PakWheels has become synonymous with online used car sales in Pakistan. It’s presence in the market for over a decade and a dedicated team has secured its #1 spot in the business. The website is yet another example of a successful online business started from a basement by a lone visionary. The website has become a lot more than a portal for trading used cars, and we’ll be exploring some of the newer and potential features.
How it works
When looking for a car, the initial search parameters available to potential buyers is the city, price, make and model of the car. Clicking on “Advanced Search” adds one more option: the version of the model. Once you are in the search results, you can filter the results with more parameters such as registration city, year, engine type, engine capacity, mileage, color, cars with pictures, body type, assembly (local/imported), transmission, seller type and whether it is a featured ad or not.
This detailed availability of search parameters makes PakWheels an excellent tool to find exactly what you want on the website without running into unnecessary distractions.
Once you have found a car that you are interested in pursuing further, you have the option of getting the seller’s cellphone number or message them via the website.
If you don’t find anything you liked or want to keep looking for better options, you have the option of creating an alert for your search which would notify you, at a frequency of your choice, about new ads matching your search criteria.
This is only the basic function of the website, which has a lot more information, news, discussion forums, accessories and spare parts sales, financing options and new car details available as well.
Sellers can pay a small fee for their ads to be marked as “Featured”, which puts their ads at the beginning of relevant searches. Dealerships (this seems like a newer feature) can also advertise their enterprises on the website via a “Featured Dealerships” section on the homepage.
The bigger source of revenue should be coming from the Google ads placed on the website.
One common complain about PakWheels is that the prices listed are higher than the actual market prices. This notion has seemed to write its own fate by encouraging sellers to continue this trend as buyers are expecting to automatically consider the listed price as inflated.
While the prospective buyers and sellers can have a good idea of what the PakWheels pricing is for a certain car given the year of manufacture and mileage, the website doesn’t assist in this analysis. It is like having a column of numbers in an Excel spreadsheet that is only available for viewing and not analysis.
PakWheels can fix that by summarizing the price information for different models in a similar style to the Kelley Blue Book website. This website provides a range of prices for a car based on its condition, year of manufacture and whether it is being sold by a private party or a dealer.
Another newer feature available on the website is verifying a car using its license plate number (through the government’s service). The information available (only for Punjab and KPK registered cars) is the car’s chassis number, engine number, make, model, price, registration date, manufacture year, color and tax status. Furthermore, it also lists out all the owners the car has had with their names, father’s name and city.
This online repository can help buyers check for any fake registration books or stolen cars, but the ease of it all also begs the question of privacy and potential misuse of the information. The part that is most worrying is the readily available information on the owner and their father’s name – while this might help verifying the ownership of the car you are about to buy, it also gives too much information to any interested parties. Perhaps a better way to show the information would be to only give the first or last name of the owner, and list the number of owners the car has had (which is a sign of quality in used cars). PakWheels distances itself from the source and veracity of the information, and is just acting as a portal to what’s available on the government’s own websites.
There are several new directions that the PakWheels seem to be exploring already. One of them is the PakWheels shop, which is all set in its platform but only being used for merchandise (only has three products listed). PakWheels can really explore this avenue by linking their portal with car spare parts dealers, mechanic shops and the likes. The accessories portal already has thousands of products listed and it shows that the portal can be used for much more than selling cars.
What PakWheels is already doing pretty well and should focus on even more is trying to make their website a one-stop shop for everything related to vehicles in Pakistan. Be it maintenance, repair, accessorizing, buying, selling, comparing, discussing, news – everything should ideally be catered by PakWheels.
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