This year’s annual Ford dealers’ meeting was spicier than usual, with the automaker giving dealers 6 weeks to go all-in on EVs.
Ford recently split its internal operations into three divisions – Blue Oval, which handles Ford’s “legacy” internal combustion business, Ford Pro, which handles commercial truck sales, and Ford Model E, which covers Ford’s electrification efforts. The big news at the Ford dealers’ meeting was an ultimatum issued by the company, giving dealers 6 weeks to commit to “Model E” certification.
If they don’t commit to that certification, Ford says they won’t be allowed to sell electric vehicles after 2023 … until at least 2027. (!?)
Ford Dealers Have Options
Ford dealers are being offered three options. The first is to get certified as a Model E “Elite” store, dealers will need to install high-powered DC fast chargers and level 2 charging stations, and offer at least one DC fast charger available for the public to use (a goofy requirement, if you ask us). Ford estimates the all-in cost for dealers to become Model E Elite certified at somewhere between $1.0 and $1.2 million, with most of that cost going towards the purchase and installation of the required charging infrastructure.
If that particular pill proves too expensive to swallow, Ford dealers can opt to spend about $500,000 for “just” Model E certification, and will be required to install “only” one DC fast charger. The new Model E dealers will be allowed to sell EVs, but there will be a “hard cap” on the number they’re allowed to sell (undisclosed at this time).
The third option is to simply keep selling the internal combustion vehicles that currently make up about 95% of Ford sales, and hope the electric revolution just – doesn’t happen?
The Nancy Reagan “Nuclear Option”
It’s almost impossible to imagine hundreds of Ford dealer principals putting aside their “big fish in a small pond” egos to band together, but if they did, they could, collectively, tell Ford CEO Jim Farley that his plans to rein in dealers who don’t want to play by his “no-haggle” EV pricing rules won’t get very far by agreeing, every one of them, to “just say no” to Model E certification (Elite or otherwise), leaving Ford holding its EV bag all alone.
Of course, that’ll never happen – so, what can you, as a consumer, expect from a visit to one of the coming Model E certified Ford dealers? It’s important to note that there still won’t be any “online ordering” or “hybrid” sales models coming from Ford (at least, not yet). The dealers will still be very much a part of the process, and they’ll be required to sell their EVs at a set, no-haggle price that will be displayed on the Ford website.
The catch, of course, is that the dealers will still retain their right to set prices at whatever level they want, so you might still see thousands of dollars’ worth of markups – it’ll just be easier to see who is charging what (assuming the dealers don’t, you know, collude on pricing to maximize their own profits).
It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes, and whether Ford’s “spend the money” approach will be more or less successful than GM’s “do what we say or get out” approach to pushing corporate electrification on its dealers. In the meantime, feel free to share your predictions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
SOURCE | IMAGES: FORD, VIA INSIDE EVS.
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