In mid-September Ford struck first like Cobra Kai… and told dealers they had until Halloween to decide if they wanted to be a part of Ford’s bright new EV future. Here’s our article with with the details of that statement (quick read). But essentially, the ultimatum to the dealers went like this: 1) Ford Dealers can either invest heavily into charging stations for public use, plus training & tools at the dealer’s expense. Or 2) They don’t get to sell EVs.
Get on board or else.
Ford gave 2-tiers of EV options to the dealers.
Tier-1 would allow them to sell more EVs, but realistically cost an estimated 1 million dollars to build-out the dealer EV infrastructure. Tier-2 would cost about half that (with less chargers for public use), but kind of make them 2nd on the EV priority list, with less access to EV inventory. Keep in mind throughout this… how many EVs Ford has actually delivered in relation to all the hype (not many).
Ford’s leverage was/is:
If you don’t take-on this EV-overhaul expense… you’re gonna lose sales to the other local Ford dealers who do. But in the same breath – Ford also keeps saying they want to eliminate dealers for EV sales altogether… and sell directly to customers like Tesla does. So in my opinion, Ford dealers are getting heavily mixed signals. Ford keeps assuring dealers that they love ‘em a whole lot… but then in the next sentence say that selling EVs is gonna be a “brutal” transition for dealers.
Let’s just be honest, dealers are straight-up acting-a-fool these days & tarnishing their reputation with astronomical price adjustments. But overall in a more normal market – dealers provide valuable customer service, create local sales, & give Ford absolutely massive exposure across the country. Dealerships sell cars, the internet offers cars for sale. Big difference.
Anyway, cutting to the chase, today is Halloween… 🙂
AKA – Ford’s official deadline! Only now – Ford is extending their ultimatum/deadline to the end of November. Now I’m not inside the company, so I don’t know all the real rhyme or reasoning. But I do find it very interesting that Ford has extended their ever-so-bold Halloween deadline. Because I know from life experience in general, that when a deadline is extended, it’s usually NOT because it’s a smooth & smashing success. I see 3 possibilities here. 1) Ford’s EV ultimatum has actually been a success & Ford is extending a courtesy ‘last call’ for any final dealers who wish to jump on board. 2) Some Ford dealers are on board, but are getting caught-up in red tape delays with the EV infrastructure. 3) Ford dealers are pretty much uniting & telling Ford to f*ck off.
I personally hope it’s that last one. Because…
These kind of BS ultimatums…
May work in the impersonal big-tech world that Ford appears to be trying to emulate. But how will they work in the real world of symbiotic business relationships… like the ones between Ford & their nationwide network of dealers. How does this ultimatum really play-out? Ford is essentially trying to get their dealers to pay for a national Ford charging network. Smart… but kinda shitty.
For Ford dealers in metropolitan areas, it could make sense to take on the expense of EV-prepping your dealerships to be a Tier-1 Ford EV hub. But for the rest of the country… why? Why invest a million dollars into EV infrastructure, when your tried & true customers just want tried & true F150s, F250s, Expeditions, Explorers, and Escapes?
What does Ford do longterm…
When they run off their dealer support on the EV side? Sure – they can sell their EVs direct-to-customers online. That’s kinda what Ford wants. But down the road, how does Ford stand out from Tesla longterm? And how do Ford EV customers get service after the sale? Remember – Ford is the one who’s setting the EV ultimatum & strong-arming their dealers right here & right now. So if a future Ford EV owner comes wandering into a no-tier Ford dealership looking for service/help – bye Felicia!
All of this becomes Ford’s burden… IF the Ford dealers unite & don’t play ball with Ford’s EV ultimatums. This is the bed that Ford could be making. And this is what could happen when you lose touch with the bulk of your customer-base because of… insert here (bad leadership, intense propaganda, government overregulation, a fixation on Tesla.)