20 Mar 15

Johan Meyssen, CarsOnTheWeb: “Ex-lease volumes will decline again in 2016”

Johan Meyssen is a happy CEO. Not only did he recently celebrate the 10th anniversary of CarsOnTheWeb, his online B2B used-car auction house boasts some fine results. Last year, COTW sold as many as 28,000 vehicles to dealers and traders. COTW has offices in 5 European countries. “No one has more cross-border sales than we”, Meyssen says, confident 2015 will be another great year.

Fleet Europe: One of COTW's specialisms is selling off-lease cars. Will 2015 bring any new developments?
“This year we'll be signing European-wide cooperation contracts with two major leasing companies. This will involve us having direct access to the data for all their vehicles, at all their locations. This linking up of our IT platforms means concentrating real-time purchasing power. The ultimate result is that vehicles can be traded faster, and will get better prices”.
“Also on our to do list is buyer development: looking for additional sales markets, identifying new target groups. Adding up all our efforts should result in another 15 to 20% growth in volume this year”.

What are the key trends at play on the auction market, both today and in the near future?
“We see three clear trends. Firstly: The ongoing integration of IT platforms between sourcing partners - lease companies, OEMs – and auction partners. This provides important efficiency gains as well as the exceptional sales benefits we just discussed”.
“Secondly: We think the so-called C2B market is an important new target group. These are private persons using our auction services to sell to professional buyers. We've just initiated a pilot scheme for this segment with Autoscout24 in Belgium. If it's successful, we will probably roll out similar programs in Europe”.
“And thirdly: The undeniable, growing success of online auctions. And I'm not just talking about our company, the same goes for our colleagues. Given that we've got thousands of vehicles on our website at any given time, it becomes crucial to structure the data around your customer's purchasing habits. Big Data Management and Business Intelligence are increasingly important. They help us to get to know our customers, and more to the point: to know which types of cars they want to buy”.

In your opinion, which are the most important challenges facing the remarketing industry?
“For cross-border specialists like us, the red tape involved in moving cars from one country to another and registering them there is still a nightmare. Each country has different regulations, which on the one hand can be very specific, but on the other hand also very unclear”.
“Another constant challenge is the logistics part of the business, including the speed required to transport cars from A to B. And of course, the market offering is an inherent problem – we can only auction those cars that come to market. For example, we know that 2015 will see a lot of ex-lease cars entering the market, but that volume will decline again in 2016. So we'll need to look for new channels to provision ourselves”.


COTW: the first ten years




  • 2004: company founded
  • 2005: Daily auctions in Belgium
  • 2006: COTW Germany founded
  • 2007: COTW France, Spain & Italy founded
  • 2008: 10,000 vehicles sold
  • 2009: Further European development
  • 2010: ING Activator Fund & Ark Angels Fund invest in COTW
  • 2011: 20,000 vehicles sold
  • 2012: Massive growth (BeNeLux)
  • 2013: COTW Netherlands founded
  • 2014: 28,000 vehicles sold


Meet CEO Johan Meyssen

  • 2008 – present: CEO, CarsOnTheWeb
  • 2006 – 2008: Managing Director, Europcar Belgium
  • 1991 – 2006: Keddy Car & Truck Rental
  • 1989 – 1991: VanRam Associates
Authored by: Caroline Thonnon