A review and outlook: The merger and vision of Manheim Express and pkwNOW

The time is almost here. The culmination of my team’s hard work in the technological fusion of two platforms driven by a shared vision.

But let’s start at the beginning of the story. When I became aware of the potential in B2B used car sales due to advancing digitalization, I decided to start a business in 2010. In doing so, I saw myself as a link between contract and used car dealers, and existing used tools. In the years that followed, the desire for a new and smart B2B trading solution grew.  The foundation for this was laid in 2015 with the market launch of pkwNOW. The platform did real pioneering work in various areas, such as digital reservation clarification or pickup tracking via smartphone. As it progressed, pkwNOW continued to develop thanks to great employees, customers, and partners, and became a permanent fixture in the B2B auction business. But as success grew, so did responsibility. pkwNOW was now faced with the challenge of continuing to innovate and be dynamic while also maintaining the stability and consistency to ensure a successful future. The expansion of the company was therefore in focus at this time, when Sebastian Fuchs (Managing Director Manheim Europe) called me at the beginning of 2020 and asked for an open exchange. Sebastian had launched Manheim Express in Germany in the spring of 2020 and the first telephone conversation was so positive that we agreed to meet in person. 

In subsequent conversations, Sebastian outlined to me the ambitious and innovative vision for Manheim Express and also introduced me to the parent company, Cox Automotive. Thanks to the company’s size, Cox offers an enormously stable economic basis, but at the same time has a deeply rooted and family-oriented foundation of values.  

We talked about the potential and benefits of our two platforms, such as the use of AI (artificial intelligence) at Manheim Express and our shared vision of what it could be used for in the future. Conversely, we agreed that pkwNOW, as an established company could provide valuable expertise to ensure a fast market entry for Manheim Express.

“We had the same vision.”

We quickly realized that a merger of both platforms would create a win-win-win situation for our customers, for Manheim Express, and for pkwNOW. Sebastian and I were in agreement – we had the same vision.

The end of the story is quickly told. Cox Automotive acquired pkwNOW in the summer of 2021. The next step was to combine the technical requirements, features, and functions. The pkwNOW platform is feature-rich but was reaching its limits. But the Manheim Express platform is only at the beginning of its technical capabilities.

We are currently in the final phase of the technological merger and by the end of this year we will be able to process all transactions via the Manheim Express platform.
This is the last step on the way to the merger and I am firmly convinced that the companies will ideally complement each other in their strengths and lay the foundations for our goals of helping to shape the future of the automotive trade, resolutely expanding the business in Central Europe, mastering all challenges together and developing new talents and innovations in the process.
But why? Because we are united by a common vision – “We are driving our future together.”

Rick Cebulla
Director Manheim Express
(Founder pkwNOW)

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