Alexander Katsuba on the decision to buy two major Ukrainian automotive businesses, its influence, progress, and relevant results.
Let me start by saying that I have always loved cars. And I was lucky to be able to buy them. My first car was a red LuAZ 969. My father and I once saw it, and he eventually bought this red all-terrain vehicle and put it at his grandfather’s. Driving it was my first car experience.
I still most fondly remember that car. After the war ends, I want to find, buy, and restore one. My full-fledged car, though, which I started to drive every day, was the Subaru Impreza WRX. I think this choice of a car says a lot about whether I like to drive. But besides emotions and personal interest, a decision like buying autocentre.ua requires business logic.
My partner and I, when we launched our microcredit services across several countries, thought about the direction to grow further. The next logical step after microcredits would be a full-fledged bank or a service of a similar scale. The bank was a huge and inaccessible investment for us, though. But a singular service – we could take on it.
Going for the local automotive market opportunities
So we have carefully studied the car leasing market, which has sort of been dead in Ukraine since 2008. The related service, however, totally had the right to live in the existing automotive market. And we decided that the leasing of cars in the price range, say, 7-10-15 thousand dollars can be in demand. Both for personal use and for business.
We decided to try it and immediately took up business modeling and marketing. The idea appeared to buy a portal in the profile area. Autocentre readers are an excellent audience of potential customers. Interested in cars. Payable. We have recently completed the paperwork, and now Autocentre “owns” the avtobazar.ua project.
These projects make up a powerful tool when combined. The autocentre.ua is a content portal whose info can be completed with the avtobazar.ua classifications to contribute to both a leasing project and the market of cars, spare parts, and auto services as a whole.
Through the Autocenter, a common understanding of the service or product characteristics are formed, all the pros and cons are analyzed, an opinion is composed, and a buyer request is generated. Meanwhile, avtobazar.ua hosts real tools for converting these needs into leads.
Pure business profit
We managed to launch before the war reached Kyiv under the MYAVTO brand. We planned to launch in other big cities in 2022, but so far, everything has been put on pause. A significant part of the cars that we leased out in the first days of March remained in Bucha and Irpin, where a vast majority of the capital’s middle class traditionally lives. Those are our key customers.
Most of these vehicles can no longer be brought back to normal. Both our investors and ourselves understand that now we cannot take risks, and the project has to be frozen. Because giving loans of 3,000 hryvnias is one thing, and leasing cars is a different scale and a completely different business.
Are we going to sell autocentre.ua? Of course not. This is an independent business project that successfully lives its own life. And we will return to the issue of leasing after our victory. I think after the war, the demand for specialized media will grow in the country, so Autocentre can still become another successful business case.
Stay tuned for more Katsuba files, more firsthand insights, and more updates coming soon.