Ford Allowing All Dealers To Sell EVs

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - June 14, 2024
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Ford is backtracking on its original plan to have dealerships pay for an electric vehicle certification program to sell the automaker’s EVs. As Automotive News reports, as of July 1, Ford will be reopening EV sales to its entire retail network, as it looks to get more EVs into the hands of shoppers. Dealers, though, will be expected to invest in training through the automaker’s virtual Ford University platform and will be required to spend an undisclosed amount of money to have two Level 2 chargers available for customers to use.

The automaker didn’t provide all of the details on training requirements and what it expects from dealers, but the outlet claims that more information should be coming by the first quarter of next year. Marin Gjaja, COO of Ford Model e, told the outlet that instructions will include information on how dealerships can safely handle high-voltage equipment. On top of being required to have two Level 2 chargers, Gjaja stated that dealerships would also be required to have adapters for new charging ports that Ford plans to fit on its EVs in the future.

The outlet claims that Ford alluded to the business change last month and officially announced its plans to dealers on June 13. The automaker’s executives reportedly met with Ford National Dealer Council in Detroit this month to finalize the changes to its EV sales plans.

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"At this point, we're basically saying we want to lower the bar to let people get in," Gjaja, COO told Automotive News. "We'll probably have to continue to evolve from here, but we wanted to get everyone in because what we're seeing is a market that is evolving and the customer needs support. We'd rather have more dealers in helping us with that. Before we tried to create focus because we were supply-constrained. But we aren't anymore."

In 2021, Ford sent a letter to dealerships to let them know that they would have to invest as much as $35,000 to attain the brand’s “next-generation” EV certification if they wanted to sell its electric cars. Dealers that didn’t receive the necessary certification wouldn’t be able to take reservations and online orders “for current and future Ford EV products” and perform warranty service on these vehicles. At the time, the automaker claimed that the investment was optional for most dealers and was merely an estimate to cover installation, service equipment, and chargers.

Then in September 2022, Ford announced a new series of requirements for its Model 3 electric vehicle certification program. As Auto News outlines, Ford separated dealerships into two categories that depended on the initial investment that the dealership made if it wanted to participate in the program: dealers that invested $500,000 or those that invested up to $1.2 million. Not too long after, Ford claimed that the actual cost of the investment was lower than it had previously charged. The American automaker eventually loosened its requirements on how many chargers the two tiers required based on feedback from dealerships and decided to backtrack from plans to limit the amount of inventory that dealers in the lower tier could have.

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As one could imagine, the 2022 program drew negative feedback from dealerships, along with numerous lawsuits that argued that Ford’s practice was illegal. Ford still doesn’t think that the program was a mistake, but believes that things are changing, which is why it’s changing its program now.

"Based on what we knew at the time, we think it was the right call," said Gjaja. "We believe we're pivoting at the right time to take advantage to what's happening in the market. The market's changed. It's humbling, but the most important thing we can do for our dealers and our business is to change with it, and not just keep pounding away with the same strategy."

With more dealerships carrying Ford’s electric vehicles in stock, more shoppers should have the ability to purchase one of the automaker’s electric vehicles. Currently, Ford sells the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning, and E-Transit van.

Pictured: 2024 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Top), 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning (Middle), 2022 Ford E-Transit (Bottom)

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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