“We felt Autotrader had a lot of advantages,” Andrew Ashman, Ford’s U.S. used-vehicle manager, said in February. “Rather than try to rebuild the apple cart, so to speak, we could get up and running quickly. Our decision was pretty easy.”
Ford said roughly 1,500 dealers have signed up to use the digital platform, triple the number who normally sell certified used vehicles.
“As we prove this is successful, more and more will want to join,” Ashman said.
The site features guaranteed pricing and Kelley Blue Book’s Price Advisor tool. About 90 percent of the inventory will be certified as “gold” or “blue.” Gold covers Ford vehicles up to 6 years old with fewer than 80,000 miles, and blue covers vehicles from any brand that are no more than 10 years old and have fewer than 120,000 miles.
The certifications come with different warranty levels. Shoppers will earn $110 worth of FordPass Rewards points for a gold purchase and $55 worth for blue. Both levels come with round-the-clock roadside assistance.
“I think that part of the program has given buyers a little more peace of mind when they’re buying an older car,” said Andy Mohr, owner of Andy Mohr Ford in Plainfield, Ind. “Frankly, cars last longer and people are buying them where 20 years ago they wouldn’t have been. If there is any reluctance, the blue part of the program gives them a little more peace of mind.”
Mohr said it’s still too early to tell whether the new platform is boosting sales but that he’s glad Ford put resources into this part of the industry.
“I think it’s a great step,” he said. “Let’s face it, Ford’s not in business to sell used cars. Them putting this platform together is an awesome first step that nobody else is really doing. I think they have the making of something really, really good here. The tool itself is user-friendly and the entire concept is spot on for what’s needed today.”