gears up
for January launch’s, Phil Morgan, was recently interviewed by MotorTrader

Orginially posted by John Kirwan,

MotoNovo is pushing ahead with plans for its new website, which is due for launch in January 2018.

Heading up the operation is Phil Morgan, a specialist in business to consumer website campaigns who was previously chief finance and operating officer at GoCompare, the insurance price comparison site. Morgan joined GoCompare initially as head of finance and risk and then progressed to become chief finance and operating officer. The six years at the group gave him broad experience in launching and running online businesses, hence his move to MotoNovo.

He is also, like MotoNovo, based in Wales. So, how close is to launch and what has moved on since we last spoke to MotoNovo divisional CEO Karl Werner back in April?

First up, the group launched a new version of MyCarLocator in late August. Like standard online classified websites it can offer menu driven search by make and model and other criteria like age and fuel type. But the new version also offers consumers who know nothing about cars the ability to put in searches based on lifestyle and car type and cost.

The site also has consumer content on cars and lifestyle, similar to what you see on other online classified websites and it is looking at offering other consumer services. Not surprising, given Morgan’s background on GoCompare, insurance could be one of the first services to be offered.

The website will get a soft launch in December before the official launch in early January.

This will give the opportunity to test systems and make sure the site is capable of dealing with the visitors generated by the advertising campaign which goes live in January. plans to spend £5m in the first six months and this will grow to £10m in its full year. The spend is being generated from dealers who pay £1.50 per car per week on site. This sort of money, Morgan argues, is big enough to launch the brand but may look at increasing that cost at a later stage to build business for dealers. The more money spent on advertising should translate into a greater viewing audience, higher conversions and more finance commissions.

“The price could increase to get even greater brand traction and that is something we would consider going forward. At the moment £1.50 is sufficient for brand actification,” he said.

The campaign itself is “totally joined-up” with TV advertising on ITV, Sky, Channel 4 as well as radio, outdoor advertising and Google Ad Words. Furthermore the jingle on TV will be distinctive and will stick; clearly a lesson learnt at GoCompare.

“We have a fairly distinctive tune which I can testify does work. You always know when your brand is cutting through when you are doing your supermarket shopping and hear a five-year-old singing your song,” he said..

“We have only been out there trying to convert dealers and a third of the dealers who signed letters of intent have actually signed contracts,” he said. argues that it is a site designed with the help of dealers, for dealers so it now has a dealer council on board which has met “once or twice” so far with another meeting planned prior to the December soft launch. MotoNovo has said in the past that it would be open for other finance houses to come on board. The aim, it said, to grow penetration levels for finance houses and dealers and stop direct lenders and others from taking the business.

“We are going to launch initially with MotoNovo Finance but we certainly have a number of lenders that operate outside of our risk profile that are very interested in coming on the site.

“We would not be averse to the likes of Black Horse and Barclays coming on. The whole proposition is to increase the current 20% market penetration. If that could go up to 30%, 40% or 50% with other lenders, that would benefit everybody. Dealers would be selling more cars and getting more commission and the consumers would be buying the cars they need with the finance they need,” he said.

MotoNovo came up with the idea of over a year ago but since then Auto Trader and Motors have made their own moves in the finance sector on their online classified websites. offers dealers the ability to add iVendi’s Quoteware and Car Finance Checker tools to their used vehicle adverts. And Auto Trader has partnered with Codeweavers to power dealer finance calculators on Auto Trader and Auto Trader dealer websites.

Has the market caught up with MotoNovo in the year it has taken to launch?

“We have seen a degree of reaction but I am not particularly worried at the moment because it seems a little incoherent and has not involved the dealers in arriving at the solution,” said Morgan.

One interesting development has been with a new trade body for used car dealers. said it has a strong relationship with the recently launched Independent Motor Dealers Association (IMDA), a not for profit trade body set up to look after the interests of non-franchised retailers.

“There is a very, very strong relationship there. We want to ensure there is a marketplace for independent dealers in the years to come,” said Morgan.

Contact us

MotoNovo Finance
One Central Square
CF10 1FS

0844 880 2401

14 + 1 =

motonovo finance logo
©2017 MotoNovo Finance.

MotoNovo Finance, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited (London Branch). Registered in England (Branch Reg. No: BR010027) at Austin Friars House, 2-6 Austin Friars, London, EC2N 2HD. FirstRand Bank Limited is authorised and regulated by the South African Reserve Bank. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. FirstRand Bank Limited (London Branch) is a branch of FirstRand Bank Limited, a public limited company registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission in South Africa (Reg. No. 1929/001225/06) Head office: 4 Merchant Place, Corner Fredman Drive and Rivonia Road, Sandton 2196, South Africa