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Ford Dealers Can't List F-150 Lightning Prices Under MSRP

Ford is telling dealers not to advertise the new F-150 Lightning for less than MSRP in a move that could frustrate buyers looking to get the best deal. According to a bulletin sent yesterday to dealers, the brand won't allow any F-150 Lightning EV prices to be listed for less than sticker price or else risk losing a major subsidy.

The rule stems from a Minimum Allowable Advertised Price (MAAP) first implemented with the Mustang Mach-E that has since been extended to the 2022 F-150 Lightning truck. Both models don't have a traditional invoice price, and running afoul of the rule could result in dealers missing out on a sizable payout from Ford.

According to the letter, dealers compliant with its Ad Covenant Program "will receive payments of 1% of MSRP." The program is "voluntary," but actually allows dealers to report dealerships that don't abide by the brand's standards for mass-market advertising of the F-150 Lightning, Mach-E, and upcoming E-Transit.

It's important to note that dealers are free to sell the F-150 Lightning at whatever price they like. The limitation comes down to what they can advertise before incentives that are available to everyone. While that may be quite different from most other Ford models, EV-maker Tesla already utilizes a similar tactic.

Ford's rollout of its next-generation of EVs has been carefully managed in response to production delays and even involved significant compensation for consumers. Having said that, in addition to requiring dealers to invest in its next-gen EV certification, Ford has a number of potential obstacles for buyers.

Although F-150 Lightning prices will start at $39,974 on paper, our investigation found that the entry-level Lightning Pro will actually be limited to commercial customers. Even though F-150 Lightning plug-in rebates will be pretty good, we don't actually know whether Ford will pass along an EV tax credit to lessees.

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      As CarsDirect’s resident pricing expert, Alex offers must-know analyses of pricing & incentives to those looking to buy or lease a car. His consumer-oriented coverage of the latest trends and breaking news has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine, and more.

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