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Ford Scraps EV Certification Program Allowing All Dealers To Sell Electric Cars

The move is garnering mixed reactions but Ford says it’ll enable dealers to meet demand more effectively

 Ford Scraps EV Certification Program Allowing All Dealers To Sell Electric Cars

  • Ford is sunsetting its controversial Model e certification program.
  • The move effectively doubles the amount of dealers that sell electric Ford vehicles.
  • It’s drawing both commendation and condemnation from dealers.

In late May, Ford asked its Model e certified dealers to pause investments. The subset of dealers had certain exclusive rights to sell electric Ford vehicles. Today, the automaker announced that it’s sunsetting the program altogether. Understandably, that shift in Ford’s sales model has garnered mixed reactions.

The whole point of the Model e program was to reward dealers who invested heavily, up to $1.2 million, in EV infrastructure and training. At the same time, those investments would, in theory, create a better experience for EV customers. In reality, some of that was true, but Ford also dealt with lawsuits from dealers who thought it was unfair. And all this, despite the fact that the Blue Oval has nearly doubled it’s EV sales this year over the same period in 2023.

More: Ford’s EV Sales Nearly Double In 2024, Bronco Slumps 16%

Rumors emerged last month that CEO Jim Farley was personally involved in meetings with dealers that discussed axing the program. At the time, Ford’s VP of EV programs, Lisa Drake, said that “What we’re finding is more dealers want to be involved in it, and we don’t want to be exclusive to just a handful. We’ll be more ubiquitous with our training and make sure essentially all of our dealers are equipped to sell them.”

That theme was largely the one that Ford leaned on during its announcement today that all dealers will get access to EVs starting on July 1st. “At this point, we’re basically saying we want to lower the bar to let people get in,” Marin Gjaja, COO of Ford Model e, said according to Autonews.

 Ford Scraps EV Certification Program Allowing All Dealers To Sell Electric Cars

“We’ll probably have to continue to evolve from here, but we wanted to get everyone in because what we’re seeing is a market that is evolving and the customer needs support. We’d rather have more dealers in helping us with that. Before we tried to create focus because we were supply-constrained. But we aren’t anymore.”

“Based on what we knew at the time, we think it was the right call,” he said. “We believe we’re pivoting at the right time to take advantage to what’s happening in the market. The market’s changed. It’s humbling, but the most important thing we can do for our dealers and our business is to change with it, and not just keep pounding away with the same strategy.”

The Program Had Its Successes

 Ford Scraps EV Certification Program Allowing All Dealers To Sell Electric Cars

According to Gjaja, the certification program wasn’t a total failure. The way he speaks about it as though it was only meant to cater to early adopters almost. “What we tried to do is use Model e to innovate on behalf of Ford and really try to understand what we needed to do to meet the customers where they were,” Gjaja said.

“Net promoter scores, a measure of customer satisfaction, on our EV business have skyrocketed over the course of rolling out the program. The changes have been working, we feel very good about what we’ve done to train our dealers and shift some of these things.”

Some Dealers Are Upset

 Ford Scraps EV Certification Program Allowing All Dealers To Sell Electric Cars

Roughly half of Ford’s dealers across the nation adopted the certification program and several who did are less than stoked about this announcement. Jim Seavitt, owner of Village Ford in Dearborn, told Detroit News, “Given the number of EVs we have sold and will sell in the next year, it’s overkill,” he said about the infrastructure.

“I thought I had to do it to sell electric. Those that didn’t do it got off the hook. They have to make that part of it right.” His dealer paid for two DC fast chargers and eight Level 2 chargers as a part of the program. It’s worth noting that until recently, EV models carried a premium that the dealer would’ve likely benefited from.

Now, it appears as though all Ford dealers are going to have the chance to help move these electric cars. Customers no longer have to worry about which dealers sell what. In the next few months, they should be able to pick up just about every model from every dealer across the nation. 

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