to the Chinese auto market: auto.sohu.com and 2sc.sohu.com.