It did not take long to figure out that this was ALL about resale value and ultimately residual values on leases. A couple of manufacturers were already big into CPO sales, and I looked for the best program out there. Much to my surprise it was Jaguar's CPO program that at the time looked the best. Today, every manufacturer has a certified program, although some are better than others.
After traveling from city to city talking to dealers and used car managers, I learned a lot about CPO programs and their benefits for the dealer but most of all for consumers. While most people focus on the long warranty that comes with a CPO vehicle, for me the process of certification is equally as important.
Although the programs vary by manufacturer, they all have processes by which the car goes through a rigorous checklist. Just about everything is checked to make sure it works and is in good order. Many of the programs require such things as new wiper blades, two working keys and remotes if the car is equipped with those, and they must also have a clean history. Management of the dealership has to sign a form saying all work was done.
Other perks of a Certified Pre-Owned car often include incentives such as low interest rates, roadside assistance, and a full tank of gas. In other words, it is as close to a new car as a used car can get, often for a fraction of the price of a new car.
Most CPO cars have the balance of a five or six year warranty that extends to 100,000 miles or beyond. Some of the luxury cars give long warranties on top of current mileage when the car is sold.
Price-wise, certified cars generally run more than non-certified cars, but the process the car goes through, the incentives associated with it, and most of all the warranty that is included makes it all even out in the end. Best of all, you get the peace of mind of knowing the car was gone over with a fine-toothed comb.
The only pitfall is to make sure the Certified Pre-Owned car you look at is part of a factory program. For instance, if you are looking at a Lexus CPO, make sure the dealer is part of the factory program, not his own certified program. Some dealers have tried that and gotten away with it.
All in all, I think Factory Certified Pre-Owned vehicles make a ton of sense and there is no doubt they will save you money, which is why I recommend them so often! Still to this day, I think Ford’s Certified program is the best in the industry.
Jerry Reynolds is a former Ford Dealer and now the Host of the CarGuy Show heard Saturdays on WBAP AM in Dallas 9 to 11 AM, as well as 610 AM in Houston and 570 KLAC in Los Angeles 11 to 2 Central time Saturdays. You can also catch Jerry on CarGuy’s Garage, every Friday night on the First in Prime CBS 21 news.