Ford Dealers Fight Model E Sales Plans

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
ford dealers fight model e sales plans

Ford's plan to divide its dealers by type of combustion system -- Ford Blue for internal-combustion vehicles, Ford Pro for commercial, and Ford Model E for battery-electric vehicles -- has hit a snag.

At the annual dealer conference in Las Vegas, held back in September, Ford said it would have two Model E tiers: Model E Certified and Model E Certified Elite. Dealers had until Oct. 31 to decide which one they wanted to join, with the plan formally commencing on Jan. 1, 2024. Now, Ford has pushed the decision day back to Dec. 2 after dealers balked.

According to Automotive News, dealers are overall supportive of Ford's plans to sell EVs, but unhappy with the tiered system.

This is because Ford is requiring dealers to install EV chargers. Stores in the Certified tier are being asked to fork over a cool half-million dollars to install at least one DC fast charger that would put out at least 120 kW of juice and be publicly available. Certified Elite dealers would be asked to shell out $1.2 million bucks for two DC fast chargers that would be part of the Blue Oval network. Dealers are also unhappy with Ford because they won't be able to keep their allotted 25 EVs per year on the showroom floor, and because the company is insisting on no-haggle pricing.

Ford head honcho Jim Farley also wants dealers to try to save $2K in savings per vehicle so that the company's profit margins are closer to what Tesla sees.

Dealers, of course, see this as taking money out of their pockets.

Ford pushes back by saying it worked with dealers on the tiers and even created the lower tier specifically because of dealer feedback. But now that dealers are weighing cost against potential gain, they've started to worry the gain won't be worth it.

They're also concerned about franchise laws -- some, for example, are arguing that the 25-vehicle cap isn't allowed in their state. A few others seem to think that Ford shouldn't split up its sales by combustion type.

Ford, of course, says the program is legal.

Your author's take is that while it does seem odd for Ford to split EV sales off from sales of ICE vehicles -- and why do EV buyers get Certified program perks like loaner cars when their vehicles are in for service, while ICE customers might not? -- dealers are also, of course, going to look out for their own pocketbooks out of pure self-interest. So some pushback isn't shocking, and the OEM and its dealer group will have to work together to make this new program work. Oh, and Ford may have to assuage some local lawmakers, too.

[Image: Ford]

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4 of 18 comments
  • InCogKneeToe InCogKneeToe on Nov 08, 2022

    It is worded "Upto 25 units per Year" there is not even a guarantied 25 units.

    Even if there is 25, at a Fixed Profit Margin of $5-6000/ unit. How many years does it take to pay back $1.2 Million?

    Ford head honcho Jim Farley also wants dealers to try to save $2K in savings per vehicle so that the company's profit margins are closer to what Tesla sees.

    Where is Musk's Dealer Group's Profit? Where is Musk's Dealer Group Asset should something go south, let's say like Chevrolet had with Bolt Battery Packs?

  • How in the Christ does it cost 1.2 million dollars for essentially a voltage stepper ?????????????

  • MaintenanceCosts They can't keep selling through the current hodgepodge mess of desperate or disreputable dealers. Somehow the sales model has to change. Whether they become the Don Quixote that tilts at the franchise-law windmill to sell direct, or they cut a deal to get into another OEM's dealer network, something has to change.They've always been able to engineer competitive cars when they want to, but they haven't had a reasonable way to sell them since the Chrysler tie-up ended.
  • Sgeffe There’s a guy on YouTube who owns several Oldsmobile Diesel-equipped vehicles, including an A-Body with the 4.3 V6. Might be the Chevy.IIRC, Adam Wade on the “Rare Classic Cars” channel stated that this engine was also available in 1985 only in the redesigned C-Bodies (98 Regency, Electra, DeVille/Fleetwood).
  • Tassos It's a GREAT value, but what, if any, profit will GM make from this vehicle? When it prices it at only $30k, while the much smaller and much CRAPPIER FIAT 500E goes for OVER $40k????
  • Tassos The consumers (not the "market") DO trust EVs, but those that are superior and well-priced,THey buy millions of TESLAS and very few copies of all the other dozens and dozens of LEGACY BEVs.Makes sense to me. None of these experienced makers have YET succeeded to design and build a better Tesla, that is ALSO PRICED COMPETITIVELY.
  • Tassos NOBODY really HAS to buy a new or even used car in this insane 2022 market, and those who do are damned fools.THIS IS the way to discourage dealer markup. FIX your damn car and DO NOT GO BEGGING THEM TO GIVE YOU A NEW ONE, in this BIGGEST SELLER's MARKET EVER.DO NOT BE AN ECON ILLITERATE. WAIT A YEAR OR TWO, THEN BUY.