Supermarket juggernaut Tesco has closed its online used car business, just one year after opening it to great fanfare.
The company says it was forced to finish the venture because it could not get its corporate claws on enough used cars. It had expected to shift up to 3,000 cars per week, but reportedly was selling as few as 150 per month towards the end. It had made redundancies in December.
Tesco actually only had a 25% stake in the company, which was established when the supermarket bought into online retailer Carsite in 2010, and re-branded it.
It was assumed that the power of the Tesco brand would be enough to propel the business straight into the upper echelons of the used car game.
Alas not, and the site's homepage now has a series of tips for customers that have bought cars with the company, or were about to, or who maybe are just a little disappointed that the whole thing hasn't worked out.
The page includes the following explanation:
We started Tesco Cars in good faith and we always aim to do a good job for customers. However, following a review of the business model we and Carsite, our partner, have decided that we cannot offer customers a satisfactory range of vehicles and as a result, have decided it is right to close the business.
According to Car Dealer Magazine, the issue was both the volume and type of cars that Tesco could (or couldn't) get its hands on. Its major suppliers were car lease company Leaseplan and Motability.
An 'inside source' quoted in Car Dealer said that Tesco was getting "boring Ford and Vauxhalls - not the sort of cars you'd want to be selling in any great numbers, or could sell in any great numbers...supermarkets should stick to selling food."