Ford Motor Co. has debuted its Ready.Shop.Go. online car-shopping platform, which will eventually include customizable purchase and lease options powered by AutoFi, the OEM announced today.
The digital platform allows customers to search inventory, view pricing and incentives, lock in a deal for 48 hours (subject to vehicle availability), apply for financing, estimate trade-in values, and schedule a test drive, according to a company press release.
Future iterations will include finance options powered by AutoFi, a fintech company in which Ford Motor Credit Co. invested an undisclosed amount of money last year. Ford Credit partnered and invested in AutoFi in January 2017 in order to support “technological advances to make the financing experience better,” according to a previous press release.
Additionally, AutoFi raised $10 million in Series A funding last August, which included existing investors Crosslink Capital, Ford Credit, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.
“The goal with Ready.Shop.Go. was to develop a convenient, transparent car-shopping experience that would work best for Ford customers,” a company spokeswoman told Auto Finance News, without divulging specifics regarding the OEM’s reasoning for building a platform rather than buying or partnering with a third-party provider. The spokeswoman also declined to offer the timeline for the AutoFi iteration.
“We’re working very closely with Ford on this integration and look forward to rolling it out when it’s ready,” Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for AutoFi, told AFN. “We’re helping to power online sales and finance at dealerships across the county, and the reception from customers has been very clear: They want car buying to be fast, transparent, and on on their terms. That’s exactly what AutoFi does.”
Customers using Ford’s Ready.Shop.Go. platform can apply for financing through Ford Credit, but will also be able to remotely review and digitally execute contracts with the captive in the future, according to today’s release.
The platform is launching in several Midwestern states this month, before becoming available nationwide by yearend. “A large number of dealerships covering several states participated in the pilot,” the spokeswoman said. “Dealers are not required to enroll in Ready.Shop.Go., it is optional.”
The platform offers pricing transparency, allowing dealers to set vehicle pricing, including taxes and fees; personalized incentives; and pricing comparison, where consumers can review prices with the Kelley Blue Book Price Advisor. Additional features include the ability for consumers to save a deal and return later to complete the process, and the assignment of a single point of contact on the dealer end to ensure the experience is well managed, according to the release.
Currently, the platform does not enable customers to pay their monthly loan or lease, nor does it include Ford Credit’s Canvas monthly subscription program offerings, the spokeswoman said.
The decision to launch the platform was, in part, informed by 57% of people ages 30 to 44 and 63% of people ages 18 to 29 saying they are more impatient today than they were in the past, according to a Looking Further With Ford 2017 Trends study. Additionally, 54% of those surveyed consider surfing the internet a productive use of time.
“As we worked with our dealers to develop Ready.Shop.Go., it was important to make sure the experience benefited both our customers and our dealers,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service, said in the release. “This experience delivers the functionality and flexibility customers need to select a vehicle at their preferred dealership, then apply for financing before ever stepping into a showroom, saving both customers and dealers valuable time.”
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