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FordDirect Introduces Trade-In Appraisal Tool, Credit Estimator to Dealer Websites

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DEARBORN, MI--May 14, 2013:  FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and its franchise dealers, today announced the addition of two new tools for dealers provided by Black Book® Online. A trade-in appraisal tool and credit estimator tool will now be available for consumer use on all DealerConnection websites.

Today's tech savvy consumers expect to have immediate access to information online. A study conducted by Google/ThinkAuto reports that more consumers are looking to third-party sites after visiting a dealer's site to obtain shopping information such as trade-in values and estimated credit scores. The addition of these tools will enable consumers to obtain this desired information directly from the dealer's website.

The online appraisal tool allows consumers to provide information regarding the make, model, and condition of the vehicle they are interested in trading. After this information has been entered, consumers will be prompted to enter their contact information so an estimated trade-in value can then be sent. In addition, dealers with DealerConnection Elite mobile websites have the ability to include a mobile-enhanced version of the trade appraisal tool on their site.

The online credit estimator provides consumers a convenient way to acquire an approximation of their credit score without pulling an actual credit report, or providing any personal information such as social security number or credit card numbers. The estimated credit score is formulated by taking into account consumers' answers to a short series of questions prompted by the tool.

"In today's competitive market, anything dealers can do to streamline the car buying process for customers is going to help turn leads into sales," said Valerie Fuller, COO of FordDirect. "As a result of adding these tools, 500 additional leads are being generated daily. This new service helps dealers meet consumer demand for instant access to information without asking the consumer to share information they are not comfortable providing."

"Our research has shown that about 40 percent of the consumers who complete these tools purchase a vehicle in their market in 30 days or less," said Mike McFall, President of Black Book Online.

With the inclusion of the Black Book appraisal and credit estimator tools, any leads generated from the online appraisal and credit estimator forms will be sent directly to the dealer's lead management system.