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.