Godfrey, who joined Blue Advantage as soon as it was announced, credits the sales jump to the implementation of Ford's 14-day money-back guarantee, which the automaker added to the program early this year.
"When you're buying a used car, CPO in general is valuable because you have this inspection, and even if something was missed, you have the warranty," he said. "But for some consumers, there's still this kind of fear of the unknown with buying a used car. Knowing if you get it home and find something you don't like ... and you can bring that back, it gives people a little more comfort. If they're looking at a couple locations, it could be what seals the deal for them."
Ford launched Blue Advantage in 2020 to help its retailers win a larger slice of the used-vehicle sales pie and reduce defections to third-party sites.
The program is powered by Autotrader and brings together certified used-vehicle inventory from dealers across the country. Customers can search by vehicle type, color, mileage and other variables.
The site features guaranteed pricing and Kelley Blue Book's Price Advisor tool. The listed inventory, which includes non-Ford vehicles, is backed by warranties under two certification levels: gold and blue.
While the automaker had a CPO program previously, Blue Advantage's features have helped provide customers and dealers with more peace of mind around the sales process, according to Andrew Ashman, Ford's U.S. used-vehicle manager.
"Rebranding it really had a big impact," he said. "The dealers now feel the company's really behind the program."
Darin Wade, president of Rich Ford in Albuquerque, N.M., says his store sells more than 100 CPO vehicles per month and that sales are up roughly 20 percent so far this year compared with 2021.
He said he liked Ford's decision to include non-Ford vehicles and that his store has been getting certification for every used vehicle that qualifies because there's so much demand.
"A competitive advantage is the dealers who are certifying these, they'll show up on search when others won't," he said. "I think that helps generate more leads."
Ashman says he hopes to grow the number of dealers participating in the program to at least 2,000 by convincing more retailers of all market sizes to sign up.
"The dealers that are in it love it," he said. "There's still a lot more upside opportunity with the program. We just have to get in and convince more dealers this is the right thing to do."