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Ford Dealers Getting Ready for EV Revolution


Appearing before the Automotive News World Congress, Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley revealed roughly two thirds of the company’s independent dealerships have signed on to sell electric vehicles.

Jim Farley, Ford CEO, said two thirds of the company’s dealers signed up to sell and service electric vehicles.

Farley said 1,920 Ford dealers have enrolled in the Model e program for 2024-2026. Moreover, the majority — 1,659 dealers — opted into the highest level, “certified elite,” which gives them full sales and service capabilities and requires a higher investment level. 

Dealers key constituency

These numbers suggest that dealers, a critical constituency inside the company, have faith in the company’s EV strategy.

Another 261 dealers opted to become “certified” with full-service capability, a cap on how many EVs they can sell, and a lower investment requirement

Back in September, Farley outlined for the Ford’s National Dealer Meeting each dealership — almost 3,000 total — had the option to enroll in the company’s new Model e business. 

The company will give those dealers who didn’t enroll this time around another opportunity to do so in 2025, as well as another wave that starts in 2027.

Farley said dealers who didn’t sign up for the company’s EV programs will have two more chances to do so in 2025 and 2027.

“We’re betting on the franchise system. Now the largest luxury brand in the United States didn’t,” Farley said during said referring to Tesla, which sells vehicles directly to consumers. “And we’re betting on the dealer council process,” Farley added.

EV-Certified dealers needed big investment

Ford offered 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 carries upfront costs of $900,000, receive “elite” certification and will be allocated more EVs.

Unlike General Motors, Ford is allowing dealers opting out of selling EVs to continue to sell the company’s cars. GM previously offered buyouts to Buick and Cadillac dealers that didn’t want to invest in selling EVs.

Dealers who decided not to invest in EVs may do so when Ford reopens the certification process in 2027.

Farley did not offer much information about the dealers who have declined to opt for the EV programs. However, Ford has maintained a large network of small dealerships in rural America, which have been a key piece of making the Ford F-Series pickup truck in America for the past 44 years.

“We think that the EV adoption in the U.S. will take time, so we wanted to give dealers a chance to come back,” Farley said during an Automotive News conference.


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