While the nation’s economy may have stalled out, Ahwatukee Foothills business owner Roger Falcione says his auto trading Web site, ClassicCars.com, is revving on all cylinders.
“We’ve had to move three times in three years into bigger spaces,” said Falcione, who opened his latest location at the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and Marketplace in Ahwatukee Foothills this month. “We’ve been very fortunate.”
The company, which lists classic cars for sale, started with three employees, but is now up to 10, many of whom live in Ahwatukee, he said. Revenue has increased by at least 50 percent a year, he said.
“We have a lot of room for growth without needing a large physical presence,” Falcione said. “We just introduce the buyer and the seller.”
Although it does not own any inventory, its listings total about $600 million, including 522 listings in the Phoenix metro area. The website receives about 400,000 hits a month, he said.
“It’s hard to imagine how big it is: the volume, the sheer variation in cars and the passion for it,” Falcione said.
The difference between ClassicCars.com and other online listing sites is the personal touch the company provides, he said. Each person who places a $59.99 ad receives a call from the company, offering advice on crafting listings and screening out potential scammers, Falcione said. Other sites just have an automated entry form, he said.
Among ClassicCars.com’s current listings is a 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby for $1.1 million, he said. However, there are numerous listings for “project” vehicles in the $5,000 range, which buyers fix up themselves, he said. Buyers generally are 40 to 55 years old, but younger buyers also make up a significant portion.
“That is good for us because it shows that young people are coming into the industry,” Falcione said.
The website hosts listings for dealerships across the country, and for large auction houses like Barrett-Jackson, as well, he said.
“If you’re looking for your dream car or it has some significance from your youth, those folks will go anywhere,” Falcione said. “I liken it to the art market. There’s a certain level of interest and passion that keeps prices up.”
These days, “classic” is often applied to vehicles produced before 1990, he said. But the term is subjective.
“To us a classic car is a car that has some memory, some history associated with it,” Falcione said.
He said he caught the bug at a young age.
“When I was a kid I had a ’69 Camaro. I think it cost $2,800. It’s a love I’ve had for a long time,” Falcione said. “There are some folks that are car nuts, and other folks that are computer nuts, and I’m sort of a blend of both."