Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed that 1,920 of 2,968 Ford US dealers (~65%) agreed to become Model e certified dealers and starting in 2023, those dealers will enjoy exclusive perks to continue selling fully electric cars.
That still leaves about a third of its dealer network without the ability to sell one fully electric Ford vehicle from January 1, 2024 to at least January 1, 2027.
The news comes at a time when many dealers and officials are opposing the program. The Model e certification program comes in two levels of commitment.
On Friday, we closed our first enrollment period for the voluntary Model e EV Dealer Program. As of today, 1,920 @Ford Dealers (65% of the network) have enrolled and joined Ford on its EV journey, which is focused on elevating the customer experience for #EV customers.
The first, Model e Certified, whereby each registered dealer invests up to $500,000 and limits their electric vehicle sales to 25 units per year. The top tier, the Model e Certified Elite requires an investment of up to $1.2 million but provides more profit for the dealer. Of the 1,920 dealers who signed up, 1,659 opted for the Elite program.
Dealers participating in the Model e certification program will receive EV infrastructure and training to better assist customers. Dealers are required to set a no-haggle price on EVs.
Ford has about 3,000 dealers in the US and those who refuse to sign up for the Model e certification program won’t be able to sell EVs starting in 2023.
The restrictions annoyed officials and dealers alike. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he plans to ask state authorities as well as the FTC to investigate the legality of the Model e Certification program with respect to dealer franchise laws. According to Blumenthal, Ford is making a big mistake here by sticking with this approach.
Dealer associations have been criticized and feel left out of the EV sales circle. The dealers don’t seem to want to pass up the lucrative sales of electric vehicles, but they also don’t want to pay to improve the customer experience.
The voluntary Model e EV Dealer Program shows why @Ford is betting big on dealers. Working together, we will become the center of innovation and growth, and bring new value to customers and our Dealers.
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) December 5, 2022
Ford, for its part, says the program is fully legal nationwide. Farley says the customer comes first too. “We like to work with our dealers, but there are certain things our customers want that are non-negotiable… There is always a better way,” he said. “But I don’t think we made, really, a big mistake.” Dealers who didn’t register will have another chance to do so in 2025.