Ford’s CEO says 65% of US dealers agree to sell electric cars

Ford F-150 Lightning vehicles produced at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.

Courtesy: Ford Motor Co.

DETROIT – About 65% of Ford Motor Dealers have agreed to sell electric vehicles as the company invests billions to expand production and sales of battery-powered cars and trucks, CEO Jim Farley said Monday.

About 1[ads1],920 of Ford’s nearly 3,000 U.S. dealers agreed to sell electric cars, according to Farley. He said about 80% of those dealers chose the higher level of investment for EVs.

Ford offered its dealers the option to become “EV certified” under one of two programs – with expected investments of $500,000 or $1.2 million. Dealers in the higher tier, which have upfront costs of $900,000, receive “elite” certification and are assigned more EVs.

Ford, unlike its cross-country rival General Motors, allows dealers to opt out of selling electric cars and continue to sell the company’s cars. GM has offered buyouts to Buick and Cadillac dealers that don’t want to invest to sell electric cars.

Dealers who decided not to invest in electric cars can do so when Ford reopens the certification process in 2027.

“We believe that the adoption of electric cars in the United States will take time, so we wanted to give dealers a chance to come back,” Farley said during an Automotive News conference.

Ford’s plans to sell electric cars have been a point of contention since the company spun off its all-electric vehicle business earlier this year into a separate division known as Model e. Farley said the automaker and its dealers needed to lower costs, increase profits and deliver better, more consistent customer sales experiences .

Farley on Monday also reiterated that a direct sales model is estimated to be thousands of dollars cheaper for the automaker than the auto industry’s traditional franchise system.

Wall Street analysts have largely viewed direct-to-consumer sales as a boon for optimizing profits. However, there have been growing pains too Teslawho use the sales model, when it comes to servicing their vehicles.

Ford’s current lineup of all-electric vehicles includes the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, Mustang Mach-E crossover and e-Transit van. The automaker is expected to release a number of other electric cars globally under a plan to invest tens of billions of dollars in the technologies by 2026.

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