Ford dealers are beginning to push back and drop out of the Model e electric vehicle sales program. The initiative was launched by the Detroit-based automaker last year in hopes of encouraging dealerships to carry, sell, and deliver EVs. It has not gone according to plan for some.
Ford saw mass success when it first launched the program, reporting that about two-thirds of U.S. dealerships decided to opt into the program.
It featured two “tiers,” one called “Certified,” which would give Ford locations the ability to service the company’s electric cars and would not require as much of an initial cost, which was $500,000. However, there was a limit on the number of EVs allotted for that location, which was removed.
The second tier, known as “Certified Elite,” would cost between $1 million and $1.2 million and would give dealers two DC fast chargers, priority in replenishing EV models, more exposure on Ford’s company website, and demo units, which could be sold.
Most dealers chose the higher tier, with Ford CEO Jim Farley stating 1,920 locations enrolled, and 1,659 of them opted into the Certified Elite tier.
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The problem is that now, some dealers are challenging the program and are deciding to opt out of the Model e EV initiative. A new report from Automotive News said 29 Ford dealers have decided to ultimately leave the “Certified” program, and 24 additional locations switched from Certified Elite to the lower-level Elite program.
It doesn’t stop there. 46 dealers located and based in North Carolina have filed a petition with the State’s Commissioner of the Division of Motor Vehicles that challenges the Model e programs.
The attorney representing the dealers in North Carolina, Shawn Mercer, said the dealers involved in the petition waited for Ford to make revisions to the program to improve it, but the changes were insufficient in the eyes of the locations.
In Ford’s case, it is learning the troubles of setting the terms of its EV sales program and how some dealerships may not be too keen on the terms of the tiers. The dealers that paid $500,000 to enroll in a program that allows them to sell a limited number of vehicles per year may be realizing it simply isn’t worth the investment or hassle.
Ford, like many companies, has also struggled with its ability to supply dealers with EV models, which has made wait times for some vehicles go well over a year. Dealers could be seeing the hefty initial investment as a waste until supply chain issues can be solved and production is at a level that can be level with demand.
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