Carvana, the online auto retailer, keeps reporting about losses and some investors and the company's CEO are confident that the company still has the potential to grow.
As an example of that room, Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia noted recently after Carvana reported first-quarter earnings that the company has just a 0.35 percent share of the U.S. used-vehicle market.
"That means only about one in 300 customers who bought used cars in the U.S. in the first quarter bought it from us," Garcia told analysts on a conference call.
And many of those 299 customers who didn't buy from Carvana don't know about the company. Building awareness of Carvana as a used-vehicle shopping option will help drive the retailer's expansion, Garcia pointed out.
In Atlanta, where the company has focused on increasing market penetration, Carvana has about 7 percent "unaided awareness." That means, Garcia said, that only about one in 14 people in the Atlanta metro area, the most mature of Carvana's markets, was able to name the online retailer when asked to list places they could buy a car.
This belies the company's rapid growth.
Carvana revenue soared in the first three months of 2019, more than doubling to $755.2 million. Retail vehicle sales nearly doubled to 36,766. It operated in 124 markets as of May 8 and expected to open in up to 60 more this year, adding places adjacent to and smaller than the larger metro areas where it started.
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