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Ford Announces Agreement with AutoConnect to Market Its Certified Used Vehicles

At the National Automotive Dealers Association meeting here today, Ford Motor Company announced a new agreement with AutoConnect to buy listing services on AutoConnect.com for its inventory of program and off lease vehicles that are currently sold through the virtual showroom located at fordpreowned.com. This arrangement, the first of its kind by an automobile company, will enable Ford to reach a wide audience of Internet car shoppers by distributing its carefully selected pre-owned inventory across multiple, third party Internet sites.

Manheim Auctions, the company that holds Ford Motor Company pre-owned vehicles for auctioning to dealers, will serve as the infrastructure provider to the third party Internet sites by performing programming services and database maintenance of Ford pre-owned vehicles. AutoConnect, the largest used car shopping service on the Internet, will be the first Web site to carry listings from Ford’s pre-owned program. The Company will also list its pre-owned inventory on other sites like MSN CarPoint in the near future.

"We are very pleased to partner with Manheim Auctions to market our preowned vehicles widely over the Internet," said Thor Ibsen, Internet and New Media Manager. "Together, Manheim and AutoConnect offer unique capabilities in managing large quantities of used car data and attracting car buyers through the AutoConnect.com Web site."

Fordpreowned.com (www.fordpreowned.com) is an innovative, online car buying program that enables consumers to purchase premium pre-owned vehicles that are located at wholesale auctions operated by Manheim in four geographic markets around the U.S. The program will be rolled out in several additional markets during 1999. Through this program, consumers select the pre-owned vehicle they want to buy and the local dealership where they want to take delivery. The vehicle is then delivered by the auction to the dealer who receives a fee from Ford Motor Company for handling the sale.

"We have been working for a long time with Manheim and other auction companies to sell our program and off lease vehicles to Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, Mazda, and Jaguar dealers across North America," said Tom Cunningham. "Now, with the help of our dealers, we are enabling consumers to buy high quality pre-owned cars before they go through the auctions. This will provide consumers with access to a large number of great cars and will create additional profit opportunities for our dealers."

"We are excited to be able to support Ford's ambitious plans for enabling consumers to buy used cars over the Internet," said Chip Perry, President and CEO of AutoConnect. "We think what Ford is doing with the fordpreowned.com virtual showroom is revolutionary in the auto industry and will motivate many more consumers to choose this route to buying their next car."