For many dealers, Ford Motor Co.'s used-vehicle platform launched in February couldn't have come at a better time.
Not only is the new Autotrader-powered digital retail tool, called Ford Blue Advantage, giving dealers a greater slice of the pre-owned sales pie, it's offering them another revenue stream as new-vehicle inventory continues to dwindle amid the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
At Power Ford in Albuquerque, N.M., used-vehicle sales are up 19 percent so far in 2021 compared with 2020. Used-vehicle sales jumped 26 percent from February to March, and officials there believe the Ford Blue Advantage platform was the main driver.
"Today's buyers are looking for a transparent, worry-free buying experience," Rob Sneed, the store's general manager, told Automotive News. "Our ability to provide high-quality, highly reconditioned vehicles that come with the assurance of a warranty is precisely the point of separation Ford dealers need to be competitive in today's used-vehicle market."
The site brings together certified used- vehicle inventory from dealers across the country. Customers can search by vehicle type, color, mileage and a number of other options.
Sneed said the platform is seamless and allows customers to "transition directly from the research phase into the purchase phase," making for easier buying experiences and offering advantages over third-party sites.
Ford said it launched the platform in response to dealer feedback and as a way to capture more used-vehicle sales. It says 3 million used Fords are sold each year, but Ford dealers account for only about one-third of those transactions.
The automaker chose to partner with Autotrader in an effort to speed the site's creation.