Select Page

Editorial: Ford dealers are right to balk at EV requirements – Automotive News

by Nov 10, 2022Blog0 comments

Legacy automakers and their dealer networks face some serious decisions as electric vehicles grow in popularity and internal combustion vehicles lose some of their luster under tightening emission regulations.
But few of those decisions are as fundamental as this: Will automakers work with dealers to make the transition to EVs a reality, or will they view the transition as an opportunity to pressure their “trusted business partners?”
This is the struggle playing out right now across Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. dealer network as the automaker implements an Orwellian “Model e” playbook that would treat all dealers equally — as it must under existing franchise laws — while effectively making some more equal than others.
That is wrongheaded, and state dealer associations as well as Ford dealers are right to pressure the automaker to amend some aspects of its strategy.
Ford’s requirement that its dealers invest up to $1.2 million in their businesses to prepare to sell EVs is not at issue — dealers understand that investments are needed to transition their businesses to sell and repair EVs. What is problematic is the automaker’s plan to create tiers of dealerships: Model e Certified Elite, which could sell any Ford vehicle, and Model e Certified, which would be limited to just 25 build-to-order retail sales per year. That lesser category would have no EV inventory, no EV demo units available and no visibility on the automaker’s Tier 1 website for its EVs.
Also at issue is Ford’s requirement that participating dealers install customer-facing fast charging at their dealerships, ostensibly to support EV customers while third-party charging networks develop. While this requirement might please Wall Street analysts as it creates a corollary with Tesla’s charging network, it does so at dealer expense and with no financial assistance from Dearborn. It also vastly overestimates consumer interest in spending time at a dealership when not buying a vehicle or having it serviced.
Compare Ford with some of its competitors.
Cadillac offered buyouts to its dealers who didn’t see a return in their future from a transition to an all-electric lineup, while 99 percent of Volkswagen’s U.S. dealers signed up when the brand offered to subsidize up to half of the cost of upgrades.
Ford executives would be wise to rethink their Model e strategy, and perhaps adopt some best practices on being good partners from competitors facing similar transitions.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter your email address.
Please verify captcha.
Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe.
See more newsletter options at

You can unsubscribe at any time through links in these emails. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.
Sign up and get the best of Automotive News delivered straight to your email inbox, free of charge. Choose your news – we will deliver.
Get 24/7 access to in-depth, authoritative coverage of the auto industry from a global team of reporters and editors covering the news that’s vital to your business.
Our mission
The Automotive News mission is to be the primary source of industry news, data and understanding for the industry’s decision-makers interested in North America.
1155 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
(877) 812-1584
Email us
Automotive News
ISSN 0005-1551 (print)
ISSN 1557-7686 (online)
Fixed Ops Journal
ISSN 2576-1064 (print)
ISSN 2576-1072 (online)