Can This Influencer Interest You in a $3 Million Car?

Alex Hirschi, known online as Supercar Blondie, launched a digital auction platform that deals exclusively in luxury vehicles. Can SBX Cars compete with the old guard?

April 2, 2024 9:00 am
Alex Hirschi, better known online as automotive influencer Supercar Blondie, standing next to the Hyperion XP-1 prototype that will be sold on her new SBX Cars auction site
Alex Hirschi, better known as Supercar Blondie, is expanding her empire into the auction world.
SBX Cars

If you can’t own your dream car, at least you can live vicariously through Alex Hirschi. The Australian automotive influencer, better known as Supercar Blondie, has built an online empire of 110 million followers by getting behind the wheel of some of the rarest vehicles on the planet and bringing people along for the ride on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. 

When she posted a video piloting the Hyperion XP-1, a one-of-one hydrogen supercar prototype, in 2022, a commenter wrote, “I would have bought one if I won the [$2] billion lottery.” In the comments of a video where she’s at the helm of an electric hydrofoil yacht from German startup Tyde and BMW, uploaded in December, another user lamented, “Too bad I can’t afford one….” With prices for both estimated in the millions of dollars, there aren’t too many people who can.

That hasn’t stopped Hirschi from opening up the newest extension of her Supercar Blondie empire: SBX Cars, an online auction website for buying and selling luxury vehicles, which officially launched on Tuesday. And when they say luxury, they mean it.

“We are going to be the only online auction platform that focuses just on the high-end,” Hirschi told InsideHook during an interview in January. “So the rare, the exclusive — around the world. We’re also going to be the only one that caters to a global audience.”

If “luxury” and “high-end” isn’t specific enough, Lance Butler, the company’s auction director, said that he wants people to see SBX Cars as offering vehicles of the same pedigree as the best in-person auctions in the world — like those organized by RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company and Bonhams — “and not that we’re just doing volume play with $20,000 to $50,000 things.”

At launch time, at least, the auction house is living up to that promise — they say they already have over $100 million in consignments — though not necessarily the name “SBX Cars.” The Hyperion XP-1 is being listed alongside a Mercedes-AMG One (the first public auction of this 1-of-275 hypercar), Lamborghini Veneno Roadster (1-of-9), Veneno Coupe (1-of-3) and a Tesla Cybertruck, but these four-wheeled pavement-eaters will also be joined by the aforementioned Tyde-BMW yacht. 

Alex Hirschi, aka Supercar Blondie, standing in front of a Tesla Cybertruck. One of these EVs will be sold on her new auction platform SBX Cars.
“Buyers are already going to be lined up before the auction even goes live,” says Hirschi.
SBX Cars

Despite the initial eye-popping offerings, the question remains: can a social media influencer, even one with the connections, clout and behind-the-wheel experience of Hirschi, parlay an online following into an auction house that handles the transactions of million-dollar cars? Doesn’t it make more sense for digital creators like her to aim for more manageable partnerships, like, say, smartphone giveaways, which Hirschi herself is still in the habit of doing

To understand the move, you need to get a peek behind the screen. The Supercar Blondie crew is more than just Hirschi, and the SBX Cars team more than just Butler. Parent company SB Media Group, headquartered in London and run by CEO Nik Hirschi (Alex’s husband), has a staff of 65, which runs not just the social media channels but a website devoted to shareable content (“We’re basically a media company,” says Hirschi); it also has another offshoot, SB Design, based in Prague. For the auction arm, the company says there will be dedicated teams in Los Angeles (which will act as the headquarters), London and Dubai (where Alex and Nik are based).

While Alex, with her signature platinum locks, is the face of the brand, the Supercar Blondie consortium has grown into a global operation since she started as a content creator in 2017.

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As such, she and her team aren’t willing to leave the success of SBX’s launch to chance — that is, to potential buyers finding the site through social media and bidding on the first slate of luxury playthings. Instead, Hirschi says that the venture grew out of her company’s relationships with collectors and dealers who they met and messaged with while traveling the world filming exotic vehicles.

“We would get emails coming to us all the time saying, ‘Hey, do you have a buyer for this car that I have?’” she said. “We didn’t have the time to pick up the phone and call everyone individually to see if someone could buy or sell this car, and so we just didn’t do anything with it…. So it actually came out of demand really, for us to go, well, hang on a minute, all of these buyers and sellers are trying to connect with each other through us, so let’s create a platform for them to be able to do that.” 

According to Hirschi, those relationships are going to drive the real bidding; they’re not counting on the casual swipers, double-tappers and commenters who make up most of the 110 million followers to put down six- and seven-figure bids.

“We’re not relying on the reach of our media platform, that’s just for marketing purposes,” she said. “Even though we do have a lot of potential buyers who are going to see it from those videos, what we know we have is this network of buyers behind the scenes that we’re going to line up and go, ‘Hey, I know you’re interested in this car, it’s going to come for auction.’ And those buyers are already going to be lined up before the auction even goes live.”

Some of the cars that will be listed for sale on SBX Cars at the launch of the new auction website
At launch, SBX Cars says it already has over $100 million in consignments.
SBX Cars

Butler admits that old-guard auction houses like RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams “do a great job of selling premium cars several times a year,” at destination sales tied to concours events like Florida’s Amelia Island in March and California’s Pebble Beach in August, but he says SBX Cars will entice sellers who don’t want to wait to offload vehicles at certain times of the year, or who don’t want to go through the hassle of shipping these cars across the world. (The established auction houses sell cars online too, but generally save the best for their in-person events.)

As for how SBX can compete with digital-native auction sites like Bring a Trailer, which skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic, and Cars & Bids, which was launched by car-reviewing influencer Doug DeMuro, Hirschi says they’re looking to offer a more premium experience, from customer relations to the range of lots offered.

“You can list online [at these other sites], but your $3 million car is going to be listed against a $20,000 car and you’re not going to get the service that you need or want,” Hirschi said. “So that’s missing from the digital auction space.”

In today’s tech-driven world where social media has offered people a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, Hirschi has built a humongous following by bringing viewers inside the garages of the one percent. She’s convinced some of these gentleman racers to now not only film their cars, but sell them too. Whether the demand for SBX Cars’ services can be maintained beyond launch is an open question — but of all things, the continued desire to buy and sell cars worth as much as houses isn’t something Hirschi is worried about.

“In these kinds of leagues, some people just want a car for the summer,” she said, laughing. “And then they’ll sell it again, right?” 

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