Ford is making some changes to its dealership program as the automaker is focused on EV expansion. Part of the key strategy includes getting dealers on board, giving them the option to join the epic journey of sustainable expansion. Or else these dealers have to wait till 2027 to sell EVs.
The program includes different tiers, giving dealers two investment options. The base level, “EV certified,” requires a $500,000 investment and includes repair and maintenance and one DC fast charger, but it can only sell 25 EVs per year. For around $1 million to $1.2 million, dealers can become “certified elite” and will receive the following – two DC public fast chargers, demo units, rapid replenishment, and a presence at Ford.com. In December, Farley announced about two-thirds or 1,920 Ford dealers enrolled in its EV dealer program, 1,659 being “certified elite,” and the other 261 are certified EV dealerships. The program will result in one of the largest DC fast-charging networks in the US and will help Ford streamline EV distribution. However, according to a new report from Automotive News, Ford is working on changes to the program with its dealership network after state associations claim it’s unfair and breaks franchise laws.
Chairman of Ford’s National Dealer Council, Tim Hovik, said the two sides are close to “altering three major aspects of the program.” These include offering round-the-clock public charging, marketing benefits for the lower “certified EV” dealers, and how future EVs will be distributed, including the 25 caps for lower-tier dealers. The changes will likely narrow the differences between the two tiers. Hovick added, “I’m confident we’ll come to a place where all sides feel we’re fair and within the boundaries of the franchise laws.”
Earlier this month, Lincoln, part of the Ford brand, revealed over half of its dealers opted into Ford’s EV dealer program. More importantly, the 365 that did decide to join accounted for 88% of the brand’s sales volume. Ford initially created the Model e program to streamline distribution and get electric vehicles into customers’ hands more quicker by simplifying the logistics. To close the gap and compete with Tesla, Ford might need to get its dealers on the same page. Tesla sells directly to the consumer, skipping the dealership altogether and minimizing costs. Various automakers are adopting various ways to increase their sales. While the new EV makers are adopting the no-dealership aspect. While traditional automakers continue to go through dealerships because it has always been their strength for them.