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Carvana's Wide-Open Opportunities for Expansion

By Motley Fool Staff – Nov 28, 2018 at 11:04AM

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The tiny used-car retailer is racing to grab market share in a fragmented industry.

Online used-car dealer Carvana (CVNA -7.35%) recently celebrated a milestone of 100,000 cars sold cumulatively since its formation in 2012. Of course, the company's sales are a tiny fraction of the millions of used cars sold annually in the U.S.

As Industry Focus: Consumer Goods host Vincent Shen puts it, "Almost $800 billion in used car sales in 2017, and just 7% of the market was claimed by the top 100 largest used-auto retailers." Click below to watch Vincent and Fool.com contributor Asit Sharma discuss Carvana's opportunities to claim a bigger slice of the used-car market going forward.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Nov. 20, 2018.

Vincent Shen: In this next part of the show, I'd like to look a little bit ahead to the horizon at some of the growth opportunities for this company. Currently, Carvana is in 82 markets. They have 14 Vending Machines in the U.S. right now. The company says that they should be within reach by the end of 2018 of 56% of the U.S. population. In terms of the runway and the geographic markets that Carvana can tap into, the company's focused on the 200 markets in the U.S. with populations over 200,000 people. Its current footprint, I was looking at the map, seems more concentrated in the South, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic regions. There's definitely the opportunity for it to expand to other big markets within the United States.

It has a very repeatable model for doing that. Management mentioned how it costs the company just $500,000 to establish a delivery-only market, while a Vending Machine runs $5 million. But, with the Vending Machines, despite that increased investment, they're seeing that the launch of a Vending tower in a market will accelerate the results there. It's brand-building. Brand-building in a location that gets a lot of attention, it builds some buzz in those local markets.

Supporting the triple-digit growth that this company has been able to deliver, Carvana is also building a lot of the infrastructure it needs to accommodate all of this expansion. In the process, they're hoping to also reduce the time and cost of transportation to buyers by expanding the national footprint. There's going to be a new inspection and reconditioning center that'll go live in Indiana in 2019. That'll be the fifth one. It expands the annual capacity for the company to handle about 250,000 vehicles. That's over 2.5X the expected unit sales in full-year 2018. Clearly, management is thinking about, down the road, as they continue to grow their unit sales volume, how they're going to able to accommodate and handle all that inventory.

I like to put into context for this company just how large the market is in terms of vehicle sales, especially used car sales. I pulled these numbers from investor materials that the company provides. Almost $800 billion in used car sales in 2017, and just 7% of the market was claimed by the top 100 largest used auto retailers. The biggest one has less than 2% market share. It's a very fragmented market. That presents a lot of opportunity for companies like this.

Asit Sharma has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Vincent Shen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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