AutoTrader, a name that echoes through the South African automotive market, boasts a rich history dating back to the 1950s. Originating as a print magazine in the UK, the brand swiftly gained prominence with its ingenious concept of coupling pictures with brief text descriptions to facilitate the sale of various items. Today, I am privileged to be the visionary leader for AutoTrader, standing tall as a digital powerhouse, revolutionising how cars are bought and sold in South Africa.

The Merger and Global Expansion

John Medesky, inspired by a concept he observed in the United States, founded a UK magazine called Automart. Eventually, a momentous merger took place,  propelling AutoTrader into dominance in the UK. As the brand’s success soared, it soon set its sights on new horizons, debuting in South Africa in 1992. The subsequent years witnessed exponential growth, expanding AutoTrader’s influence to international markets like Ireland, the Netherlands, and China.

The Golden Days of Print Classifieds

AutoTrader SA’s early years were defined by the allure of print classifieds, the renowned “photo ad concept.” Thick magazines, often spanning over a thousand pages, showcased a vast array of cars for sale, capturing the essence of the thriving automotive industry in South Africa. As the go-to platform for buying and selling cars, AutoTrader SA’s print publications cemented its position as a true industry powerhouse.

Transitioning to the Digital Age

As technology raced forward, AutoTrader SA recognised the pressing need to adapt. With the advent of the internet, the company embraced a bold transformation from print to digital. The birth of the AutoTrader website ushered in a new era of accessibility, convenience, and nationwide coverage for car buyers and sellers alike. In a world where transparency and value are paramount, the digital platform provides the perfect solution.

Empowering Buyers through Digital Innovation

Central to the success of AutoTrader SA’s digital platform is its unwavering focus on empowering buyers. With the leadership in AutoTrader, we ensured the platform offered comprehensive vehicle information, including pricing, specifications, and more. Armed with knowledge and confidence, buyers trust the platform, forging strong bonds of loyalty. AutoTrader SA’s digital transformation revolutionised the car buying process, granting customers the tools to make informed decisions.

An Economic Indicator of South Africa’s Prosperity

The triumphant growth of AutoTrader SA mirrors the strength of the South African economy. As a significant player in the automotive sector, the company serves as an economic indicator, reflecting the nation’s prosperity. The automotive industry’s impact extends far and wide, contributing significantly to the country’s GDP and impacting various economic sectors.

Embracing the Future

AutoTrader SA’s journey continues to be marked by adaptability and innovation. Our main focus is to be customer-centric with an unwavering dedication to meeting consumer needs. Keeping pace with an ever-changing industry has been the driving force behind the brand’s success. As the automotive landscape evolves, AutoTrader SA remains committed to shaping the future of car buying and selling in South Africa.


AutoTrader SA’s remarkable evolution from a print magazine to a digital powerhouse is a testament to its adaptability and commitment to customer satisfaction. The brand’s journey is a testament to innovation and resilience. With its firm footing in the South African market and a history of successful expansion, AutoTrader SA is undoubtedly poised to redefine the automotive landscape for years to come.