Ford Authority

Canadian Ford Dealers Also Grappling With EV Certification

As Ford continues to transition toward an all-electric future, it has given its dealers a couple of choices – continue to sell ICE vehicles only, or complete the steps necessary to obtain one of two levels of Model e EV certification – Certified or Certified Elite. Problem is, the latter options are quite pricey, with costs ranging from $500,000 to $1.2 million or more in the U.S., most of which will go toward the installation of fast chargers. FoMoCo recently extended the deadline dealers face in terms of making the decision as to which way they want to go after facing a bit of backlash, which isn’t just limited to dealerships in the U.S. In fact, Automotive News Canada is reporting that Canadian Ford dealers are also having a hard time with the costs of becoming EV certified.

Canadian Ford dealers must pony up around $560,000 to become a Model e Certified entity, or $1.3 million to secure Certified Elite status. As one might imagine, smaller dealers – as well as those located in more rural parts of the country – are having a hard time justifying those costs, particularly as EV sales in those areas aren’t quite as robust as more populated cities. As such, Canadian dealers are currently in negotiations with the Ford Dealers RoundTable Association in an effort to resolve these concerns.

“I don’t see a big demand in our area,” said Cliff Lafreniere, dealer principal of Pinewood Park Motors in Peterborough, Ontario. “I get two or three inquiries a year. I’ve sold one EV – an [F-150] Lightning. The amount of the investment is really the issue.” “I don’t think dealers are excited about their [Ford’s] first position,” added Vaughn Wyant, CEO of the Wyant Group. “It’s going to be really tough for rural dealers. Electrification is going to be slower to come to a lot of rural dealers.”

Meanwhile, dealers in larger parts of the country are a bit more receptive to these changes, though they also understand the challenges it creates for smaller ones. “I don’t really have a problem with them [the programs], at all,” said Steve Chipman, CEO of the Manitoba-based Birchwood Auto Group. “Ford has to be open-minded. One size doesn’t fit all.”

We’ll have more on Ford’s EV certification programs soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Bill Howland

    There may be some super-high-volume markets where the King’s Ransom demanded by FOMOCO may be a wise business choice, but I would suspect most smaller dealerships will just say to hell with it.

    I only drive plug-in vehicles but I can see where dealers would have a hard time satisfying every wet-dream-whim of Farley.

  2. David Dickinson II

    I don’t think Ford expects rural dealers to take the plunge. I think Ford expects to squeeze dealers out of the equation and sell directly to clients in rural areas. Especially in cold Canada, EVs don’t make any sense at all.

    1. OSC (Five Stars)

      Concur David. It is easy to see how Ford’s dealer EV certification is functionally a tax intended by Ford to eventually eliminate smaller, non-participating dealers from the dealer network. If the $.5-1M+ certification cost is accurate, most certified dealers, regardless of size, are unlikely to see a positive ROI for many years. Based on Ford’s execution of ICE production alone, dealers should have cause to be skeptical of getting sufficient order fulfillment to make the EV numbers work. Regardless, based on Ford’s ultimate vision, those dealers who do choose to pay in order to “stay in the club” are unlikely to enjoy the devolved dealer/OEM relationship model with Ford holding the primary relationship with the shopper. After seeing the USN roll the dice and lose on shipbuilding projects with high technical risk, injuring careers, budgets, and overall force capability in the process, I never would have thought a domestic auto OEM would do the same. I fear disaster awaits for all involved.

      1. RWFA

        Are you seriously equating the complexity of public naval R&D/production contracts (btw which, Littorals? Obvs not the E/M cat on GR Ford) with an auto OEM realigning its century old distribution model and dealer footprint to address the realities of the increasingly competitive playing field both from Tesla and the Chinese?

        1. OSC (Five Stars)

          There is nothing unique to the USN about getting others to unreasonably bear the cost and negative consequences of high risk decisions. However, I do agree with you that Ford, shamefully, is using competition with Tesla and the Chinese as the pretense for using this method to weaken and reduce their dealers. I have loved my Ford vehicles for years and have a good relationship with my town’s Ford dealer. I think that the geographic breadth and quantity of Ford’s dealers is a brand strength. I share the shock of my local dealer that Ford would break faith with their dealers in this way.

          1. RWFA

            I’m surprised you aren’t named “Steam Catapult Forever” or some such…

            Pretense? Break faith? LoL. You are selectively looking at the situation and misreading it.

            Look to my comments further below as to why a dealer rationalization and realignment is an overdue imperative.

            Boundary conditions change, and those who don’t adapt and stand still are overrun by the competition.

            Read a little Sun Tsu my friend.

  3. Mike says...

    There are several ways Ford/Lincoln could manage this transition and largely maintain their dealership status quo….. problem is that they really don’t want to. Call it the brutal side of free market competition….. Ford seems to want to follow Tesla’s method which is a questionable strategy for one huge reason. Musk/Tesla were a product/technology disruptor back in the day. Tesla has no baggage like traditional domestic builders. Ford/Lincoln are being very naive in moving to the Tesla model (business) without due consideration of their dealerships and longer-term loyal customers. Change is a given… how and why you do it is the mark of success. Time will only tell.

    1. RWFA

      Ford doesn’t just want to move to a new model, it has to.

      Every new entrant will have the Tesla model rather than the 100 year old model Ford currently employs.

      Reality is that dealers exist to serve Ford, because without Ford, there are no dealers, but without dealers there can still be Ford (as seen by Tesla.)

      What Ford is aiming at is to shrink and position its dealer base, proactively before the competition forces it to from a bad foot position, such Ford sets itself up to win rather than fail by being dragged down into crisis reactive response by holding too long onto the past.

      1. RWFA

        Reported just today:

        “Tesla considers exporting China-made EVs to U.S. in 2023, report says.

        Tesla has been studying whether parts made by its China-based suppliers are compliant with local regulations in North America, and if they are, could ship China-made Model Y and Model 3 cars for U.S. sale as soon as next year, Reuters reported.“

  4. OSC (Five Stars)

    Ultimately, no manufacturer will be able to compete with the CCP which incurs little development costs and subsidizes both labor and materials.

    1. RWFA

      You focussed on China, but that’s not even the near term threat on Ford’s competitive battlefield.

      Ford sees Tesla as its biggest competitor.

      But getting fit to deal with Tesla also makes Ford more fit to eventually deal with Chinese entry.

      Since we are talking Canada, it’s probably making the analogy to Gretzky: Ford is skating to where the puck is going.

  5. Dave Mathers

    Fourty years ago Ford of Canada pulled the same thing with the new Ford Ranger Diesel. We solved the problem by having one (of 17) Metro Toronto dealer buy the VERY expensive ‘essential tools’!! We then ordered our trucks through that dealer with drop shipments to our stores. I talked to the dealer about fifteen years later and he told me that the ‘tools’ had NEVER been used and were just gathering dust in his parts mezzanine!!


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