Fleet News

Microsoft and Ford go direct on cars

FLEET decision makers could soon be ordering cars over the internet, following a new joint venture between Ford and Microsoft. The two companies are partners in CarPoint which from the first quarter of 2000 will allow car buyers to specify and order the car they want on the web.

The same service will also be available via Ford.com, the manufacturer's website for the United States. Jac Nasser, Ford's chief executive, said: 'The consumer is driving a revolution in automotive retailing. This joint venture will lead to enhanced car-buying and customer experience, helping to build a more positive relationship between consumers and dealers.'

The on-line 'build-to-order' system will allow internet users to 'design' exactly the car they want, new or used, and CarPoint will then either locate an existing car on a dealer's forecourt, or place an order for a new custom-built car at the factory. It will also allow customers to track the production and delivery progress of their order, and tell customers when the car is ready for collection from their local dealer.

Initially the service will only be available in the US, but it is an internationally exportable concept and a source at Ford UK said the system could go live in the UK within 12 months.

  • To access the CarPoint site click on the Buyers' guide menu button (left) and go to the Vehicle location systems section.

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