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Only half of Ford dealers agreed to sell electric vehicles in 2024
By Zoey Sky // Jan 03, 2024

Ford has announced that only half of all 1,550 Ford dealers have agreed to sell electric vehicles in 2024. The figure has gone down from two-thirds who in 2022 said they would sell electric cars in 2023.

The other half of Ford dealers will sell and service internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid models.

According to Ford spokesman Martin Gunsberg, electric vehicle rates "vary across the country, and we believe our dealers know their market best."

Gunsberg said "dealer enrollments for 2024 entry have stabilized at just over 50 percent of the network," or about 1,550 dealers. This enrollment level places 86 percent of the population within 20 miles of a Ford dealership capable of selling and servicing a Ford EV, added Gunsberg.

The decline in buy-in from Ford dealerships follows the relaxation of requirements for Ford's EV dealer program which mandated fewer L2 chargers and extended installation deadlines.

Previously, certified Ford EV dealers were required to spend $500,000 for a single public direct current (DC) fast charger, or $1 million if they wanted to be in the Elite tier of EV dealers.

The extra $500,000 was for several things, such as another fast charger and demo units. However, the high price tag made many Ford dealers hesitate. (Related: Automakers cut programs and reassess future plans for EV production as consumer demand plummets.)

There was a similar engagement among Buick dealers in 2022, with at least 50 percent of Buick dealers choosing buyouts of their franchises instead of selling electric cars. This resulted in General Motors (GM) having 47 percent fewer Buick dealers by the end of 2023 compared to January of the same year.

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The hardline taken by GM with regard to its Buick dealers is aligned with Buick’s ambitious plan to be all-electric by 2030.

Early in December, Ford announced that it would reduce the number of F-150 Lightning EV trucks it would produce by half in 2024. The automaker plans to produce only 1,600 F-150s per week beginning in January, down from 3,200 per week, to match customer demand.

Dealers worried about significant investments required to sell EVs

Dealer worries are partly attributed to the large investments Ford requires from its dealers to sell electric cars, including DC fast-chargers that allow each sales lot to double as a charging location for owners, along with other training for staff.

The certification programs, which can cost up to $1 million or more, has landed Ford in several lawsuits.

In one case, an Illinois board ruled in favor of a dealership group that said Ford's program violated state laws. Ford plans to appeal the decision.

Ford dealers were some of the first to raise alarm bells on waning EV demand early in 2023 when some stores started turning down Mustang Mach-E allocations.

Later in 2023, some Ford dealers said they were struggling to fill orders for the electric F-150 Lightning.

Back in December, Ford reduced production of the Lightning after temporarily cutting a shift of production in October. The company sold 16,000 electric trucks in the first nine months of 2023, but this was only a small fraction of the estimated 570,000 F-series vehicles it sold in the same period.

Ford has also postponed a $12 billion investment in EV manufacturing amid the sales slowdown.

Ford's relationship with dealers has suffered since the company started enforcing the new requirements for electric vehicles. The company came in last in a recent survey of dealers' trust in their franchises, with 46 percent of Ford dealers admitting that they have "no trust" in the franchise.

Visit RoboCars.news for more updates about electric cars in America.

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More related stories:

Ford Motor Company scales down EV investments at Michigan plant due to declining demand and inflation pressures.

Electric cars in Florida catching fire after Hurricane Ian.

Over 1.1 million Tesla electric cars in China RECALLED over dangerous braking defect.

Sources include:




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