Ford Motor Co., seeking more buyers for off-lease vehicles, will post them on automotive Web sites in four test cities.
Rather than go to dealer-only auctions, the used Fords, Lincolns and Mercurys will be offered to consumers at no-haggle prices on the Web.
The four test cities are Atlanta, Boston, Houston and San Francisco. The test will start before April 1.
In the four cities, users of AutoConnect.com and CarPoint.com will be able to review Ford's inventory of certified off-lease vehicles, select one, make a $300 deposit online and have the vehicle delivered to an area dealer.
Atlanta-based AutoConnect.com is a used-car listing service, and CarPoint.com is an online car-buying service based in Redmond, Wash.
Manheim Auctions Inc. will deliver the vehicle to the dealership, and the sale will be finalized. If the shopper is not satisfied with the vehicle once the tires are kicked, the deposit will be refunded.
If the sale is closed, the dealer receives an undisclosed commission.
Ford has been testing the off-lease sales concept on its own Web site, Ford.com, for the past six months.
David Ropes, Ford Motor Co.'s director of corporate advertising and intergrated marketing, said, 'This game is about eyeballs. We're looking to increase traffic.'
Ropes also said that the dealers where the vehicles were leased retain their first-choice option to buy them.
Chip Perry, president of AutoConnect.com, said AutoConnect.com will advertise and market Ford's used cars on its Web site.
Ropes would not say how many used vehicles had been sold through the test program.
But, he said, 'if the numbers weren't good, we would not be expanding it.'