Auto Trader Group

This article is about the British Auto Trader website. For the television programme shown on the Discovery Channel in the UK, see Auto Trader (TV series).
Auto Trader Group
Traded as LSE: AUTO
Industry Automotive trading via Internet and mobile
Founded 1975
Founder John Madejski, Paul Gibbons
Headquarters Manchester, United Kingdom
Area served
United Kingdom, Ireland,
Key people
Ed Williams (Chairman)
Trevor Mather (CEO)
Products Vehicle advertisements
Revenue £255.9 million (2015)[1]
£133.1 million (2015)[1]
£10.4 million (2015)[1]

Auto Trader Group plc is an automotive classified advertising business. It specialises in new and second hand automotive sales, including cars sold by private sellers and trade dealers. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The founder of Auto Trader in the United Kingdom was John Madejski in 1975, who went on to take over Reading Football Club in 1991.[2] John Madejski brought this idea back from the USA, and set up the business with Paul Gibbons in 1977.[3]

The first Auto Trader to be established was Hurst's Thames Valley Trader in 1977. This was followed by the publication of a second title, Southern Auto Trader, which launched in 1981; the business was then known as Hurst Publishing.[4]

European venture capitalists BC Partners bought a stake in the business from John Madejsk in 1998 for £260m; then Guardian Media Group, who had acquired Automart in 1982, merged that business with Hurst Publishing in May 2000 so creating Trader Media.[5]

In 2011 the business became the focus of an online petition by a group called the Motor Traders Advertising Union, proposing a mass pull out by UK motor dealers frustrated by increases in advertising charges.[6][7][8] In October 2013, (Auto Trader South Africa) a subsidiary of the Auto Trader Group was sold off to become an independent South African company.[9][10][11][12][13]

Then in January 2014 Apax Partners bought the business from Guardian Media Group for £600m.[14] In March 2014 the company re-branded and became known as Auto Trader[15] and in March 2015 Auto Trader Group launched an initial public offering with a market capitalisation of about £2bn.[16]


Printed magazine

The magazine was published weekly in a number of regional editions. Circulation peaked at 368,000 in January 2000, dropping to an average of 87,000 copies a week in 2012,[17] and down to 27,000 in March 2013.[18] In June 2013, after 36 years, the final editions of the printed magazine were published, with the company concentrating on its online business.[19]

Website was launched in 1996 allowing users to buy or sell a car online. The site allows users to search for cars and other motor vehicles using their postcode. the UK's busiest automotive web site which attracts some 10.3 million unique users per month.[20]


Auto Trader has had a mobile, initially a Wireless Application Protocol site, since 2002.[21] In July 2008 Auto Trader launched a .mobi site[22] and in July 2009 they launched separate versions for differing handset capability levels.[22] Auto Trader developed their mobile offering further from March 2010 when they released applications for users to search for vehicles using a Windows Mobile, iOS or Android device.[23]


  1. 1 2 3 "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Autotrader. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  2. "Sir John Madejski: A millionaire politician but without the politics". The Telegraph. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  3. "Paul Gibbons Reveals How He Launched Auto Trader, And Why He's Now Moved Onto Golf Resorts". Huffington Post. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  4. "Sixthings we will miss about Auto Trader Magazine". 22 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  5. "GMG finds £600m deal in Auto Trader". 7 August 2003. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  6. James Ashton and Ed Kemp (24 April 2011). "Auto Trader faces fee row". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  7. Hutchinson, Curtis (26 April 2011). "Auto Trader faces dealer boycott". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  8. Baggott, James (November 2, 2011). "MTAU & Auto Trader clash". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  9. "Good management leads to proudly South African product". Sowetan Live. October 15, 2013.
  10. "Auto Trader confirms plans for £2bn initial public offering". The Financial Times. March 9, 2015.
  11. "Trader Media Group buoyed by digital growth". The Guardian. November 28, 2011.
  12. "Fundamentals for Auto Trader Group Ord 150p Wi". The Telegraph. December 1, 2015.
  13. "How to sell your car". Auto Advice. February 17, 2014.
  14. Christopher Williams, and Ashley Armstong (21 Jan 2014). "Guardian Media Group gets £600m for AutoTrader stake". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  15. Haggerty, Angela (12 March 2014). "Trader Media Group to change name to Auto Trader as company streamlines brands under unified digital banner". TheDrum. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  16. Mance, Henry (March 15, 2015). "Auto Trader confirms plans for £2bn initial public offering". The Financial Times. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  17. Rushton, Katherine (1 July 2012). "Auto Trader to be axed". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  18. Clancy, Rebecca (7 May 2013). "Auto Trader print edition to stop as focus shifts to digital". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  19. "Auto Trader to be axed". The Telegraph. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  20. "AutoTrader web site switches to Linux". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  21. "Digital: Auto Trader eyes WAP site revamp". Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  22. 1 2 "Autotrader to revamp its mobile site". Mobile Industry Review. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  23. "Auto-Trader app brings augmented reality features to second-hand car hunting". Tech Digest. Retrieved 13 June 2015.

External links

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