Ford Authority

Ford Dealers Wary, Skeptical About Upcoming Changes

Ford dealers are expected to play a key role in The Blue Oval’s pivot all-electric vehicles, and as such, they will be subject to many recent changes their business model. As Ford Authority previously reported, these changes are expected to run the gamut from digital sales to fixed prices, although many of the details about the changes are in flux. Given the unprecedented nature of what Ford wants its dealers to do, some franchise holders are concerned about how the company is treating them, as a new report from The Wall Street Journal demonstrates.

According to the report, some dealers are balking at the changes, questioning why a vehicle powered by electric motors should be sold any differently than an ICE-powered model. The pushback prompted Farley to host group meetings with approximately 300 Ford dealers in total to discuss their concerns. Farley did his best to raise the morale of his dealers and made sure to let them know that he views them as an integral cog in the machine that drives Ford’s success. This is the first time that such meetings have been revealed, and it may indicate that Farley’s hard charging comments about how the automaker’s dealer network may have backfired a bit.

Based on Farley’s comments, some dealers felt as though they were being sidelined, and his statement regarding zero inventory while emphasizing online sales raised some eyebrows. Dealers expressed concerns that Farley’s vision looked more like the business model used by Tesla and Rivian. Some dealers said that they feared his comments meant that they would become simple service and repair facilities instead of a place to buy and sell new vehicles.

Fixed prices are also a point of contention, as the company has recently experienced blowback for markups on vehicles like the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, although the majority of dealers are not engaging in the practice. That said, at least some of the franchise holders in the network have been taking advantage of the ongoing chip shortage to the point where the company has found it necessary to flex its weight. Ford dealers have already been warned about tacking excessive fees onto leases and buyouts, a direct result of a low-supply, high-demand scenario. Both General Motors and Hyundai have warned their dealers against the same sort of practice, so it’s certainly an industry-wide concern. Additionally, dealers of The Blue Oval have been recently scrutinized for abusing the allocation program by creating orders for customers who did not exist, prompting Ford to implement a stricture name-match policy. Lincoln dealers were also called out for attempting to do the same thing.

Whatever the case, it seems that changes are on the horizon, for better or for worse. We’ll have more on these changes soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Alexandra is a Colorado-based journalist with a passion for all things involving horsepower, be it automotive or equestrian.

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  1. Edward Newman

    That’s what happens when you price gouge and play games with customer orders, fake orders etc.

    1. Bob

      Have fun Ed when your vehicle has an issue and the dealer has NO reason to fix it right or give you good service bc why should they? You didn’t buy it from them. You just bought it online for cheap. If you don’t think you’re going to get screwed, you’re not paying attention.

      1. JR

        You realize that dealerships get paid for warranty work – it’s not charity work. Any dealership that is not interested in servicing ANY vehicle whether purchased at dealer or not is in a fools game. There is a lot of money is service and repair especially when you have sparse inventory to sell

      2. Bob

        “Have fun Ed when your vehicle has an issue ?” You mean when they mess up and can’t fixt stuff now? Get off your high horse. Capitalism will make the dealer as useful as a buggy whip. Ford can offer training to those that want it and sell gear to fix. Dealers can buck up or go broke and go back to hustling Amway. Dealers have KICKED people when they are down and that, in this day and age of electronic media, sticks for a long time. Stealing peoples orders and reselling them? Marking up beyond sanity. Talk about no one crying when your see for sale on a dealership lot.
        Even the Maverick is being used and the idea of good cheap truck is being destroyed. So up every dealers keister hope you have fun in your retirement.

        1. Bob

          You mad? lol Seriously, you’re thinking is beyond stupid. You think it’s fun waiting for 12 months for Ford to build a vehicle with no communication to the customer? No more calling your salesmen asking where your vehicle is. Now you get to wait on hold with a Ford rep in India for 6 hours just to be told nothing. You get what you want and you’ll hate every second of it. Have fun screaming in the void.

        2. Joe

          I got 2 brand new 2022 vehicles in 2022. The Maverick took 13 weeks and the Nautilus took 12 weeks. Communication with Ford was great and new when they were produced, shipped and landed.


        As a Ford shop foreman forever you are not aware Ford pays as little as possible for warranty reimbursement. They do not allow nearly enough time to diagnose the issue and no where enough to do a quality repair. So the dealer and the poor mechanics get screwed by Ford all the time. This new clown at the helm is just another in a long line of jerks trying to pump up the stock and make unrealistic goals. Screwing the dealerships and the customers to attain their crazy goals. I have witnessed it more times than I care to think about. I go back to Jack Nasser. That moron almost bankrupted Ford. Remember when they were promising self driving vehicles a while back? They did some quick backtracking on that ! This everything electric now bullsh1t will bite them in the a$$ too. I feel better now !!!


    Farley is an idiot!!

  3. Tim

    Hmm maybe fords next move is to employ Amazon to sell and deliver their vehicles. Dealerships and large lots would not be required.
    No sales people just repair centres seems the way they are going.

    1. Tony

      Full autonomy is for people that cannot drive or shouldn’t be driving

  4. Preben Christensen

    I’m waiting for my 2022 King Ranch to arrive waiting for a year. Sad to say this will be my last Ford. Been a steady customer since I bought my 1960 Ford Sunliner. I will not be a part of your woke agenda so I will keep this last Ford till I can’t drive anymore. Go Ecoboost.

  5. donnie

    Farley and his crew are a farce-waiting a year and no maverick in sight in the furture either-fix one part before you mess the whole machine up-bring ford a
    back to america and send the current executives to mekico

  6. R. Walker

    Ford and Lincoln dealerships are independents. Once the car is produced, the dealers pay the company and take delivery. They finance all the vehicles that are sitting on their lots, in stock. Every day the car sits, without being sold, it costs the dealer money. That is why you can always negotiate a bit of a deal at the end of the month. Dealers don’t want to pay interest on their loan for another month.

    Dealers and the company need each other. Don’t ever kid yourself. They feed off each other. Yes, Tesla has been successful so far. They were the new kid on the block with the new toys. They had little competition. Things are beginning to change. Tesla is beginning to lay people off and their sales numbers have dropped off. They now have completion and some folks that purchased electric are now finding out the realization that they are expensive vehicles to operate over four years. The cost of electricity is rising. The cost of replacing batteries is costly, as are the disposal fees for the worn out battery. Many people have returned to ICE vehicles. Why??

    Ford and Lincoln dictate to the dealership owners how the dealership must appear and operate or they lose their certification. If Ford is going to pull the plug on dealerships, I believe things will go to litigation. The owners have played Ford’s game and played by their rules. They have millions of their dollars invested into the dealership. Ford won’t be able to just walk away from all those dealer owners without paying them. The owners will file a class action lawsuit. I’m sure Mr. Farley and the Board of Directors are aware of that and will be prepared to offer some sort of settlements.

    Can the dealer make money just offering service and oil changes?? Maybe. However, they will have a large building sitting there with no source of income, if they aren’t selling cars. They will be paying a huge amount of property tax, insurance, utilities, etc … on an empty building. That will be a ton of overhead costs just to run the service department. And, folks can take their cars to any oil change shop or mechanic for repairs so the dealer can’t count on every Ford owner to bring their vehicles in for service.

    It’s not a perfect world. I’m sure Ford Motor and the dealership owners will reach a happy medium. Many people still like the idea of seeing, feeling and driving a car before they plunk down their hard earned money.

    1. Max Frisson

      In many states, it is against the law for a vehicle manufacturer to sell to consumers directly. There is no reason to reinvent how to sell and distribute cars unless the manufacturer wants a larger share of the income from a sale.

      1. Falcon

        Maxx, Ford is always trying to re- invent the wheel. Sometimes it bodes well, other times people get up in arms over an upcoming proposal. Seems like ‘Chuck you Farley’ should have invited those 300 dealerships before they got pissed to garner an opinion, instead of after the word got out on potential changes affecting them. So typical of Ford.

    2. J Price

      We’ll said. Ford has gone through cycles where they treated its dealers as essential, then inadequate, then just in the way many times over the last century. .They need to consider the impact their decisions have on their dealer body before anonuncin new initiatives. There are no simple answers to complex issues and automobile manufacturing and retailing are complex issues.

  7. Bryan Mclellan

    Selling a picture of a car? You get a picture of a customer.

  8. R. Walker

    Maybe Ford should think about getting a handle on their quality issues. Do you think hundreds of thousands of recalls every year doesn’t cost money? Ever since Alan Mulally left the company, they have had quality issues creeping back into the picture. There seems to be more and more every year.

    They are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on restoring an old train station. That money could have been directed at fixing the problems at hand. They have enough empty buildings sitting around Dearborn they could have created a factory that makes computer chips. Instead, they sit around and use the chip shortage for an excuse for not being able to build the new Maverick or F150s.

    People are waiting over a year to take delivery? That’s a problem they should be fixing before they eliminate dealerships. Of course, if you don’t build vehicles, dealers don’t have vehicles to sell. Sooner or later, the dealership goes out of business. Problem solved. Now they can sell cars on the internet.

    1. Falcon

      R.Walter. It’s my belief the only reason Ford took on that massive rebuild of the Central Train Station was to say that they have business being done directly in the city of Detroit. GM always looked like a caring, contributing to the well being of the city …. hero. Ford was always outside of the city, Dearborn (WHQ) ,Livonia, Flat Rock, etc. This is their way of showing the city that they have some skin in the game when it comes to showing how much they ‘care’. That building has come a long way.

      1. Falcon

        Sorry … comment to R.Walker not R.Walter.

  9. Leo

    Where do you take a broken Tesla for warranty repair? I know where I take my Ford, not that it breaks.

  10. Ben

    Autonation and Carmax already have a fixed pricing model and they make money hand over fist. In the not-so-distant past, paying MSRP for a vehicle was considered lunacy…now it’s a bargain? Please.
    Dealers are turning into glorified test drive lots already…you go see how you like a vehicle and then you look that vehicle up on the car site of your choosing until you find a dealer who isn’t going to gouge you. These dealers have completely crapped the bed in the last year or so and soon enough they will have to lie in it. It’s going to start with them eating the cost on all the gas-guzzling 10 year old trucks they overpaid for and marked up to new vehicle prices and it’s going to end with their dealership being turned into a glorified Jiffy Lube.
    Smart dealers make money in any market condition. They aren’t short-sighted. They were making it before prices went insane and they’re making it now by building a reputation for not gouging people in a climate of greed. To all the rest – pound sand. Billion-dollar corporations aren’t going to let Jim Bob Dipstick Ford drag their brand name through the mud forever.

  11. Dave Mathers

    This is what happens when some greedy dealers add ‘additional markup’ to their vehicles. Do dumb things, get equally dumb results. Ford holds all the cards on the EV side and they will reign in those dealers who go against the franchise agreement.

  12. Al Clark

    If Ford thinks I’m going to pay MSRP then they are out of theirs minds. I won’t do it. Never have paid sticker or sticker plus and never will.

  13. Gunno

    Fix all your Ford problems the “American Way” … Get out your guns … Kill, kill, kill …

  14. Terry B.

    I am happy to hear this, considering the last time I walked into a Ford dealership the price of the vehicle had s $19,000 mark-up from what they told me over the phone.

  15. Jeff d

    Farley is destroying Ford. No if’s, and’s or but’s.
    He has mastered the art of over promising and under delivering. Continuing to release new model after new model, only to make your customers wait years in line is the proof. He’s destroying dealer relationships and confidence, while simultaneously pissing off entire new generations of buyers. It’s only a matter of time before he is sent packing.


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