Ford Authority

Ford Dealers Do Not Trust The Blue Oval: Report

While the majority of Ford and Lincoln dealers in the U.S. ultimately opted into the top-tier Model e Certified Elite program when given a choice between that, the lesser tier, and not having the ability to sell all-electric vehicles in the future, this decision on The Blue Oval’s part hasn’t developed without its fair share of controversy. In fact, some Ford dealers took legal action against the automaker questioning Model e Certified’s legality, spurring some changes to the program that allowed a handful to drop out after initially committing to it. As it turns out, the Model e Certified program has left a bit of a lingering bad taste in the mouths of some Ford dealers, who aren’t quite as trusting of the company as they used to be, according to a new survey recently highlighted by Automotive News.

Ford Sinal Alphaville Brazil EV Dealership

The 2023 Kerrigan Dealer Survey was conducted by Kerrigan Advisors, who polled 650 anonymous dealerships between June and October, seeking to determine which ones are the most and least trusting of their respective automotive brands. In that regard, Ford ranked at the very bottom as nearly half – 48 percent – of its dealers said that they don’t trust the automaker. These results are “consistent with the expectation of a decline in future Ford franchise profitability due to the OEM’s EV/future retailing strategy.” Kerrigan noted.

The most trusted brand in this year’s Kerrigan Dealer Survey was Toyota – which 72 percent of dealers say is trustworthy – followed by Lexus (56 percent), Subaru (55 percent), Honda (36 percent), and Porsche (31 percent). On the flip side, the least trusted brands based on dealer feedback are Ford at the aforementioned 48 percent, followed by Nissan (43 percent), Lincoln (40 percent), Stellantis’ Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Chrysler conglomerate at 39 percent, and Infiniti (37 percent).

In response to this survey, Ford released a statement noting that its dealers are “important strategic partners and we are always listening and making adjustments. Working with our dealers, we have made recent beneficial changes to address dealer feedback and improve franchise value.”

We’ll have more on the Model e Certified program soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous 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. SCEcoBoost

    Yet another black eye for Ford, although I hate to say it, but I bet a lot of those dealers not allowed to sell EVs are pretty pleased that EVs are not clogging their lots right about now. Survey needs updating.

  2. David Dickinson II

    When Ford treats its dealers like an annoyance that they would rather be rid of, what other result could you expect?

    1. Buck

      Ford has said it wants to sell most of it’s vehicles through online ordering and drastically reduce dealer stock I don’t blame them for not trusting them. Now there needs to be of survey of customers buying from dealerships and how much we trust them. Ford is half the problem and the dealerships the other half.

      1. Rob Mc

        Damn right about that
        They have a double problem
        I used to support Ford
        But there are too many really bad engineering issues now. Like changing the oil pump drive on the 2.7 from chain to a wet belt. No need of that.

    2. CD

      When the dealers treat the customers terribly (i e, markups, poor service, all the stereotypical car salesman games like “let me ask my manager”, and even selling ordered vehicles out from under a customer), it makes sense that Ford wants to distance themselves from the dealers. The dealers ruin Ford’s reputation more than their own. Not completely sure that eliminating dealers will be a lot better for us car buyers, but at this point the experience is already horrible, and most of the blame falls squarely on the dealers.

      1. wjtinfwb

        Exactly. Some, not all of the Ford dealers I’ve dealt with have a ZERO trust score from me. Abusive sales tactics, uninformed sales people, backed up repair facilities, incompetent service writers, poorly trained techs, some of their dealers would be selling vacuum cleaners if the weren’t making a killing marking up Bronco’s and Mustang’s by 5k over sticker. I never understood the carrot and stick approach in business. Carrot, Big carrot or No carrot is more appropriate but telling a dealer you cannot sell what was projected to be 50% of the portfolio is asking for a lawsuit. Reward the good dealers handsomely, trumpet their CSI scores and give them priority in ordering hot models. Do nothing for the bad dealers but don’t penalize. They’ll get the message soon enough.

  3. Mf

    In fairness, consumers don’t trust Forduch anymore either. So I wouldn’t be surprised that the dealers don’t trust them.

    1. Bosko

      Why don’t they trust them and how do you know that? I’ve always had great experiences with Ford as have people I know. In fact, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like them.

      1. Steve DeSousa

        Mr Bosko, I’ve owned 5 Ford vehicles none newer than 2007. No problem with them just routine maintenance items. Recently my daughter a single mom with 2kids and myself purchased a 2016 ford edge with eco boost 2.0with a bad block design. And No help from Anyone at Ford ,integrity ,a quality product,? no thanks Ford

  4. M

    Considering Fords outlook on EV is completely off the mark and considering how Ford pays their dealers on EV units sold can’t say I blame them. Give it another year and this percentage will grow even higher. Ford needs to wake up. Stop putting all their eggs in the EV basket and work with their dealers rather than against.

    1. Bob

      25% of the larges market in the US California now buys EV’s and its growing. Before long it will be 35 then 45. What is selling less? ICE cars. Just because Ford failed to make an EV at scale, first time around, doesn’t make the idea wrong.

      1. Leon

        The percentages of EV sales are falsely propped up by the big green lie, government regulations and financial incentives. EV’s cannot compete with ICE on a level playing field.

        1. JokingJ

          You mean the playing field with 50+ years of oil subsidies? Makes EV tax rebates look child’s play lol

    2. dfa


  5. Bob

    I think Ford dealers should be thinking of the bad taste in the mouth they left their buyers. Marking trucks up way over MSRP has jaded many and as EV’s slowly take over they will feel the pain. The number one market in the US California is now buying 25% EV. Good luck as your numbers dwindle and your doors close. Those people who sold buggy whips didn’t see it coming either.

    1. dfa

      Bob may we call you? California is not a recognized state in THE USA so your EV statement is moot.

      1. Just me

        Actually we are recognized and there are 40 million of us and we are the fifth largest economy on our own. Due to this, we unfortunately have a lot of pull in the US, more than any state, especially in economics. I say unfortunately because I despise the insane politics here and believe our politicians have ruined our state but regardless my statement is true.

  6. Bruce Holberg

    And the dealers are left to try to explain why so many cars get recalled. Unfortunately the dealers are the “face” of Ford to these disgruntled customers. Caught in the middle

  7. Charles Rizzo

    GO WOKE!!!
    GO BROKE!!
    Henry must be spinning in his grave near redline!!

  8. Bill

    No Reason to Trust this Brand as a Consumer !

  9. William

    What’s funny is that the crappiest dealer brands are the same ones that don’t trust their respective brands … Ford, Dodge, Nissan are full of charlatans consistently ripping off their customers who rightfully don’t trust them either!

  10. Jack

    Surprise, the shady people have trust issues. No sympathy for the dealers, I had to fight against markups, use multiple dealerships to have many parts fixed because dealers would give the runaround or ignore the issues, I can’t say they have made any bit of my experience worth while. Go 3rd party online and cut the dealers, they do nothing but lie and scam anyways.

  11. Racer76

    Ford needs some real changes. It all started when Alan Mulally retired. Farley and Bill Ford deserve a lot of the blame. While the quality and the recalls continue to grow, Farley and Ford are doing photo ops with Germany’s new hitler Klause Schwab. The grid to support electric vehicles is decades away. With all the inflation, how are 1st time buyers going to even be able to afford them. Not being able to physically see and test drive a vehicle is a no go. After 30 years in the auto business both as a distinguished dealer and Grand Master Sales councilor who was not a fleet guy. I might know a thing about our customers. We’re all in the people business, the dealers who operate the top stores take care of their clientele 1st. To many bad decisions coming out of Dearborn maybe it’s time for adjustments!

  12. Dano

    When Ford strong armed a near $1 million commitment to install quick chargers, then before the ink is dry on that, signed a deal with Tesla to add 50,000 charge ports, why should there be a trust issue as you watch your million dollar investment circle the drain?

  13. Bill Howland

    Dealers have a legitimate beef about overspending. To sell EVs they need a tech to do battery change outs and in car charger swaps. They need testing devices and on smallish (10kw) portable ccs1 fast charger to prove every thing works. They don’t need to spend another $Million.

  14. paul powell

    was all set to order a 2024 ranger until I found out ford has once again deleted the driver side grab bar. I read on this site that ford was thinking about deleting this item but decided to leave it on as a standard part of the vehicle. I know ford may think this is a small consideration but to an amputee customer it is a very big deal! why put a grab bar on the passenger side only! Don’t tell me that there are good aftermarket grab handles available because there are not. Cost to install by ford, a few bucks.. lost of a sale Thousands. .

  15. JD

    I think it’s hilarious how people comment about dealers selling over MSRP as if the manufacturer set that price from the word of God. Some of you might be surprised that the “S” stands for suggested. Others may be unaware that Ford specifically has been cutting the holdback it pays to dealers dramatically in recent years. Ford exists only for that fact that dealerships do and vice versa. Ford has told the smaller dealerships to F off and is literally paying the larger dealerships to gobble up the smaller ones. In my direct and personal experience, it’s the larger mega rich dealerships that screw their customers over at every turn.

    1. AL

      You are right, the S stands for “suggested” but in my experience (I’m in my sixties), the suggested price was always the high point and few people ever paid that much. Dealers make deals (thus the term). COVID and supply-chain issues let the dealers get away with marking up MSRP by ridiculous amounts. It’s laughable that dealers mistrust Ford or any manufacturer when they themselves are the posterchildren of mistrust.

  16. hot toddy

    dealers are in direct contact with their customers. The reason the dealers have that kind of mindset is bacause that’s what their customers are trying to tell Ford. There is a disconnect between the consumer and FOMOCO that they let happen. They have no one to blame but themselves.

  17. Homer

    I have been a Ford owner for the last 35 years and before was a GM owner. The EV vehicle will not work in my situation. I travel daily consistently over 500 miles in daily mileage. I don’t have the pleasure to eat lunch sometimes, let alone take time to recharge a EV. All I have to say is I don’t trust Ford, acting like the Government, doesn’t matter just shove it down the loyal customers throats. I’ll be changing brands. I have bought 8 Fords in last 10 years, was going to order a new Ranger, but Toyota is looking better. Sorry I hate to change but I have to look out for my family, not a distrusting manufacturer.

  18. Roger Morris

    What’s the plan that China is going to build Ford cars. If so I will not buy another Ford. I fought against communism and I am a Ford owner since 1982. I was a loyal customer. Now what??

    1. J Rakus

      Totally agree.

  19. Blackbelt

    The dealers distrust Ford? How do you like it dealers. We sure don’t trust you, and you have earned that distrust with your behavior. I had a pointed email exchange with a local dealer sales manager over them adding $5K to the 2 Mavericks they had in stock. They contend they have to markt hem up because they pay over sticker for used ones and have to support that silly inflated price. problem is,m they had no used ones in stock. I called BS and pointed out another dealer who had several at MSRP. These dealers who added markups are short sighted, most of us will not forget who they are…..

    1. buckey

      I guess that would be called supply and demand ie limited supply and high demand with an excuse that they couldn’t get parts. When the supply is low the price will go up. The manufacture let you play right into their hand, you should be mad at them for pumping up the prices fast and not getting the inventory out to sell. now your 5k higher on a maverick without any additional mark up, and they are not worried about a tight a$$ like you not buying from them with your harsh words their.

  20. Hugh

    The big 3 aren’t listening to the consumer. The dealer profits are necessary but gouging isn’t tolerable. When I see this feeding frenzy by greedy dealers and manufacturers I am not going to buy. I want a range of cars in EV Hybrid and PHEV format at every price point. The Ford Focus used to be an economy car. We need an EV Ford Focus again.

  21. Bob

    Haha….now Ford dealers know how the public feels about them….

  22. JokingJ

    Oh, how sad, guess I’ll have to say an extra prayer for all the poor, mistreated Ford dealers out there before bed tonight…
    Come on, really? The last group of people I want to hear about trust and integrity from are the same a$$hats that were marking up vehicles by 10, 20, even 50K in juat the past year. Not saying that I personally trust any individual Ford C-suite exec farther than I could throw them, but a sales manager at a Ford dealer? I wouldn’t let that guy flip the coin for a middle school football game.
    Bottom line: if you don’t want your OEM to cut you out/limit your autonomy, stop dicking over your customers and tarnishing the brand with awful service and egregious price gouging on a nationwide scale.


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