By Eric Cheng
There is a podcast version of this article below.
It has been an interesting six years building Carsome into what we are today. We have been on a journey to digitise Southeast Asia’s used car industry and elevate the car buying and selling experience through innovation and technology.
Over the years, we faced many challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought along a new set of obstacles. Most of us would know people who are struggling, be it financially, mentally or physically in these hard-hitting times. I have been lucky to meet so many people from all walks of life through my role at Carsome, and I’d like to believe that we are doing our utmost best in each encounter to help those we met.
Carsome was built based on this idea to help consumers have a better experience when buying and selling cars. Ultimately, we want to support people to move forward in their lives, even if it means helping those in need and believing that we can make a difference by supporting the community in meaningful ways. We want to be part of a thriving community that beats the odds together.
Taking care of our people
During these difficult times, fellow Carsomers have shown true loyalty in ensuring that the business runs as smoothly as it can, notwithstanding the challenges of working from home, lockdown restrictions and at the same time battling a pandemic that threatens our health.
They are the backbone of Carsome, and their health and safety are our top priority. With this in mind, we recently launched our very own employee vaccination drive to ensure the safety of both our employees and our customers.
The initiative helps our employees, who have not already secured appointments through the national vaccination program, get their vaccination faster. It also helps us play a part in helping the country reach herd immunity and return to some sort of normalcy in our daily lives.
At the time of writing, close to 150 Carsome Malaysia employees and Carsome Academy students have or will be vaccinated through this initiative. We are also extending our vaccine supplies to our partners across the chain to help them get vaccinated at a faster rate so that we can work together to ensure the safety of everyone in the entire used car ecosystem – from suppliers, retailers to customers – and keep each other protected.
Helping businesses get back on their feet
As much as it affects individuals and families, the pandemic has also hit many businesses hard. So we came up with the Used Car Dealers Buy-Back Program, where we help our partner-dealers by buying back the cars they bought from Carsome, at the same price they paid.
To date, under the program, we have bought back cars from more than 10 dealers at a total value of close to RM1 million. Through this program, we hope to help our partner dealers maintain cash flow and liquidity to continue sustaining their businesses through this pandemic.
Giving our youths a little push in the early days of their careers
Then there are fresh graduates – what a challenging time to enter the working world. Many need a car to get to their first jobs – especially at a time where private vehicle ownership is preferred out of hygiene and safety concerns – and the reality is that with no credit history, it is hard to get a loan approved by conventional banks.
We decided to give these graduates a little boost through our graduate auto-financing program. As long as they graduated in the last five years with at least a degree, all they need is an employment offer letter and a comfort guarantor with no minimum requirements, something different from the traditional guarantor required by common banks, to get a loan to purchase a Carsome Certified car. We hope with this financing product, graduates will be able to move forward in life with one less hurdle.
Caring for the community where we operate in
Amid all our day-to-day challenges, it is easy to forget that we have already endured nearly two years of the pandemic, and everyone faces difficulties of a different kind. A recent country-wide movement that caught our attention was #BenderaPutih, which calls upon those desperately in need of help to display a white flag outside their homes.
Despite facing struggles of their own, many Malaysians rose to the occasion to help. This reminded us that humanity is not lost, and inspired us to support the #BenderaPutih initiative.
To aid the cause, we began an internal donation drive to buy essentials for our 48 volunteers to deliver to those in need. We also collaborated with SESO, a local non-profit enterprise against food poverty. As their transportation partner, we have been helping SESO to deliver food and supplies to various Klang Valley locations they identified. Just last weekend, we sent out more than 100 care packages courtesy of HappyFresh, to those in need.
Make it #CarsomeCares
We have been humbled by many stories of families in need, businesses trying to stay afloat and some businesses having to close down in these difficult times. #CarsomeCares reminds us of our caring and compassionate core, which we channel through our initiatives to help society as best we can, and we welcome everybody to join us.
I am very proud of the Carsome family and their strong support for #CarsomeCares; this reverberates with what the company believes all around. I look forward to doing more with Carsomers in this regard – let us all get through this, together.
About the Author: Eric Cheng (pictured above) is the Co-Founder and Group CEO of Carsome.This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.