Last week, Ford CEO Jim Farley asked a group of dealers for some open and honest feedback while promising to spend the next few weeks visiting showrooms. The point was to create a conversation between the automaker and dealerships that have grown annoyed with some of the changes Ford has been asking them to make. However, the latest from the North American Dealers Association (NADA) meeting makes it sound like the relationship may still be dicey.
A recent survey, conducted by Automotive News, has indicated that automotive dealerships are still broadly dissatisfied with the Biden administration’s strategy to force the United States to pivot toward all-electric vehicles. According to the 2024 Dealer Outlook Survey, 83 percent of respondents said the government was pushing the transition toward EVs too quickly and mucking up the auto market.
Buick reportedly spent 2023 closing a lot of dealerships. The brand lost 47 percent of its American retail locations through the year, which has been attributed to General Motors buying out storefronts that refused to invest in the necessary changes required to sell all-electric vehicles.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced the finalization of the new Combating Auto Retail Scams (CARS) rule designed to prevent auto dealers from utilizing bait-and-switch tactics and hidden junk fees. While these are technically illegal already, CARS is supposed to give the FTC more leeway in determining what constitutes fraud and serve as a warning to dealers that may be crossing the line.
A New York judge has halted Ford and Lincoln from instituting a specific set of requirements before allowing dealerships to sell the brands’ all-electric vehicles. This comes after five stores operating within the state launched a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. for introducing a new certification process for EVs. The issue was that the automaker was asking too much from dealerships and effectively favoring those with deeper pockets by forcing changes that required significant financial investments.
Ford introduced its tiered dealer program nearly twelve months ago, splitting stores interested in selling electric into “Model e Certified Elite” and “Model e Certified.”
Nobody likes bureaucratic red tape or waiting on payment and this seems to have become a sticking point for retailers nervously waiting to see how the United States’ updated EV tax credit scheme plays out.
According to a report from Automotive News, dealers are getting worked up about the prospect of not receiving money swiftly enough — mimicking some of the hardships endured during the Cash-for-Clunkers period.
Those who follow the automotive industry will have undoubtedly noticed that dealer inventories are slowly approaching levels that would have been considered normal before the pandemic. While this is presumably good news for people who have absolutely had it with dealerships marking up their products, some are growing concerned by how much electric vehicle inventories are outpacing their gasoline-reliant counterparts.
Despite elevated fuel prices, aggressive marketing, and most companies vowing to transition toward building electrified automobiles exclusively, America has an EV supply of more than 100 days on dealer lots. That’s about double the average for gasoline vehicles. While it would seem that people are losing interest in battery-driven automobiles, industry experts are claiming that all is not as it seems.
Canadian dealers of Mercedes-Benz vehicles are reporting that the automaker is considering revising its strategy for North America.
The dealers attended a market-wide retailers meeting in Vancouver held in May and noted that the automaker was fretting about consumer hesitancy over expensive electric vehicles. Concerns centered around the ailing economy, which has been undermined by higher interest rates and ongoing inflation.
Stellantis is reportedly no longer allocating gasoline-only vehicles to the fourteen states with leadership that has agreed to adhere to the emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). While the rules exceed federal standards, they’ve been embraced by coastal regions and beginning to influence how the industry does business.
For Stellantis brands (e.g. Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, etc.) this means dealer allocation will prioritize powertrains based on how restrictive the local emissions standards happen to be.
The latest research from Carfax has led the company to report that more than 1.9 million vehicles on the road have rolled-back odometers – noting that this represents a 7 percent increase against the previous year.
“Many people think odometer fraud disappeared with the invention of digital odometers,” stated Emilie Voss, Public Relations Director for Carfax. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re still seeing the number of vehicles on the road with a rolled-back odometer rise year-over-year.”
Connecticut legislators from both sides of the political fence appear to be less than thrilled with Ford about the deadline it’s imposing on dealerships vying to sell all-electric vehicles. Blue Oval wants retailers to make sizable investments to install on-site charging stations and retrain their staff on how to service EVs. For some stores, this means doling out over one-million dollars just to have the privilege of selling the latest models coming from the Ford Motor Company.
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- Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.
- TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
- TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
- TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
- FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.