For obvious reasons, used-vehicle buyers like to be able to look at a wide range of products in their search for just the right set of wheels. Not only do they want to look at their dealers' complete inventory, but they also want to see what the competition has as well.
Why Would Consumers Use The Program?
What are the reasons? They range from the ongoing pandemic to the fact that they want to see the widest variety of vehicles from the comfort of their own homes.
Indeed, the ability to search the inventory at several dealerships takes on even greater urgency in this second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to view the offerings of a wide range of dealers in an area from the safety and security of their own homes.
What better way to do this than looking over the inventory of their local dealer and others in an area, especially if the dealers trade in the same brand of vehicles?
To take advantage of this, Ford, late last week, at the virtual National Auto Dealers Association Show unveiled what it calls its Ford Blue Advantage plan. The program sets up a digital marketplace that allows Ford dealers to list and sell certified used vehicles on a single platform while giving customers great peace of mind regarding quality and price and choosing to shop on their terms – online or in person.
Buyers Can Use The Program At Their Leisure
The Ford Blue Advantage program offers advanced search vehicles available anytime and anywhere, all backed by Ford. The easy-to-use online website meets customer demand for a seamless shopping experience by providing a wide selection of used Ford vehicles available anytime, anywhere, all backed by a Ford warranty. Ford Blue Advantage offers advanced search capabilities that allow users to filter by feature level plus schedule home delivery, at-home test drives, or video walkarounds. Research shows that customers spend an average of 10 to 12 hours online shopping for a used vehicle.
"We can now connect the right shopper to the right pre-owned Ford vehicle faster than ever," said Andrew Frick, vice president, U.S. marketing. "Providing a great digital experience is paramount today, but we know customers still want to touch, smell and feel a vehicle before they buy it. Ford Blue Advantage offers the best of both worlds, enabling customers to shop online or come into a dealership, or a combination of both."
On the Ford Blue Advantage network, all vehicles listed have a dealer guaranteed to sell price that takes the guesswork out of car buying. The site features Kelly Blue Book® Price Advisor that signifies if a vehicle has a good or great price. Visitors also have access to the original window sticker.
Ford has teamed with Cox Automotive's Autotrader to power this digital platform, leveraging its proprietary relevance algorithm and search technology to provide an intuitive experience for consumers. Autotrader is the most-recognized third-party car listings brand with experience for consumers. The site takes the guesswork out of finding the best value in used vehicles. That feature is the Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor to signify if a vehicle has a Good or Great price. Visitors also have access to the original window sticker. Autotrader averages 35 million visits per month.
Program Has Uniquely Integrated Platform
"At Cox Automotive, we believe that the automotive industry thrives when dealers, consumers, and manufacturers are completely connected," said Jessica Stafford, senior vice president, Autotrader, and Kelley Blue Book. "This philosophy drove us to engineer a uniquely integrated platform for Ford dealers to help simplify, streamline and personalize the car-buying experience for consumers and drive more value."
All vehicles listed on the Ford Blue Advantage come with inspections from factory-trained technicians. Participating dealers can now certify vehicles under two different levels, Gold- Certified and Blue-Certified, covering up to 90 percent of their used inventory.
Gold-Certified vehicles pass a 172-point inspection and come with a 12-month or 12,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first). The comprehensive limited warranty plan also includes a seven-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Dealers can certify Ford vehicles up to six years with less than 80,000 miles as Gold-Certified.
Blue-Certified vehicles – those 10 years or newer with 120,000 miles or less – must pass a 139-point inspection and come with a 90-day or 4,000-mile limited warranty. This is an all-new program that allows dealers to certify both Ford and non-Ford vehicles.
Two Levels Of Vehicle Certification
Both certifications include:
- 24/7 Roadside Assistance plus complimentary FordPass Reswards. Customers can use the FordPass points for service at dealerships.
- Also, Ford runs a Carfax Vehicle History Report for every certified vehicle.to identify any issues that don’t meet Ford Blue Advantage standards.
Internal data shows from Ford shows that in 2019 there were 3 million used Ford vehicles sold in the U.S., yet Ford dealers sold only slightly more than one-third of them. Ford Blue Advantage aims to give dealers the technology, insights, and data to serve customers better while driving more traffic to their used-car listings.
In developing the new platform, the Ford customer experience team conducted extensive research into the used-vehicle shopping journey, finding areas where customers were dissatisfied or seeking change. The Ford Blue Advantage program addresses pain points and provides a great value proposition for dealers and customers.
More than half of Ford's U.S. dealers are signed up, and early results show that sales volumes of used cars are growing.
Dealers Benefit From New Program
"With Ford Blue Advantage, we have a powerful way to convert clicks into sales and provide customers with the high level of trust and care they expect from the Blue Oval," said Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Arizona. "This has been a true partnership between Ford and dealers from the beginning, all while putting the interests and safety of our customers first."
Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories are part of Torque News Ford coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.