As Ford prepares to split itself into two distinct entities – Model e, which will focus on EVs, and Ford Blue, which will handle the ICE side of things – Ford dealers have also been asked to specialize in one or the other, or even other parts of the company’s business as soon as next year. As Ford Authority reported in early March, the forthcoming reorganization may also require that dealers sell EVs at fixed prices with zero physical inventory in scaled-down spaces. Now, Ford CEO Jim Farley has given his strongest statement yet indicating that this will indeed be the way that FoMoCo dealers do business at some point in the future.
“We got to go to nonnegotiated price, we got to go to 100 percent online,” Farley said while speaking at the 2022 Alliance Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. “The vehicle, there’s no inventory, goes directly to the customer, 100 percent remote pickup and delivery. But then we have this opportunity to use our physical presence to outperform them.”
Farley’s comments indicate that Ford will indeed continue to shift more toward online sales and fixed pricing, which has been expected for some time now, but his last sentence also reveals that the automaker plans to leverage its dealer network as an advantage over some competitors like Tesla and Rivian, which only sell direct and do not operate any physical dealerships – only locations that service those vehicles and offer test drives.
This concept isn’t entirely foreign to Ford, which has taken online reservations for a number of recent products, and is already selling the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ford Mustang Mach-E EV crossover directly to customers in China. Additionally, as Ford Authority reported last week, all Ford dealers are expected to offer pickup and delivery service as soon as next year.