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Ford CEO Jim Farley shares insights on “unreasonable” EV dealer markups

(Credit: Ford)

Ford held its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings call last week, where CEO Jim Farley addressed, among other things, the price markups dealers were placing on electric vehicles. 

“We don’t like making our customers wait and we’re taking action to ensure that they don’t pay unreasonable markups,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. 

Brian Johnson, an analyst with Barclays, asked Ford board members how the company would balance EV prices between invoices, revenue per vehicle, and actual transaction prices at the dealership level. Johnson estimated that Ford was leaving about $1,850 of profit in dealers’ hand for about $3.6 billion in profit with the current franchise system. 

In his response to the analyst, Ford CEO Jim Farley made sure to differentiate between ICE and BEV cars, stating that the answer to the analyst’s question would differ between the two types of vehicles. Farley shared that 10% of Ford’s dealers were overcharging customers for electric vehicles last year.

“On the BEV side, this is quite an important topic, because the margins that we want to build to in BEV are going to be heavily dependent on a different goto-market and customer experience,” he said. “I won’t go into any more than that, but this is a quite important lesson for us of the franchise system, and the way we will manage going forward. But I’m very optimistic now that our team has the intelligence in the market that we put an allocation trigger in for those dealers who choose to price that way. But it’s inefficiency no doubt about it.”

Last month, Ford sent an internal memo to dealers in the United States and Canada, advising sales staff not to apply price markups to the upcoming F-150 Lightning. The Lightning is Ford’s all-electric pickup truck, and deliveries are expected to start in the spring.  

At the recent Ford earnings call, Farley stated that the company “under-called” the demand for its first wave of EVs, referring to the Mustang Mach-E, the E-Transit, and the F-150 Lightning. In the past six months, Ford doubled its 2023 planned capacity for EVs to 600,000 units a year. 

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Ford CEO Jim Farley shares insights on “unreasonable” EV dealer markups
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