Meet Hayden Hamlet: Our New Senior VP Digital Ecosystem

1. Can you tell us about your professional background and what led you to join Autochek Africa?
I have a finance background and have worked across finance, commercial, operations, and business development roles over the past 20 years, primarily in the internet and software sectors, with a solid few years in the automotive industry in South Africa. I was impressed with what Autochek had achieved in car financing in Africa, I liked the management team, and I believe in the opportunity and impact of developing digital auto solutions for multiple African markets.

2. What attracted you to the role of Senior Vice President of Digital Ecosystem at Autochek Africa?
I’ve always been drawn to high-growth tech opportunities, and this role offered the chance to lead the building of a digitized platform for the automotive industry across multiple African geographies. The challenge is huge, and I’m passionate about creating great digital experiences for buyers, sellers, and owners of cars.

3. What is your vision for the digital ecosystem at Autochek Africa?
I aim to transform the way Africa buys, sells, owns, and uses vehicles through technology. We will build digital products and services that connect users throughout the auto ecosystem, bringing increased trust, transparency, and efficiency to automotive commerce.

4. How do you see digital transformation impacting the traditional car dealership model in Africa?
African car dealerships have made significant strides in digital transformation, particularly in marketing their vehicles online, leveraging messaging platforms, and integrating financing services. Moving forward, these dealerships stand to gain even more from deeper technological integration in their sourcing operations, both locally and internationally. This will be complemented by innovative dealer financing solutions, better utilization of vehicle and consumer data for informed decision-making, improved quality of auto marketplaces, and advanced digital retailing tools and services that boost sales and enhance financial returns per car sold.
Although generative AI is still in its early stages, it holds promise for internal productivity enhancements, such as creating marketing content and improving customer service. As AI continues to evolve, it is likely to make the car-buying journey more conversational and interactive for consumers.

5. How do you see the automotive digital landscape in Africa evolving over the next 5-10 years, and what role will Autochek Africa play in that evolution?
An evolving digital landscape will provide consumers with better online tools to search and find cars more easily, evaluate car pricing and quality, check dealer reputations, sell directly to dealers, and access quicker, more convenient financing and other automotive products and services. To support this, vehicle data and online tools and services will evolve to move more car buying and selling functions online, while also allowing consumers to engage offline easily and seamlessly.
Dealerships will increasingly meet this new digital demand by embracing the necessary digital transformation while still providing the offline experience. Traditional offline sellers, such as auctions, will face competition from hybrid online/offline car-buying services offering dealers greater certainty on vehicle quality, online buying, and integrated financing options. Autochek sees itself as a key partner for dealers, delivering a suite of integrated digital tools and services to support their sourcing, marketing, and retail operations. For car buyers, we aim to drive the most exciting and transparent online car buying and financing experience and ensure we are there to make car ownership stress-free and enjoyable.

6. What motivates you personally in your career, and how do you stay inspired to drive innovation?
I’m inspired by working with teams to solve complex problems and seeing the impact of the solutions we build, excite, and improve the automotive experiences of millions of customers. I also follow emerging trends and business leaders for new ideas and inspiration.

7. Outside of work, what are you passionate about, and how do these passions influence your professional life?
I’m passionate about family and friends, long mountain bike rides, and the ocean. I’ll credit these with keeping my sanity when work becomes consuming!

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