Ford’s EV dealer requirements have caused a bit of drama since they were announced in late 2022. With EV sales slowing, some dealers are getting antsy at the thought of sinking thousands or even millions of dollars into a lukewarm EV market. Still, 2,000 dealers bought into the program. Now, Electrek reports, hundreds of those dealers are pulling out altogether.
In December 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley announced that nearly 2,000 dealers had joined the Model e program. Under the program, dealers would be required to invest hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to get their dealerships ready to sell EVs. From Electrek:
The “certified elite” includes two public DC fast chargers, demo units, rapid replenishment, and a presence on Ford.com but will cost around $1 million to $1.2 million.
Farley said 1,659 chose the Certified Elite Tier; another 261 chose the Certified Tier for a total of 1,920 dealers in the program. There was pushback though. Some of it came from dealer associations that even went as far as accusing Ford of violating dealer franchise laws with the Model e program.
An Automotive News report last week revealed Ford would ease EV dealer requirements following “changes in the market.” The program has been met with its fair share of criticism. Last week, Illinois’ state motor vehicle board handed Ford dealers a victory after about 26 of them argued the company’s EV program violated state laws. The changes include fewer L2 chargers and an extended installation deadline. Dealer training will also be cut in half to around $20,000.
Now with the realities of the market, Ford has eased those requirements, including giving dealers the ability to opt-out if they changed their minds. Now nearly 400 have dropped out of the program.
Even though dealers are dropping out, a Ford spokesperson confirmed to Electrek that the company still believes in the program. “Ford stands by its voluntary Model e program,” a spokesperson explained. “The program is designed to ensure that Ford and its dealers” provide EV customers with a class-leading experience.”
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