Some dealers are unhappy with the changes to the Ford Model E program -Dlight News

Some dealers are unhappy with the changes to the Ford Model E program

Automakers are investing billions to move toward electric vehicles, but that money doesn’t cover franchised dealer networks in the United States. Training staff to sell EVs and upgrading equipment to service them is an expensive endeavor, and some dealers are unwilling to undertake the effort. Late last year, Ford announced a tiered EV sales program for its dealers that required investment in facilities and training, but the automaker recently changed some rules, causing many dealers to leave the program in protest. Ford initially reported that 1,920 dealers had agreed to its Model E program, which involves investments between $500,000 and $1.2 million, but enrollment dropped to 1,891 after the changes. The automaker has removed some requirements for the lowest dealer tier, including lowering the 25-EV per year cap and loosening the requirement that public chargers operate 24/7. Ford is still pleased with enrollment and said it will open another round of signups for the program starting in 2027. Many dealers were already unhappy with Ford’s new rules. More than 30 state dealer associations have registered opposition to the Model E, which also requires changes to vehicle sales practices. The automaker wants dealers to set no-haggle prices and offer remote pickup/delivery of vehicles for service. Dozens of dealers in North Carolina have filed a petition challenging the program to Ford. As Automotive News notes, it’s essentially a lawsuit because state DMV commissioners are the legal authority on the issue. The Model E is part of Ford’s push to increase quality and improve its customer service model. The automaker has struggled with both, presenting significant challenges in its catch-up efforts with Tesla on EV sales. Ford sold more than 61,000 EVs last year, but has a long way to go to catch up with Tesla, which has about 65 percent of the EV market here.
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