Earlier this month, Ford CEO Jim Farley spoke at length about the shift to online vehicle sales at non-negotiable prices and long-distance delivery. After a number of dealer meetings, Ford executives clarified what this meant for the dealer model and adjusted their views on the matter, saying that most of their goals had been misunderstood, Automotive News report.
Ultimately, Ford stuck to its plan to have non-negotiable prices for EVs but noted that dealers could still set their own prices and have physical stores despite the online business model.
Andrew Frick, Vice President, Sales, Distribution and Trucking, Ford Blue, and the company’s chief dealer liaison, has met 300 dealers in 25 lengthy meetings on EV sales standards. He clarified that Ford would not be eliminating physical stores and the ability to buy EVs at dealerships.
When Farley commented “100 percent online” last week, it was about “one point of entry, whether you’re physically at the dealership or at home,” Frick said. Automotive News. “We want to take advantage of their physical presence and increase their service capacity.”
This means customers will still be able to buy their EVs at dealerships but the ordering and manufacturing process will be done online to remove the overwhelming process of negotiating price, ergo, dealer markups. However, Ford will not control EV prices, according to Marin Gjaja, Ford Model e’s chief customer officer. The dealer will still set the price.
Discussions and negotiations are still in the early stages because many details of the business model are not finalized. It remains unclear how Ford will apply the non-negotiable pricing or the amount dealers will need to invest. Frick said the number would depend on the size of the store and the market.
Charlie Gilchrist, principal dealer at Gilchrist Automotive in Texas, said he had been encouraged by the process after attending three meetings in recent months.
“They’re basically taking a clean sheet of paper and trying to figure out, together, how we can be more effective and efficient at providing these vehicles to our customers,” Gilchrist said. Automotive News.