The majority of Ford’s U.S. dealerships have decided to hook up with the automaker’s electric future, Ford CEO Jim Farley said during the Automotive News Congress on Monday.
During its annual dealer meeting in September, Ford told its dealers that individual stores must invest up to $1.2 million in upgrades to continue selling Ford electric vehicles.
Dealers could choose between Certified and Certified Elite upgrades, which Ford estimated would cost approximately $500,000 for Certified and between $1 million and $1.2 million for Certified Elite. Dealers also had to agree to non-negotiable prices.
Farley has revealed that 1,659 stores have chosen the Certified Elite option, while 261 have chosen the Certified option, representing nearly two-thirds of the automaker’s approximately 3,000 stores in the country.
Farley also revealed that dealers who are still on the fence will have another option to opt for Ford’s electric future in 2025, and acknowledged that the electric transition will take time.
Ford has issued a similar ultimatum to its Lincoln dealers, though Farley made no mention of the takeover rate among luxury department stores.
During the Automotive News Congress, Farley also mentioned Ford’s plan to let customers order vehicles online directly from the automaker, bypassing dealerships, similar to Tesla’s popular direct-sales model. He said the future of the current franchise model hangs in the balance.
Quite a lot at stake for the automaker’s move to electric vehicles with its retail network, says Farley:
“The future of the franchise system is at stake here.”
— Automotive News (@Automotive_News) December 5, 2022
General Motors offered buyouts to Cadillac dealers unwilling to participate in that brand’s EV shift, with about a third choosing to abandon their franchises rather than sell EVs, which would also require some level of additional investment . GM is also offering buyouts to Buick dealerships, with both brands expected to be all-electric by the end of the decade.