Reinventing CPO Experience with Carfax Helps Ford See Impressive Sales Gains

Ford Motor Co. has more than dou­bled its cer­ti­fied pre-owned (CPO) vehi­cle sales over the past three years – from about 130,000 sold in 2011 to an expect­ed 267,000 in 2014. How did that hap­pen? Todd Fites, nation­al CPO sales man­ag­er for Ford and Lin­coln, says that it comes down to two events: Ford Motor Co. re-launch­ing its CPO pro­gram in Feb­ru­ary 2012 and part­ner­ing with Car­fax since Jan­u­ary 2013. Sales growth increased more than 50% since the start of the rela­tion­ship between Ford and Car­fax.

About 83% of Ford and Lin­coln deal­ers now par­tic­i­pate in the CPO pro­grams. Car shop­pers are gain­ing more con­fi­dence in the qual­i­ty of vehi­cles. Will it last, and will the car have prob­lems and lots of repair costs, are ques­tions that need to be answered for con­sumers. Through Ford’s CPO pro­gram, the cars are rig­or­ous­ly inspect­ed and pro­vid­ed with a very good war­ran­ty, Fites said. Con­sumers are impressed when see­ing the rec­og­niz­able Car­fax name.

Car­fax® Vehi­cle His­to­ry Reports™ help resolve the trans­paren­cy issue that most con­sumers have today. “Does the con­di­tion of the car on the lot match the descrip­tion,” Fites said. “The (Car­fax) Vehi­cle His­to­ry Report helps build bet­ter trust, so that there are no sur­pris­es dur­ing the buy­ing expe­ri­ence.”

Con­sumers are impressed with the vehi­cle inspec­tion process and the war­ran­ty cov­er­age, which is 7 years/100,000 miles. They under­stand that the pro­gram comes from the man­u­fac­tur­er and not just through an indi­vid­ual deal­er­ship, Fites said.

It’s also strength­en­ing Ford Motor Co.’s rela­tion­ship with Ford and Lin­coln deal­ers who want to make the most out of CPO sales. Ford works with Deal­er Coun­cil mem­bers for their input, and pro­vides train­ing for deal­er staff. “Vehi­cle selec­tion, recon­di­tion­ing, and doing the prop­er paper­work – these are all shared with the cus­tomer,” Fites said.

It’s a good oppor­tu­ni­ty for deal­ers to edu­cate car shop­pers on the CPO program’s details. They’re aware of the basics of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­grams but are more impressed find­ing out about the OEM-backed war­ran­ty and the Car­fax Vehi­cle His­to­ry Reports, he said. There are more young car shop­pers com­ing out late­ly, and most car shop­pers are aware that the Ford and Lin­coln prod­uct line­up is the best that it’s been in years. “That’s help­ing cer­ti­fied sales,” Fites said.

Anoth­er move like­ly to help sales is hav­ing all Cer­ti­fied Ford and Lin­coln cars for sale up on Car­fax Used Car List­ings, part of a recent part­ner­ship expan­sion between Ford and Car­fax.

Ford’s tar­get is to reach the same lev­el of CPO sales that it’s gained in new vehi­cle sales. Growth in the used vehi­cle sup­ply and increas­ing con­fi­dence in the con­di­tion and reli­a­bil­i­ty of CPO vehi­cles is help­ing meet that goal. Ford’s new vehi­cle mar­ket share is at 15%; year-to-date, Ford has 11.5% of CPO sales in the US and is on its way toward reach­ing the 15% mark, he said.

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