Auto Trader (UK)

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This article is about British Auto Trader website. For the television programme shown on the Discovery Channel in the UK, see Auto Trader (Television Programme).
Auto Trader
Industry Automotive trading via Internet and mobile
Founded 1975
Founder John Madejski, Paul Gibbons
Headquarters Manchester, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Area served
United Kingdom, Ireland,
Key people
Trevor Mather (CEO)
Products Vehicle advertisements.
Owner Apax Partners
Number of employees

Auto Trader is an automotive classified website located in the United Kingdom, owned by Trader Media Group. It specialises in new and second hand automotive sales, including cars sold by private sellers and trade dealers.


Main article: Trader Media Group

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. The 'Auto Trader Concept' was founded in America. John Madejski brought this idea back from the USA, and set up Hurst Publishing with Paul Gibbons in 1977.

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. Guardian Media Group approached Hurst, with intentions of launching similar titles in the North of England, rather than competing head to head. Gradually, a group of classified advertising titles evolved that were either wholly owned by Hurst or by Guardian Media Group, or jointly owned by the two organisations. In July 1998, the two partners in Hurst sold part of their business to the specialist European venture capitalists BC Partners, who approached Guardian Media Group and proposed a merger to form a new company. Trader Media Group was launched in May 2000.

In 2014 the company rebranded and is now known as Auto Trader UK. In March 2015, Auto Trader Group confirmed its intention to launch an initial public offering with a market capitalisation of between £2bn-£2.5bn. [1]

Printed magazine[edit]

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,[2] and down to 27,000 in March 2013.[3]

In June 2013, after 36 years, the final editions of the printed magazine were published, with the company concentrating on its online business.[4]

Website[edit] 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[5] unique users per month.

In September 2009 Auto Trader overhauled their website. Some of the changes received a negative response from consumers and so since then the website has been undergoing a programme of continuous improvement, becoming more straight forward and focussing on tools for buying and selling cars rather than on editorial content. Auto Trader has used their own consumer feedback on the site to shape the changes they made.


Auto Trader has had a mobile (WAP) site since 2002.[6] In July 2008 Auto Trader launched a .mobi site[7] and in July 2009 they launched separate versions[7] for differing handset capability levels. Auto Trader developed their mobile offering further in March 2010 when they released an app[8] making it easier for users to search for cars on their iPhone or iPod touch. Further releases now cover android and iPad devises


External links[edit]