Are you tired of reading about shady dealers marking up cars and taking advantage of buyers? Apparently, Ford is, too. According to The Drive, The Blue Oval issued a warning at its annual dealer conference, telling franchisees that they have until the end of October to decide whether to commit to fixed, no haggle pricing or be cut out of selling EVs.
Ford is far from the only auto brand watching its dealers make up their own pricing, but it’s been one of the quickest to act on the issue. Earlier this year, the automaker split its business operations, with one part of the company focusing solely on electric vehicles and powertrain development and the other continuing Ford’s gas vehicle development. If dealers want to sell EVs, they’ll have to opt into the rules for Ford Model E (the brand’s electric business arm) — one of which is a commitment to transparent, no-haggle pricing.
Once they’ve agreed to the terms and conditions, Ford dealers become Model E Certified. The automaker views this as an opportunity to push more of its network toward a model that Tesla and other startups adopted. Many younger buyers favor direct sales, as it limits the in-person time required to buy a car and makes the purchase process easier for many.
This is undoubtedly an annoyance for dealers, but they’ve long been asked to make investments to promote new products and initiatives. The shift to electrification has required the franchisees to make even more significant commitments, and in some cases, sizable financial investments, to meet automakers’ new requirements. Automakers, including Ford, have provided off-ramps for dealers not interested in making the switch to EVs. Cadillac saw an exodus of more than a third of its dealer network after it issued new rules for electric vehicle sales.
Ford will likely see some attrition with this policy change, but it’s offering dealers an opportunity to “spend more to make more,” so to speak. Stores already committed to selling EVs can promise to invest an additional amount – up to half a million dollars – to build additional chargers and invest in other equipment. Those that do can earn an “Elite” designation on their Model E certification and are not subject to allocation limits and other speedbumps that other certified dealers see.