Dealerships

Ford partners with Cox Automotive to launch new certified used vehicle digital marketplace

Ford's new certification program brings a new level of scrutiny to used vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, its dealers, and Cox Automotive are partnering to create a new, digital used car marketplace. Ford Blue Advantage allows dealers to list and sell certified used vehicles on a single platform, backed by a Ford warranty. Cox Automotive's Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book brands had hands in developing and populating content on the site.

The online marketplace, which features familiar Autotrader styling, allows users to filter vehicles by location, Ford Vehicle Exchange Program eligibility, dealer home services (including test drive at home), price, vehicle history (no accidents, single owner), year, mileage, make, body style, drive type, fuel type, fuel economy, transmission, cylinders, exterior color, interior color, features, doors, and price rating.

The new online marketplace features technology by Autotrader and a familiar design.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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"We can now connect the right shopper to the right pre-owned Ford vehicle faster than ever," said Andrew Frick, vice president, U.S. marketing. "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."

The Ford Blue Advantage site features Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor to signify if a vehicle has a Good or Great price. Visitors are also able to see a vehicle's original window sticker.

"At Cox Automotive, we believe that the automotive industry thrives when dealers, consumers and manufacturers are completely connected," said Jessica Stafford, senior vice president, 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."

More than half of Ford's dealerships are currently enrolled in the program.

All vehicles listed on the platform have undergone an inspection by Ford factory-trained technicians. Participating dealers are 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 Comprehensive Limited Warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. Dealers can certify Ford vehicles up to six years old that have less than 80,000 miles on the odometer as Gold Certified.

Older, Blue Certified vehicles pass a 139-point inspection and come with 90-day/4,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty coverage. Blue Certified models are less than 10 years old and have fewer than 120,000 miles on them. Ford and non-Ford vehicles are eligible for this certification.

Ford promises to run a Carfax Vehicle History Report on every Blue and Gold Certified used vehicle to identify any issues that might not be detected during the inspection.

Gold and Blue Certified vehicles are sold with 24/7 roadside assistance and complimentary FordPass Rewards Points (11,000 points for Blue Certified and 22,000 for Gold Certified) that can be used for future service visits at Ford dealerships. FordPass is the automaker's mobile app. The Rewards Points program allows users to earn rewards by visiting their dealership for service, purchasing a vehicle, and other purchases.

Ford isn't the only automaker making an online sales shift for certified used cars. Honda and Acura recently launched similar sites.

Ford Blue Advantage can be found at FordBlueAdvantage.com.

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New off-roader

Ford Bronco Production Officially Begins

The Ford Bronco is finally ready for primetime.

Ford

The time is finally here. After years of speculation and several months of pandemic-related delays, the Ford Bronco is starting to roll off the assembly line. The SUV marks the first new Bronco model in Ford's lineup in 15 years, not counting the Bronco Sport, and is one of the most hyped and sought-after vehicles to hit the market in quite some time. Ford's announcement that production has begun will be accompanied by a special YouTube presentation that Ford says will include interviews with the Bronco team and with reservation holders at the automaker's new Modification Center.


2021 Ford Bronco Ford added 2,700 jobs to support Bronco production.Ford


Bronco production has driven Ford to invest $750 million into its Michigan Assembly Plant, and the automaker says it has added 2,700 jobs to support the rollout. Ford's push to begin production can't come soon enough. Over 125,000 Bronco orders have been placed, and multiple delays have pushed the vehicle's arrival back, meaning there is considerable demand for the off-road legend.

Ford is ready to capitalize on the craze and will offer several ways to customize the new vehicle. At its 1.7 million square-foot Modification Center, The Blue Oval will factory-install several optional modifications that include equipment such as a front bumper safari bar, graphics packages, roof racks, and more. That's on top of more than 200 factory-backed accessories that can be installed at the dealer, either at or after the time of purchase.


2021 Ford Bronco Delays and production difficulties have pushed the Bronco back.Ford


If you are hoping to get behind the wheel of a new Bronco, it could be a while. Even buyers that have been in line for a while now might not see their new vehicle until late 2021 or 2022, and the vehicle's official rollout will almost certainly re-spike demand. Even so, many feel it's worth the wait, and Ford's vehicle configuration tool is live, so go check it out for yourself.

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The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition is a fresh addition to the company's lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Double takes aren't always good. In a curious twist, Toyota has decided to give its Highlander SUV bronze accents as part of a special edition model for 2022. The 2022 Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition will be positioned between the Hybrid XLE and Hybrid Limited in the company's lineup.

Each 2022 Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition gets bronze-colored accents on the exterior and interior, including 18-inch bronze wheels, bronze interior stitching, illuminated bronze door sills, and SofTex-trimmed seats with a fabric insert and bronze stitching. The SUVs also have unique floor and cargo mats.

Toyota will offer the new model with either a Cement or Wind Chill Pearl paint job.

2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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The new three-row SUV builds on the Highlander Hybrid XLE and is available in front- or all-wheel drive. It has the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine and two electric motors as other Highlander Hybrids. It gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined.

It gets hands-free power lift gate, rain-sensing wipers, a digital rearview mirror, 1500-watt power outlet, puddle lamps with the Highlander logo, in-dash ambient lighting, driver seat memory, 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, and LED daytime running lights.

Some of the model's equipment is part of revisions to the Highlander product line for 2022 including a height/tilt power-adjustable passenger seat. For 2022, that feature will be standard on Highlander XLE and above trim levels.

Every new Highlander comes standard with Toyota's 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty. A 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty is also standard. Highlander Hybrid models have their hybrid components covered by a eight-year/100,000-mile warranty and the hybrid battery is covered for 10 years/150,000 miles. The battery warranty is transferrable between owners.

The 2022 Highlander Bronze Edition also comes with ToyotaCare, which covers normal factory-scheduled maintenance, for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of Roadside Assistance, regardless of mileage.

Pricing for the new SUV has yet to be announced.

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