BEIJING, March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Lentuo International Inc. (NYSE: LAS) ("Lentuo" or the "Company"), a leading non-state-owned automobile retailer headquartered in Beijing, today announced that it has signed an agreement ("the Agreement") with Sohu Auto, a leading online auto information provider in China and a business unit of Sohu.com Inc. (NASDAQ: SOHU), to create a fully integrated online-to-offline ("O2O") platform for pre-owned cars in China. Sohu Auto will act as online marketing partner for this platform. The platform will greatly expand Lentuo's ability to reach a larger group of car buyers and allow it to meet the growing demand from younger Chinese who increasingly shop for cars on the internet.
Under the terms of the Agreement, Lentuo will act as the exclusive after-sales service provider for pre-owned cars certified by Sohu as long as Lentuo meets Sohu's quality standards.
On the physical side of the platform, and as a first step, Lentuo announced on February 18, 2014 that it will convert an existing new car showroom in South Beijing into a fully integrated pre-owned flagship store for mid-to-high end cars that will privilege customer experience, reliability and extensive choice. The flagship store will employ state-of-the-art technological equipment and rely on Sohu's IT systems to ensure the highest level of service quality and productivity.
The online side of the platform will leverage Sohu Auto's technological know-how and extensive IT resources to continuously enhance the O2O platform and build big data analytical tools which will allow a comprehensive and highly focused leverage of its expansive user base. The two parties plan to expand the platform to the rest of the country in the future.Mr. Hetong Guo, Founder and Chairman of Lentuo International commented, "We are excited to team up with Sohu Auto to build a fully integrated online-to-offline platform for pre-owned cars in China." "While sales of pre-owned cars in China have been growing faster than sales of new cars over the recent years, the market is extremely fragmented, suffers from a lack of professional and ethical standards, and makes scant use of advanced technological equipment." "This new platform will provide a one-stop shop and high quality customer experience in a hassle-free and highly professional environment. In addition to a streamlined information gathering and transacting process, customers will benefit from reliable certification as well as modern technical facilities and services, financing, and insurance."