What is Carzam?

The full details on the former online car retailer

By David Ross March 15, 2024

What was Carzam?

Carzam was an online used car dealer launched in late 2020. Buyers could choose from around 1500 used cars for sale online in the UK and have car delivery to their homes the next day.

Carzam promised finance approvals in as little as 60 seconds and a part exchange valuation. All cars were supplied with a Carzam warranty and breakdown assistance. There was also a 14 day money back guarantee.

Labelled as an ‘online disruptor’, Carzam promised to ‘accelerate motor trade change’ by differentiating itself from the competition by providing the ‘absolute best used car stock’ for those wanting to buy a car online.

It was seen as a rival to online car dealers likes of Cazoo and Cinch, where you can also buy a car online and have it delivered in the UK.

In November 2021, Carzam raised £112m with chief executive Kirk O’Callaghan claiming that the funds would propel the buy a car online business into the 'next chapter'.

Were Carzam reviews positive?

Carzam on TrustPilot had a 4.1 rating from its customers and Carzam reviews were generally very positive to begin with. However, there are now many negative Carzam Trustpilot reviews with buyers left in limbo when the company went bust.

So what happened to Carzam?

Carzam went into voluntary receivership in June 2022 meaning it could no longer trade. Chairman Andy McCue, formerly of Paddy Power, had already left along with CEO Kirk O’Callaghan.

Founder Peter Waddell had resigned as a director in April, blaming a lack of funding for the decision to close the business. It was more than £2.4m in debt at the time it went into receivership. Waddell blamed Cazoo for the failure of his online car sales venture. Speaking to the Times he claimed that Carzam's demise was down to online car sales rivals.

"We couldn’t get any funding because share prices in Cazoo and Carvana went down 85%. Business is all about taking a chance. We tried. It didn’t work." he said.

Carzam sold cars purely online. Is there anywhere else where I can buy online?

You can buy a car online through a trusted dealer at heycar.com. There are more than 60,000 used cars available to buy online at heycar with no hidden fees, complete transparency plus you can manage buying a car online from your phone. heycar is designed to make car buying purely online easy and enjoyable. 

There is also one month's free insurance when you buy online with heycar. All online used cars from heycar have less than 100,000 miles on the clock and are under 8 years old. There is also a 10-day money back guarantee.

You can order your car online from heycar a refundable deposit of just £99 and you get the flexibility of getting your new wheels delivered anywhere on the UK mainland within 7 days. All cars sold by heycar online are manufacturer approved and come with a 12 month warranty. You can also trade in your current car and can get a free valuation.

Did Carzam offer car delivery?

Yes. Carzam, like many online car dealers, offered UK car delivery with cars delivered across the country, sometimes as quick as the next day.

Where was Carzam based?

The main site for Carzam's online car sales was based Carzam Peterborough in Cambridegshire where cars were inspected and prepared for sale. There were collection hubs for Carzam cars in Carzam Corby Northamptonshire and East London at Carzam Stratford.

How did you buy a car on Carzam?

Buying a car online with Carzam was designed to be straightforward. Carzam's functional website listed around 1500 used cars for sale online with HPI certificates and information on finance options and how to part exchange.

You couldn't test drive a Carzam car but there was a 14-day money back guarantee if you changed your mind. You could pay via credit and debit card, or with finance organised by Carzam. Once you'd chosen your used car and paid for it, you then selected a next-day delivery slot and the transaction was complete.

What cars did Carzam sell online?

Carzam sold used cars online and had a wide range of stock ranging from popular premium models like the BMW 3 Series and BMW 1 Series M Sport to smaller cars like the Volkswagen Polo. You could also find plenty of popular family SUVs like the Vauxhall Mokka, seven seat Skoda Kodiaq and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

When was Carzam launched?

Carzam was launched in late 2020. Designed to take on the likes of Cazoo and Cinch, it was backed by John Bailey, the former Cox Automotive president.

Former CarShop director Kirk O’Callagham was chief executive. It was launched with a £50m investment from Peter Waddell and John Bailey. It aimed to have used cars delivered to your door.

Shortly after, figures showed that the online car dealer had reached a turnover of £20.5 million in just two months, selling more than 1500 used cars online.

At the time, Carzam stated it was set to hit 20,000 vehicle sales and would turn over £250 million in its first 12 months trading.

Who was the founder of Carzam?

Carzam was an online car dealership founded by Peter Waddell, the owner and CEO of car supermarket Big Motoring World. Waddel began trading cars from home in the 1980s before buying his first site near Sittingbourne in Kent. Carzam was his first online car sales venture.

Who owns Carzam now?

The Carzam business is in the hands of the administrators Smith and Williamson. That was rebranded as Evelyn Partners in mid June. By the end of June there were 39 parties seeking more information about Carzam’s assets with 14 interested in Carzam’s vehicles.

Has Carzam gone bust?

Carzam entered voluntary receivership on June 1st 2022 with Adam Stephens and Greg Palfrey of Smith and Williamson (now Evelyn Partners) appointed as joint administrators.

Peter Waddell blamed a lack of funding for the decision. The majority of Carzam staff were made redundant the same day.

Does Carzam still exist?

Carzam no longer exists having entered voluntary receivership in June 2022 and as a result is no longer trading.