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Ford Turns Key On New Web Effort

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Ford shifts online car buying into high gear. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. It's a joint venture between the Ford Motor Company... .and the automaker's dealer network. FordDirect.com. How is it different from all of those other car buying sites? FordDirect CEO Devon Cohen... .

"From a consumer's standpoint, they're actually drilling in and dealing with live inventory that's on the ground. They're not configuring a vehicle that doesn't exist somewhere. Two, in states like New Jersey and Delaware, they actually get the price online immediately. They can look at MSRP, they can look at dealer invoice and they can see the price of the vehicle which is calculated based on the fair market value of that vehicle over the past 30 or 60 day period. So they're getting the benefit of everybody else that shopped for that vehicle, online in a convenient fashion."

Until more agreements are formed with dealer associations in other states, buyers outside of New Jersey and Delaware won't get the actual purchase price until they're contacted by a dealer. Cohen says the typical online buyer knows what he or she wants...

"We will never be able to replace the touch, feel and smell of driving a car with an Internet experience. At least not to my knowledge yet. So a consumer will have to identify about what kind of car they would like."

But it can save you time, the hassle of haggling and give you a price typical of what others have paid after going through all that. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.