By on May 24, 2021

Last quarter Ford launched its new Blue Advantage used car buying service, in an attempt to turn clicks into sales for its Ford dealers. Ford promises an excellent experience on its Blue Advantage cars, and the service includes cars from other marques. Dealers have signed up in droves.

Launched in February, Ford worked in conjunction with Autotrader to debut its new used car platform. Essentially a Ford storefront with Autotrader wiring underneath, the format will look familiar to anyone who’s shopped Autotrader in the past 10 years.

Cars listed on the Blue Advantage site are available at Ford dealers who have signed up with Ford to offer the service. Used cars are inspected by technicians at the dealership, and have additional warranty coverage from Ford like a standard CPO car. Gold Certified cars must be of Ford branding, six years or younger, and have less than 80,000 miles. Gold cars receive a 172-point inspection, and include a comprehensive limited warranty for 12 months or 12,000 miles, along with a seven-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The lesser Blue Certified level can apply to any brand car that’s at max 10 years old, and with a max of 120,000 miles. The inspection is less at Blue level at 139 points, and the warranty is less too: 90 days and 4,000 miles comprehensive limited warranty, and that’s it. Some cars receive complimentary roadside assistance, but Ford doesn’t clarify which ones. It’s available to every Blue Advantage customer for a fee.

Ford focused on providing an online shopping experience which would allow customers to avoid visiting a dealership if desired. Ford’s research showed that in 2019, 3 million used Fords sold across the US but only a third of them were via Ford dealers. Blue Advantage seeks to change that with perks in addition to the inspection and warranty. Blue Advantage offers home delivery, at-home test drives, and video walkarounds. They throw in a CarFax too, for good measure.

All Blue Advantage cars are listed with a dealer guaranteed selling price to eliminate haggling. The site also indicates whether the pricing you’re receiving is Good or Great, per KBB. At Ford’s initial reporting in February, over half of Ford’s dealers in the US signed up for the Blue Advantage program.

It’s interesting to see Ford covering other manufacturers’ vehicles with its own warranty, even for a short time. In those first 90 days if your 2014 Fiat 500L breaks down, you’ll take it back to your Ford dealer and have it serviced alongside F-150s by technicians who are just thrilled.

Within 50 miles of my zip code, there are 440 Blue Advantage cars presently for sale, 356 of which are Ford branded. The oldest car listed is a Blue Certified Jeep Liberty from 2012, proving that Ford dealers are willing to certify cars right at the limit. This program with its hassle-free pricing does bring up interesting potential conflicts with customer experience. If said customer sees a car on the dealer’s regular site and then proceeds to the dealership only to find it’s Blue Certified and there’s no negotiation possible, does that result in a sale? Guess we’ll see.

[Images: Ford]

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25 Comments on “Ford Launches Blue Advantage Used Car Buying Experience...”

  • avatar

    So Ford will allow dealers to CPO it’s own and other marques back to MY12? Nice.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    • 0 avatar

      For other brands it’s only 3 months and 4,000 miles. Which is a pretty short window.
      So if someone’s 2012 Suzuki Kizashi or Saturn Relay breaks beyond that they can just say “Wow, that’s terrible how this other brand makes bad cars. How about a super deal on a 96 month loan for this awesome Ford Ecosport Titanium?”

    • 0 avatar

      “What could possibly go wrong?”

      Usually transmission. But it is covered by CPO warranty. 192 point inspection though is an abject lie. But still warranty will fix it. Just ask your mechanic to really inspect the car.

  • avatar

    Do they really perform these inspections? I’ve read stories of people purchasing CPO cars and finding obvious items missed. My understanding is the only benefit to these CPO deals is the extra warranty. A 7 year / 100k powertrain warranty is better then some OEMs offer. My guess is the limitations in fine print are so numerous the warranty is basically worthless.

    • 0 avatar

      I have heard too many stories about people being burned with the CPO warranty (I seem to remember Kyree was one of them).

      The basic problem with used cars these days is that they’ve gotten so silly expensive that there isn’t much reason not to just buy something new.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve not purchased a CPO car, but I have purchased an extended warranty from Ford (shop around and you can get a good deal) and they stand behind it.

      CPO coverage does vary by manufacturer. I’ve only looked at Ford and Toyota. I can tell you Toyota has a lot of holes in their CPO warranty. Ford’s is pretty solid.

  • avatar

    If I remember correctly, MB has a similar program.

    However, I’m suspicious of any “inspection” program. So he inspected an item, doesn’t mean the dealer fixed it if it was damaged or broken. Also, I’m sure the dealer has factored the cost of any warranty in the selling price of the car.

    All this is is “smoke and mirrors”

    • 0 avatar

      Smoke and mirror indeed…

      CPO is a sales tool, nobody does the inspection, even when done isn’t not a guarantee that the items were actually fixed, the purchase agreement is still “as is” from dealer per this video:

      • 0 avatar

        Bought a CPO truck several years back that upon dealer inspection had a leaking steering rack on it and fixed. Saw the inspection report and it was very clear the steering rack was brand new, oil was changed and they sent it for a basic detail.

        Some dealers do follow through and others don’t.

      • 0 avatar

        The biggest problem with all these programs is that dealers buy these cars at the auction, they know nothing about these cars. These cars can be from NYC where they idled and idled in traffic. This is a Russian roulette for buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I test drove a car from Carmax that had a bad shock that I noticed as soon as I started driving it. You’re right, inspection doesn’t mean repair. If a repair costs them $500, expect that cost to be added to the no haggle selling price, and we’ll see you in a few months and fix it for “free.”

  • avatar

    I am not sold.

  • avatar

    Every used car “experience” at the dealership mostly involves a rip-off

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Short warranties are almost worthless. Ford bears little risk in promising that an inspected car will run for 3 more months. Most used car dealers will do the same.

    However, I bet Ford doesn’t want to warrant its own dreadful DCT transmission.

  • avatar

    Can confirm MB certified is a joke. Nothing is reconditioned in advance, but you can get them to do their job after the sale if you are insistent. Mine was missing rear cargo shade (this is a big ticket item), had 4 bent rims and 3 bad tires, dead aux battery, bad front brakes with incorrect front brake rotors, bad idler pulley and shredded drive belt. Yeah they took care of it over the course of several months of me finding things that didn’t work, but the certification process was simply not done.

  • avatar

    This is all fine and good, but with the collapse of the national search engines there is no longer any reasonable way to find the used car you want, so I don’t know how I am supposed to buy one even if you slap a fancy warranty on it.

    • 0 avatar

      “with the collapse of the national search engines”

      dal, what do you mean by this? I’m noticing the decline of hits in Autotrader etc, but was wondering what the big picture is on this issue.

      • 0 avatar

        Mark Baruth had a thing on it a while back, but I can’t find it. Basically everyone is searching for cars via Google or Facebook now and traffic to sites like Autotrader or has collapsed enough that most dealers are no longer finding it worthwhile to list on them, so they have many fewer results, in a vicious cycle.

        The difference in just the last two years has been dramatic. I had little trouble finding my exact choice of car when I bought my used Highlander Hybrid in April 2019, but now there isn’t any easy way to cast a wide net.

  • avatar

    No haggle used car pricing. — that’s a feature consumers love. The less interaction with salesmen, the better.

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