In the Philippines, cars can be both a status symbol and necessity. If you’re a professional, your first car would symbolize the blood, sweat and tears you have put up in saving for that down payment and monthly amortizations. If you have a growing family, you will need transportation to ferry your kids to and fro. Even if you’re a college student, you might need a car to get around campus and to drive with your friends to night parties and out-of-town escapades.

It’s an encouraging sign when car dealerships are offering sub-PhP 100,000 down payments on brand new cars. But not everyone wants the responsibility of a five-year loan. If you’d rather go second-hand, the classified ads on the newspapers can only get you so far. And if you’re looking to dispose of your used car, you might have a hard time finding a worthy buyer. Sometimes, second hand car dealers would give low appraisals because they also need to make a commission.

Here’s where an online car marketplace comes in handy.

We earlier featured Pinoy Auto Trader when it was announced as part of the Cebu Hack2Hatch competition. The team was one of the eight winners of PhP 100,000 (about US$ 2,400) in seed funding. The site has launched its public beta this mid-November.

Co-founder Chris Franks shared with us a few words regarding Pinoy Auto Trader and why it’s a relevant service in today’s automotive marketplace. He says that what makes Pinoy Auto Trader different from sites that mostly offer P2P transactions is its support for both private transactions and a nationwide network of dealers. “Unlike regular classified advertising that caters mainly for individual to individual transactions, we at Pinoy Auto Trader have created a network of used and new car dealerships across the Philippines and provided them with the necessary tools needed to help promote their businesses and showcase their car  inventories.”

Of course, if you’re an individual seller, you can also list your car for sale on Pinoy Auto Trader, too.

Here are the startup’s features:

User Friendly Adding a Car Process: At Pinoy Auto Trader we’ve provided an easy 5 Step Process to add a car listing. No confusing jargon, no confusing payment terms – just a simple process to add either a free or paid listing.

Attractive and User Friendly Car Listings: We’ve put a great deal of effort into creating car listings that provide all of the necessary information you need in order to purchase your next vehicle.

Micro sites for Car Dealerships: We noticed that many car dealerships across the country lack websites. As a result we’ve provided car dealerships with a portal which lets them showcase their car stock, business promotions and contact details in an attractive and easily navigable interface.

Extensive New Car Database: We’ve provided an extensive new car database of thousands of vehicles complete with detailed information, specifications and images. From this database you can connect with new car dealerships across the country in order to inquire and purchase.

Dealership Portal: We’ve made it easier for car dealerships to upload information about their vehicles and contact details through our customised dealership portal. From here, dealerships can manage all of the content on their dealership micro sites as well as accessing marketing statistics and a wide range of other services.

Being a car enthusiast, I can say that the site looks promising. We do have a handful of car listings on local e-commerce sites and communities like Sulit and Tsikot. However, Pinoy Auto Trader does come with a fresh, usable interface that makes it more intuitive to find just the vehicle you’re looking for. And its partnerships with dealerships will certainly be an advantage.

The car listings are still a bit limited at this point, but the database is likely to populate faster as soon as the team inks partnerships with more dealers.