RealTime IT News

Ford Takes Stake in Microsoft's CarPoint

Microsoft Corp. Monday announced it is building on its popular CarPoint site to create a new joint venture for consumers to design and order cars, with Ford Motor Co. as the site's partner.

Microsoft (MSFT) will hold a majority stake in the venture, with Ford (F) a minority shareholder. Other automotive companies expected to be announced as partners soon.

The new CarPoint site will be designed to offer customers an open online marketplace where they can find the exact car they want. Its flagship feature will be a build-to-order system, allowing customers to order any model of car to their exact specifications, receive immediate feedback on availability and schedule delivery and service at local dealerships.

The alliance is expected to boost online car sales for Ford, which currently offers online shopping in the form of credit applications and dealer locators only.

"The consumer is driving a revolution in automotive retailing, and Ford intends to be at the forefront of that revolution," said Jac Nasser, Ford president and chief executive officer.

"We share Microsoft's consumer focus and believe that this joint venture will lead to enhanced car-buying and customer experience, helping to build a more positive relationship between consumers and dealers."

"Microsoft and Ford share a vision that buying the exact car you want can be simple, fun and efficient," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's president.

"CarPoint is going to change the way cars are bought and sold with technology that brings together manufacturers and dealers to deliver the services and cars consumers want."