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This week, Ford Motor Company revealed a new, companywide strategy which asks its dealership network to invest into one of two “certified” EV tiers to sell Ford Model e vehicles moving forward. Based on this framework, only those dealers who buy in to one of these tiers will be authorized to sell EVs from January 1, 2024, onward.

2021 Mustang Mach-E

2021 Mustang Mach-E

Ford currently sits as second in US EV sales, behind Tesla. Earlier this year, Ford split its passenger vehicle business into Ford Blue (combustion vehicles and plug-in hybrids), Model e (battery electric vehicles), and Ford Pro (commercial/fleet vehicles). The new dealer commitments outlined this week will impact dealerships’ ability to sell from the Model e division, and are based upon five pillars:

– Specialized EV teams that are knowledgeable across sales and ownership
– EV University to train dealers and subsequently, customers

– Back-of-house charging infrastructure to support sales, maintenance, and care
– Public DC fast chargers available on Blue Oval Network

– Transparent, non-negotiable pricing (Ford will be “surveying customers post sale and monitoring the consistency of prices across different customers at each dealer”)

Physical Experiences
– Remote delivery available to all Model e customers
– Pickup and delivery offered with a loaner to all Model e customers

Digital Experiences
– Software and subscription opportunities available
– Ford Pass perks

For any dealers hoping to sell Model e vehicles, there will exist two certification options: Model e Certified and Model e Certified Elite. The Model e Certified category allows Ford dealers to sell EVs based on a limited number of retail orders over the course of a year, and requires an “estimated” investment of $500,000. According to Ford, “this number is a conservative estimate of what it will cost to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support all the requirements needed for the nascent EV market.” This category also mandates the installation of at least one public facing Ford DC fast charger.

As for the Model e Certified Elite, participating Ford dealers will be permitted to sell Ford’s entire lineup of EVs, and are not limited in retail or otherwise (online). For this category, Ford is telling dealers to prepare to invest an estimated US$900,000, because they are required to install two DC fast chargers, at least one of which must be public facing. Certified Elite Ford EV dealers will receive an “x amount per year” in EV volume, rather than a percentage.

The first wave of this new Model e dealer exclusivity will begin on January 1, 2024 and run until December 31, 2026. More importantly, Ford dealers must decide by October 31, 2022 if they want to commit to Model e Certified or Model e Certified Elite status; if they choose to pass, they can partake in the second wave of certification which will require commitment by 2025 in lieu of 2027 sales.

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