After a couple of years in the market, Ford Motor Co.'s Blue Advantage certification program for used vehicles has proved to be a hit with dealers.
And it came at just the right time.
The program, which includes an online sales platform, has helped lift dealerships' bottom line as limited inventory continues to constrain new-vehicle sales.
"It's an area of growth that you have some control over," said Brian Godfrey, president of Pat Milliken Ford in Redford, Mich. "It's part of the business that we don't have to rely on Ford to ship us vehicles."
With its digital sales component, Ford Blue Advantage is also helping dealers claw back some used-vehicle sales from competitors such as struggling online used-vehicle retailer Carvana.
A key piece of the program has been a Ford dealership's ability to certify non-Ford vehicles.
Darin Wade, president of Rich Ford in Albuquerque, N.M., said that has attracted new customers who until now were going elsewhere.
"As much as we'd like everybody to like Ford, there's a lot of people that like other brands," Wade said. "They may want to buy a Toyota or Honda or Volkswagen, and in many cases we can certify those vehicles, so they end up purchasing from us. We are getting some crossover; it's great for the stability of the dealership and for our salespeople."
— Michael Martinez