Bignition continues expansion


RICHMOND, B.C. – Auto Trader Corp. and Bignition has quietly announced a new partnership they hope will soon change the way dealers do business.

The partial acquisition sees the two operating as partners in the same company, with Auto Trader “extending its resources in terms of marketing power and great product enhancement,” to Bignition.

How this manifests itself has not been made completely clear yet, but Derek Rathbun, director of business development for Bignition, says it will allow the West Coast-based dealer inventory network to integrate with a number of other products dealers use already.

“For example, if a dealer uses a lead management system, our new partnership with Auto Trader means we can now automatically match leads with inventory on the network. A lot of things now that is a two step process for dealers using our product and another product will become one step.”

Rathbun says that dealers who subscribe to numerous technology services – web provider, leads management system, inventory analysis system – along with all their advertising can get “overwhelmed.”

He said that a lot of these systems are dependent on another to allow for “full value.”

“But our vision with Auto Trader is to eliminate the piecemeal services and collaborate so that all the systems that touch each other can function seamlessly together,” he says.

Bignition launched in the fall of 2008 essentially as a dealer-to-dealer transaction platform. After growth in the west with franchised dealers, the auction-alternative has moved east and expanded its technology offerings in kind.

The company says roughly 40 per cent of Alberta’s franchised dealers are Bignition members and that the 300-strong dealer base now includes representation in Ontario.

For current members, he says this partnership will lead to an “evolution” of the system as it gets a significant push into the market.

“The main complaint we get from members is that we need more market penetration. This partnership is really going to help perpetuate that… and for the dealers that subscribe to Auto Trader and Bignition, it will consolidate these services, which will be a major value add for them.”

The deal was completed around mid-September. Rathbun says the first phase of integrated product will be brought into the market in Q1 of 2011 and more details are expected to emerge near the end of this year.