Dealerships: embrace EV or risk obsolescence

  • Around half of U.S. Ford dealers slam the brakes on 2024 EV sales programme.
  • Dealerships blame regional divides across the country, but won’t have another chance to enroll until 2027. 
  • Dealerships urged to ride the EV wave or risk obsolescence.

EV wake-up call: 50% of Ford dealerships ditch electric dreams for 2024

Since Ford launched the Model e Certified programme last year, it’s been a wild ride of controversy for the automaker’s foray into the EV scene. Dealers were handed the decision – jump in or bail out. Legal showdowns and trust issues took centre stage, pushing Ford to tweak the programme based on dealer complaints. They patched up a few holes, but the drama isn’t over. 

Now, about half of U.S. Ford dealers have hit the brakes on the entire EV sales programme for 2024, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. 

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According to FoMoCo, approximately 1,550 Ford dealers in the U.S. – roughly half – have decided to take a pass on the EV sales programme in the upcoming year, a notable drop from the 1,920 dealers who initially signed up about a year ago. In the meantime, a significant number of dealers have opted out, coinciding with The Blue Oval scaling back its planned EV investments and the production of certain models. The decision aligns with the realisation that while EV sales are on the rise, they’re not skyrocketing at the pace the automaker initially anticipated.

Ford spokesman, Marty Gunsberg, said:

“EV adoption rates vary across the country and we believe our dealers know their market best. As Ford dealers have completed their own local market assessments, enrolments for 2024 are just over 50 percent of the network, placing 86 percent of the population within 20 miles of a Ford dealership that can sell and service a Ford EV.”

Dealers who’ve jumped on board to sell EVs in 2024 will soon be flaunting signs, proudly declaring whether they’re a Model e Certified or Model e Certified Elite location. Meanwhile, dealers who opted out of both tiers won’t get another shot at the game until the next enrolment period swings around in 2027. 

Looking ahead…

Dealerships have a real opportunity to boost their game by jumping into the EV arena, and here’s why it’s not just a savvy move but a solid one. Firstly, embracing EVs gives them a competitive edge, making them stand out in the automotive landscape. Having a mix of vehicles, including electric options, signals they’re not just following trends – they’re staying ahead of the curve.

With emissions regulations tightening and government incentives favouring sustainable transportation, dealerships showcasing EVs aren’t just playing catch-up; they’re staying compliant and adapting to the changing industry norms. It’s not just about avoiding penalties, it’s about securing a spot in an industry that’s moving towards more eco-friendly practices.

But beyond regulations, supporting EVs ensures a dealership’s long-term relevance, showing they’re not just in it for quick gains but are invested in the industry’s sustainable future. Plus, promoting and offering EVs improves a dealership’s brand image, conveying a commitment to environmental responsibility. It appeals to a broader customer base, especially those who prioritise eco-friendly choices. So, embracing EVs isn’t just about business; it’s a smart move for the long run.

In a rapidly evolving landscape, the decision for dealerships to embrace EVs reflects not just a strategic business move, but a commitment to shaping a sustainable future. It goes beyond market trends and regulatory compliance; it’s a statement about adaptability and a forward-thinking approach. By choosing to be at the forefront of the EV movement, dealerships not only secure their place in an industry transitioning towards eco-consciousness, but also project an image of responsibility and resilience. It’s disheartening that about half of Ford dealers in the U.S. have opted out of the 2024 EV sales programme. The move to electric is more than just about profits; it’s a commitment to sustainability and encouraging consumers to actively contribute to the sector’s transformation. Dealerships must feel the electric jolt and spark incentives for consumers yet to adopt to take the next step. It’s a pivotal moment calling for proactive measures to drive positive change in the world. Those who stay off the electric wave risk fading into obsolescence, while the rest of the industry makes bold moves forward.

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