Earlier this year, Ford announced that it would be splitting itself into two distinct entities – Model e, which will focus on EVs, and Ford Blue, which will handle the ICE side of things. At that same time, FoMoCo also noted that it will ask Ford dealers to specialize in one or the other, or even other parts of the automaker’s business such as Ford Pro, the dedicated commercial entity. The idea is to let dealers choose which business model suits them best, though at the time, the automaker did not specify when we might expect to see this change. However, CEO Jim Farley is now saying that Ford dealers will likely switch over to the company’s new business model very soon.
“We’re now deep into discussions with our dealer partners around the globe, but especially in North America, on brand new standards that are required to launch a completely different customer experience that is leaner and better for our customers that we believe will not only be competitive but superior to a solely direct model,” Farley told investors while speaking on Ford’s Q1 2022 earnings call. “We’re drafting standards as we speak and plan to roll these out this year.”
On the EV side of things, dealers will be tasked with executing a list of new standards that Farley previously said will make the buying experience better than Tesla’s. As Ford Authority reported last month, that will likely include selling EVs at fixed prices, carrying zero inventory, and operating in scaled-down facilities. Dealers will be allowed to opt-in if they wish to sell EVs alongside ICE-powered vehicles as well. It’s currently unclear how much such a move would cost dealers or what sort of requirements will be in place, though the automaker’s “next-generation” EV certification costs roughly $35,000. Ford will also be sending salespeople, technicians, and parts employees to its new “Electric University” EV training school.
Selling EVs at fixed prices is a critical move as markups continue to tarnish the brand’s image. Most recently, the automaker itself expressed frustration over dealers selling the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning for over sticker price, though the vast majority are moving the new EV pickup at MSRP. Additionally, the automaker is looking to overhaul its dealer experience after ranking below average in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study and the 2022 Pied Piper PSI Internet Lead Effectiveness (ILE) Study.