By on January 28, 2022

The used car market may be red hot, but Ford seems to be intent on pouring a bunch of blue all over the place. Starting next month, certain second-hand vehicles hawked by Ford stores will qualify for a 14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee.

Or perhaps some dealers are feeling the heat from places like Carvana. That’s up for debate.

It’ll be called Ford Blue Advantage. Ford will partner with Autotrader and tested the system last summer in about a dozen dealerships dotted around the country. The company said there are about 25,000 vehicles on the site right now, with a quick sort-n-search showing the oldest to be a 2012 Tundra CrewMax with 76K on the clock. Pricing ranges from $7,900 for a decade-old Chevy Sonic to $120,000 for a Shelby GT500 located in California.

To muddy the waters, all Blue Advantage vehicles include additional warranty coverage backed by Ford, masquerading under two different banners. Gold Certified vehicles pass a 172-point inspection and come with a 12-month/12,000-mile comprehensive warranty and seven-year/100,000-mile powertrain. Dealers can certify Ford vehicles at the Gold level for up to six years and at less than 80,000 miles.

Meanwhile, Blue Certified vehicles – those 10 years or newer, with 120,000 miles or less – pass a 139-point inspection and come with 90-day/4,000-mile comprehensive coverage. This level allows dealers to certify both Ford and non-Ford vehicles up to 10 years old with less than 120,000 miles. Roadside assistance is part of the deal on both Gold and Blue.

Of course, these types of return programs come with all sorts of caveats for the buyer – not the least of which are mileage and damage restrictions. A dealer who is rolling out Blue Advantage on Tuesday told this author the option to get one’s trade-in back will not exist, and any negative equity on that side of the deal will need to be repaid.

Also in the fine-print is a notation the return will not be accepted if the vehicle has a “lien or other encumbrance”. Now, we assume this means a lien other than the loan agreed upon when Joe Customer purchased the Blue Advantage vehicle. Otherwise, this program would only apply to cash deals. While car companies perpetually make mystifying decisions, that type of ‘gotcha’ situation would surely be a PR nightmare for this program. Does Ford take the risk and hang on to that paper for 14 days before officially filing it with a lender? Or does that phrase simply refer to mechanic’s liens and the like? Let’s hope it’s the latter.

What do you think? Ford says Blue Advantage is a way to draw more interest and showroom (or website) traffic. Do such programs affect your car-buying decisions? Sound off in the comments.

[Image: Ford]

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39 Comments on “Blue’s Clues: Ford Introduces Money-Back Used Car Program...”

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The “lien issue” is probably referring to a non-loan lien . A Mechanics lien or a lien put on by a court on a personal asset.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’d certainly want them to clarify the lien part of the fine print.
    But, if price is roughly equal and I were shopping for a Ford, I would like to get that extra warranty. I might pay a little extra for that.
    But, as I shop for Miatas, it’s tough to even get me to contact a traditional dealer because of how encumbered they make it.
    I find myself only looking at online retailers which is a 180 degree shift for me in the last 2 years. After selling my Lexus that way just over a year ago, I at least know they aren’t total crooks. So, being able to see the full selling price without having to contact someone is what keeps me checking their sites. Plus their prices are lower, even after shipping, than the before-fees listed prices of dealerships which helps.
    But making the value proposition skew more toward a dealer-sold car would get me more willing to play the game.

  • avatar

    I don’t think they do all of the multi-point inspections. Sure safety stuff like tires and brakes are checked, and maybe fluids, but beyond that??? I’ve just read reports of people getting CPO vehicles with obvious things wrong with them that should have been caught during such inspections.

  • avatar

    “Does Ford take the risk and hang on to that paper for 14 days before officially filing it with a lender? Or does that phrase simply refer to mechanic’s liens and the like? Let’s hope it’s the latter.”

    That’s a good question. I wonder what CarMax does; their return policy is 30 days right now.

  • avatar

    Ford will warranty other brand vehicles but not any of their own with the garbage Powershift transmission. Bold Moves.

  • avatar

    Lien on me
    When you’re not strong

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “14-day/1,000-mile money-back guarantee”

    Seems like a no-risk offer to make. Pretty much any used car can make it that far without a claimable issue.

    If 1% of the buyers returned with viable claims, we’re talking about 250 cars. Meh.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford’s new business model customers order new a new Ford and wait a year till they are manufacturered or buy a preowned at your Ford dealer. I’ll pass.

  • avatar

    Ford offered me $11,000 for my 2014 fusion with 119,000 miles on it. I told ford I was not interested in any of their trucks and SUVs. Like so many other American’s I will be forced to buy either a Camry or Accord.
    There is a reason Toyota is now the top selling carmaker in America.

    See America in your Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Toyota will continue to grow market share. Ford’s new business model will not work in the long run if customers have to order new Fords and wait and wait. Just got an email on my new hybrid Maverick moving the production date from the week of Feb 14 to the week of March 14. Wouldn’t surprise me if I got another email moving it further into the future and then canceling since the 2023 orders will start Aug 16. A whole lot of hoopla about the Maverick but Ford is not prepared for the demand. I think Ford really doesn’t want to make the hybrid and possibly the Eco-boost version. Time for Toyota to step up and make a compact truck with a hybrid system. Dealers are charging anywhere from 3k to 15k for the Maverick because of scarcity which makes it no longer an affordable alternative.

    • 0 avatar

      akear you still can buy Chevy Malibu and see America in your Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I have seen much of America in both the Camry and the Altima. They are both quite popular at the rental counters I frequent

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota has a long history of gaining controlling stock in their suppliers. If they are unable to do that, they contract in such a way they get gaurenteed delivery vs the competition (this is why Ford had a hard time getting parts of hybrids). As such, they were able to weather the parts shortage better than other manufacturers.

      I’m not saying that’s the only reason they hit #1, but it is a a reasons. Most manufacturers sell every vehicle they can make. Their problem isn’t sales. It’s production.

  • avatar

    The car business is crazy right now. After the FED gets interest rates up a bit, the cheap and sometimes free money will vanish. And when auto production gets back to “normal”, the overcharging will vanish. If the FED screws up Monetary Policy and tightens too much, we will have a recession and car buying will stop dead in its tracks.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That will be a long long time before auto production gets back to what we think is normal. We will see if other manufacturers go to Ford’s new business model of customer orders and waiting a year to get a new vehicle. As for inflation that benefits the Government in paying off the debt but for the rest of us it wrecks havoc. As for getting a Chevy Malibu GM is not making as many of those due to the chip shortage with chips going to their more profitable trucks and suvs. Hyundai and Kia will stand the most to gain since they will be making their own chips especially if they eventually start producing more vehicles but then it could be well into 2024 before that would happen.

  • avatar

    manufacturers, particularly Ford, should have learned to stay out of retail.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      Remains to be seen how Ford will do in the used car business. Would like to see more direct sales to the consumer but I doubt that will happen anytime soon with the dealer franchise laws. With used car prices so high and with more limited warranties or no warranties I would rather buy new but then the waiting period for a new vehicle has gotten longer and longer especially if you order one. Glad I bought my neighbors 2012 Buick Lacrosse with only 45k miles 2 years ago it is like new.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see more low-rate loans from auto manufacturers on certified pre-owned vehicles. Lincoln for years has offered low-rate 60-month financing on its CPO vehicles and i’d love Genesis to do the same. As a luxury marquee, Genesis should offer CPO vehicle financing.

  • avatar

    This is interesting to me because the biggest problem with third party warranties is the companies selling them are typically selling snake oil who prey on subprime. If Ford could change this they have the potential to change the entire remarketing industry, but the devil will be in the details. I would expect it to work a bit like Medicare, there will be a max amount paid for a service no matter if its a Ford or a Bentley, and the owner is expected to make up the difference.

  • avatar

    So… its a post sale inspection with the right of full return? The big box shops should already be doing this, I fail to see how this is a viable product. The only thing I can think of is Ford could sell the inspection to smaller indys for a fee (who do not do any kind of formal inspection unless they pay for pre sale or post sale on the block) so the consumer can see someone signed off on it and I suppose return it if its a lemon.

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