So, here you are…searching Ford dealerships online. My question is, “Why?”
Please allow me to clarify: my question is not intended to cast aspersions on the Ford Motor Company or Ford dealerships. If (as stated in their motto) Ford wants you to “Go Further,” I’m going to suggest that you wait just a minute because my intention is to make sure that your experience in buying and owning a Ford is everything it could – and should – be.
Ford takes pride in claiming to offer “something for everyone,” and it’s a fairly accurate statement. Whether personal or commercial, Ford serves up a wide range of offerings – empowering its dealerships to do the same.
Now, I’m not looking to discount any readers who are actively looking to purchase an F750 Cutaway for commercial use – but the majority of people reading this are more likely looking for a personal vehicle, so let’s start there. Furthermore, you may enjoy the act of exploring the ballsy V6 of a new Mustang, but does it really fit the demands of your lifestyle? Probably not.
Look at that! We’re already starting to narrow our search!
Narrowing The Search
Yes, this is where your buying experience becomes tailored to your own individual wants and needs. With hundreds of vehicles available on most dealer lots (and online inventories) it is easy to get distracted. For this reason, the process of elimination remains valuable throughout any search.
Whether your decision is driven by budget, or other reasoning, it’s important to know whether you’re focused on new or used vehicles. With the former you have the luxury of exploring options for both buying and leasing the vehicle of your dreams. Opting for used may mean some concessions in terms of the vehicle itself, but many of the stigmas associated with used vehicles have now gone by the wayside. In addition, you gain added assurance in your ability to consider Certified Pre-Owned vehicles as well as regular inventory.
It’s also important to acknowledge the unique demands of your lifestyle. For the sake of this exercise, let’s look at Ford’s SUV offerings. What better way to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, whether they’re based around family life or outdoor activities?
Know The Difference
Let’s say that you’re interested in a Ford Explorer. Driven off the lot, a 2017 Ford Explorer comes with a $31,660 MSRP before you start exploring trim levels or add-on packages. Opt for the XLT trim and your starting price jumps to $33,775, while the Limited term comes in at $41,675. If you take a liking to the Sport trim, get ready to shell out at least $45,335, while you can expect to start as high as $53,235 – if you favor the Platinum trim. Keep in mind, these are all new and the pricing doesn’t include any additional features you may want (or need).
Perhaps this is well-within your budget, but some buyers may not have the same luxury – literally. Rest assured that turning an eye to used vehicle inventories will still provide you with plenty of options. Those buyers who are perfectly happy to drive an earlier model year might find themselves a 2014 Explorer XLT. Right off the bat, they could expect to pay $8,000 – $9,000 less than the 2017 MSRP (and that’s before you look at whatever add-on packages the 2014 may have been configured with).
Take it a step further, and compare both used and Certified Pre-Owned inventory. A quick look at a 2014 Ford Explorer XLT’s available from any Ford dealership helps to show this. Right now, I can find a used 2014 Explorer XLT with 40,015 miles for $25,733. From the same dealer, I can get the same vehicle (albeit Certified Pre-Owned) with 29,759 miles for $25,944.
Eligibility for Ford’s Certified Pre-Owned Program is based on a vehicle’s inclusion within the last five model years and the requirement of 75,000-miles or less on the odometer. All qualifying vehicles will have passed a rigorous 172-point inspection, with any repairs or refurbishments done with Ford-certified parts, by Ford-certified technicians. This creates a disparity between CPO vehicles and traditional used cars. But that’s not where the difference ends.
With approved CPO status, a vehicle receives a comprehensive Limited Warranty for 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first). In addition, they receive a Powertrain Limited Warranty for 7 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). This adds valuable assurance on the integrity of the engine, transmission, and up to 1,000 different components within the vehicle. Throw in a comprehensive vehicle history, roadside assistance, and pre-scheduled maintenance and a CPO Explorer XLT might be a perfect alternative to buying new.
The above was simply one scenario, but the sentiment is applicable across the board. Being an informed consumer is more than just reading online reviews, and comparing a few prices between dealerships. It requires active research of vehicle features and program availability, as well as self-exploration to make sure that you’re focusing on the vehicle and buying options that are ideal for you.
Your Ford Dealership
Never forget that your Ford dealership can be a great ally throughout your shopping experience (before you even speak to them or set foot on their lot). Most credible dealerships provide online profiles for both their new and used inventory. The ability to go online and explore vehicles beforehand is an invaluable tool. From the virtual tour afforded by photo galleries, to making sure that the manufacturer specs meet your needs, there are a number of luxuries enjoyed by today’s car buyers. Add in most dealerships’ willingness to provide a CarFax Vehicle history report for any used cars, and every customer is empowered to buy a Ford with confidence.
Now that I’ve stolen a few minutes of your life (that you’ll never get back) I leave you to “Go Further,” and enjoy your experience doing so.