Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn is introducing Ford Blue Advantage, a new digital marketplace that allows the automaker’s dealers to list and sell certified used vehicles on a single platform. It also provides customers with quality and price data, and the choice to shop online or in person.
The website, Ford officials state, meets customer demand for a seamless shopping experience by providing a wide selection of used Ford vehicles available anytime, anywhere, all backed by the automaker’s warranty programs.
Ford Blue Advantage offers advanced search capabilities that allow users to filter by feature level as well as provide for home delivery, an at-home test drive, or a video walkaround. Research shows that customers spend an average of 10 hours to 12 hours online shopping for a used vehicle.
“We can now connect the right shopper to the right pre-owned Ford vehicle faster than ever,” says Andrew Frick, vice president, U.S. marketing at Ford. “Providing a great digital experience is paramount today, but we know customers still want to touch, smell, and feel a vehicle before they buy it. Ford Blue Advantage offers the best of both worlds, enabling customers to shop online or come into a dealership, or a combination of both.”
On FordBlueAdvantage.com, all vehicles are listed with a dealer guaranteed selling price to take the guesswork out of car buying. The site features Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor to signify if a vehicle has a Good or Great price. Visitors also have access to the original window sticker.
Ford is teaming up with Cox Automotive’s Autotrader to power its digital platform, leveraging the company’s proprietary relevance algorithm and search technology to provide an intuitive experience for consumers. Autotrader is the most recognized third-party car listings brand, with the most engaged audience of in-market car shoppers, averaging 35 million visits per month.
“At Cox Automotive, we believe that the automotive industry thrives when dealers, consumers, and manufacturers are completely connected,” says Jessica Stafford, senior vice president at Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. “This philosophy drove us to engineer a uniquely integrated platform for Ford dealers to help simplify, streamline and personalize the car-buying experience for consumers and drive more value.”
All vehicles listed on Ford Blue Advantage come with the peace of mind of inspections from factory-trained technicians as well as additional coverage backed by Ford. Participating dealers are now able to certify vehicles under two different levels, Gold Certified and Blue Certified, covering up to 90 percent of their used-vehicle inventory.
Gold Certified vehicles have passed a 172-point inspection and come with a 12-month/12,000-mile (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty, and a seven-year/100,000-mile (whichever comes first) Powertrain Limited Warranty. Dealers can certify Ford vehicles up to six years and less than 80,000 miles as Gold Certified.
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 (whichever comes first) Comprehensive Limited Warranty coverage. This all-new certification level allows dealers to certify both Ford and non-Ford vehicles.
Both levels come with 24/7 Roadside Assistance and complimentary FordPass Rewards Points customers can use for future service visits at dealerships – 11,000 points for Blue Certified and 22,000 for Gold Certified.
Additionally, Ford runs a CARFAX Vehicle History Report on every Gold and Blue Certified used vehicle to identify any issues that don’t meet the rigorous Ford Blue Advantage standards.
Internal data shows from Ford shows that in 2019 there were 3 million used Ford vehicles sold in the U.S., yet Ford dealers sold only slightly more than one-third of them. Ford Blue Advantage aims to give dealers the technology, insights, and data to better serve customers while driving more traffic to their used-car listings.
In developing the new platform, the Ford customer experience team conducted extensive research into the used-vehicle shopping journey, finding areas in which customers were dissatisfied or seeking change. Ford Blue Advantage is designed to address pain points and provide a great value proposition for dealers and customers.
Already, more than half of Ford’s U.S. dealers are signed up, and early results are showing that sales volumes of used cars are growing.
“With Ford Blue Advantage, we have a powerful way to convert clicks into sales and provide customers with the high level of trust and care they expect from the Blue Oval,” says Tim Hovik, owner of San Tan Ford in Gilbert, Ariz. “This has been a true partnership between Ford and dealers from the beginning, all while putting the interests and safety of our customers first.”
In related news, Ford announced a collaboration with video game maker Psyonix on a new virtual version of the 2021 F-150 pickup that comes complete with a rocket booster. The animated pickup truck comes as part of the popular Rocket League multiplayer video game where vehicles take center stage to compete in soccer matches.
The Ford F-150 Rocket League Edition will be available as an in-game purchase Feb. 20-28. The F-150 bundle also includes a chairman decal, two sets of F-150 wheels, F-150 Rocket League Edition engine audio, F-150 boost, and F-150 player banner.
F-150’s appearance in Rocket League continues Ford’s wider push into gaming after successful sponsorships with other titles, such as Forza. Ford worked collaboratively with Psyonix to create the truck. Ford also will produce commercial shorts narrated by actor Bryan Cranston aimed at gamers.
To ensure the F-150 Rocket League Edition in-game vehicle maintains the real-world styling cues and Built Ford Tough DNA of the iconic pickup, the F-150 design team collaborated with designers at Psyonix, maker of Rocket League. The athletic-looking F-150 that appears on screen is based on the all-new 2021 F-150 and features signature C-clamp headlight design, rounded wheel arches, drop-down windows and “F-150” stamped in the tailgate.
“It had to be an F-150 but one that fits within Psyonix’ extreme virtual world pairing soccer and mayhem,” says Ehab Kaoud, chief designer of Ford trucks. “F-150 is already the most popular truck in the real world, and this F-150 Rocket League Edition is poised to be the most popular truck in the gaming world, too. It’s Built Ford Tough meets gaming.”
Along with the in-game vehicle, Ford will serve as presenting sponsor for this month’s Rocket League Championship Series Winter Majors, which include an arena full of billboards and a special F-150 that appears between matches to repair and ready the Rocket League pitch for play by repainting boundary lines and towing away damaged vehicles. Ford will sponsor the Ford + Rocket League Freestyle Invitational, a judged competition where select players show off their best in-game moves and tricks – with one lucky contestant winning a real 2021 F-150.
The crossover between the real world F-150 and the virtual reality of the Rocket League follows Ford’s collaboration in Europe between Team Fordzilla, the company’s e-sports team, and the gaming community there, which led to the creation of the P1 Project virtual race car in 2020.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, a gaming industry trade association, more than 214 million Americans play video games and three-quarters of all U.S. households have at least one gamer in the home.
“As opportunities in gaming continue to grow, we’re really looking at this as its own marketing channel,” says Scott Denby, strategy manager of Ford brand content and alliances. “It’s the same way you would look at social media or TV and film integration. We’re identifying authentic ways to be involved in gaming and to do it in a meaningful way. We want to make sure we’re adding to the player communities’ experience.”
The Rocket League Championship Series Winter Majors Driven by Ford continues every weekend in February and can be viewed on both Rocket League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. View the remaining schedule below:
- South American Winter Major: Feb. 13-14
- European Winter Major: Feb. 20-21
- Ford + Rocket League Freestyle Invitational: Feb. 24 and Feb. 28
- North American Winter Major: Feb. 27-28
“It’s been a great collaborative effort between the Ford and Psyonix teams,” says Phil Piliero, vice president, co-studio head at Psyonix. “We learned about the Built Ford Tough DNA, and Ford embraced the customization of rocket-powered cars, resulting in a true one-of-a-kind Rocket League F-150. We’re also excited to welcome Ford as presenting sponsor for the Rocket League Championship Series Winter Majors.”
The Ford F-150 Rocket League Edition will be available for purchase to new and existing Rocket League players. The game recently expanded and is free to play on all major gaming platforms. Visit rocketleague.com to play or to learn more.
The all-new F-150 – part of the F-Series lineup that’s been America’s truck sales leader for 44 consecutive years – is built at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn and the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.