How A YouTube Car Reviewer Struck Gold When His Online Auction Platform Received $37 Million In Funding


He may not be the most famous YouTube celebrity, nor the best looking. He may not be the richest of them all, nor having a large team behind his back. And for certain, he doesn't have the largest amount of subscribers.

But to most, if not to many people in the world of automotive journalism, and amongst petrol heads and car enthusiasts on YouTube and beyond, his name certainly rings the bell.

Doug DeMuro has seen in person, driven, fiddled, and detailed some of the rarest and the most expensive cars, to common and everyday cars, to the relatively unknown cars.

With his light-hearted and informative reviews of a wide variety of cars, Doug has reached a degree many of his peers can only dream of.

Whereas many YouTubers try to look rich by seemingly live a glamorous life, just to make their audience think the way they want them to be, by flaunting, scamming, tricking, and more, Doug is their exact opposite.

And this time, even without having to flaunt anything, he struck gold.

Doug DeMuro
Doug DeMuro, a YouTube car reviewer, who has then become a businessman.

"This," is how Doug DeMuro puts in in every beginning of his more recent YouTube video.

But before, it was in 2013, when he uploaded his first YouTube video, where he reviewed the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. At that time, just like all others of his pees, Doug has yet to experiment with different approaches to appeal and attract the audience.

He was yet to embrace his T-shirt and shorts casual outfit, his "quirks and features" approach, and his "Doug Score" rating criteria, and how he explains cars and entertains his audience.

Instead of pedal-to-the-metal review, maxing cars to their limits, quarter-mile drag races, top-speed tests and such, Doug's approach is explaining cars to their tiniest details.

It didn't take too long before he get his hands on more and more cars, most of which came from dealerships and fans.

Cars from different brands, including Ferrari to Lamborghini, to Bugatti, Bentley, and Rolls-Royce, to BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Spyker, Fiat, Porsche, McLaren, Aston Martin, Volvo, Land Rover, to Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, Jeep, Hummer, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Tesla, and Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Lexus, Hyundai, and more, Doug has reviewed them all.

But it was only back in 2020, that Doug, alongside Blake Machado, founded 'Cars and Bids,' a car auction website that is self-described as a place to sell "anything cool and exciting from the 1980s to the 2020s."

As an automotive journalist, Doug has been on the fast track since becoming a YouTube sensation with his YouTube channel.

By piggybacking on that fame, he used the momentum to propel his auction website to host more than 10,000 auctions, and sold more than $200 million worth of cars, in less than four years.

And this time, despite claiming to be a one-man-team for his YouTube channel, Doug has reached an agreement to receive a fresh fund worth $37 million.

The fund from The Chernin Group (TCG), a leading investment firm, and an affiliate of a Los Angeles–based private equity firm that specializes in turning-around consumer businesses, is meant to further improve Cars and Bids.

"It’s going to allow us to take Cars and Bids to the next level, let me refocus on making YouTube videos and get the help of a group of people who actually know what they’re doing," Doug said.

As part of the deal, The Chernin Group is taking a majority stake in a new company that will combine Doug’s YouTube work and Cars & Bids into one venture.

Now, as a legal business and a registered company, Doug's asset is led by Ro Choy, who has been appointed as the company's CEO.

"Cars and Bids provides a great digital auction experience for automotive enthusiasts, and we auction some of the coolest cars in the world – and the investment from TCG ensures it’s only going to get better," DeMuro said in a statement.

"I’m also thrilled to combine my YouTube channel and Cars and Bids into one entity, creating one great place for enthusiasts to buy, sell, and learn about cars."

Doug DeMuro
Doug DeMuro has been a one-man-army, and that among his trusted tools for work, include his tripod.

"For the past three years, I’ve effectively been doing two jobs, building up Cars & Bids while creating videos for YouTube," explained Doug.

"For us to grow, we needed the help and expertise of TCG, who really understand the business."

Doug DeMuro started his venture in the car industry by becoming a writer at Jalopnik and Autotrader, before launching his eponymous YouTube channel in 2013.

Over the following decade, the Denver native established himself as one of the most trusted car reviewers on the platform.

In fact, Doug has become the most-watched car reviewer in the U.S..

Following the huge investment, Doug expects TCG to add more staff.

According to Doug, the auction site only has 18 people in total. With the fund, the auction website can expand quickly.

"I think the current format will largely stay the same. It’s what people seem to love," says DeMuro, "but I think we’ll add new features to make it easier for bidders to negotiate the site. And I’ll continue to play a part in it."

As for TCG, the firm described Doug DeMuro as "one of the most trusted names in the automotive space."

And by investing on Doug and his auction website, the investment firm’s goal is to make Cars and Bids "the go-to place to buy and sell modern enthusiast vehicles."

Cars and Bids website
Cars and Bids website.

"The success of Cars and Bids never fails to astonish me," added Doug.

"We launched in May 2020, not quite at the start of COVID, but not far behind. My assumption was that it would immediately fail. But by sheer dumb luck, we launched into this unbelievable car market."

Doug recalled that the first car auctioned on the site was his own 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG station wagon.

"The guy who bought it still owns it and regularly sends me photos," he said.

So, with investment cash in the bank, Doug thinks that he has to reward himself, and indeed, his choice isn't wrong, at least in the eyes of fans and petrol heads.

"I wanted my absolute dream car, a Porsche Carrera GT," Doug admitted.

But in a slight disappointing turnaround, he said that he stopped short from buying it.

"Instead, and this is kind of embarrassing, I bought a 2022 Mercedes E450 Wagon, and not even an AMG. It’s what parenthood does to you," he said.