I read an article by Jalopnik which echoes what I have been saying for some time now. If Ford, or any historic automaker, is serious about competing with Tesla, the dealers have to pull out. I have written a lot about it. For example, in Connecticut, a local newspaper, The day, published an opinion piece essentially begging Tesla to play by his rules. By “their” I mean dealers. Don’t push for direct sales to customers to be legal, don’t force dealerships to compete for their business without lifting a finger.
In my interview / podcast with Connecticut State Senator Will Haskell, he said something that kind of led me to understand exactly why dealerships don’t want to compete with Tesla. Dealers have been the only way to buy a new car for decades. Tesla forces them to change, but instead they fight it.
I also touched on the dealership experience – not mine, but others’ experiences. And this is the object of the Jalopnik article that said, “It’s one thing to have a product that rivals Tesla, it’s another to have sales experience.” And the old Ford dealership model doesn’t help.
The article explained that Ford was taking EVs seriously and adding more to its lineup, but its approach to actually selling them left customers frustrated and looking elsewhere for their EVs. The author pointed out that the first problem is that Ford has moved to what he calls electronic invoice pricing, which “means the invoice price (or dealership cost) and MSRP are the same.” The author further explained, âUsually the price of dealer invoices is lower, which allows dealers to offer offers below the MSRP, which is just not as clear or straightforward for a consumer, ‘ who may prefer to pay the price of the car instead of worrying about getting the best deal. Whether Ford admits it or not, with this âe-billâ pricing it seems to take a page out of Tesla’s playbook where everyone pays the same price for a car. If you buy a Tesla, the price online is what you pay. No games, no croupier nonsense. Except that, despite the price of Ford’s “electronic bill”, dealers can play games and tag cars well. more the MSRP.
The author even has his own history as a drug dealer, in a way. Having been involved in multiple Mach-E transactions for many clients in different states, he has seen over $ 10,000 on the sticker price.
The author shared a screenshot of a tweet of the quote from Mike Levine of Ford tweeting Ross Gerber, a friend of mine, who complained about bad dealership practices – of dealerships selling Mach-E’s well into the world. above MSRP. The author contacted Mr. Levine but never got a response. However, Emma Berg, Ford’s director of communications for electric vehicles, said:
âIf a customer is not happy with their dealership, our team can help them find another dealership that is better suited to them. Dealerships are independent franchises and, ultimately, the final price that a customer will pay for any vehicle is agreed between them and a dealership.
In other words, dealers present a problem that Tesla always assumed they would present if Tesla were to sell cars through them rather than directly to customers.
Another problem that the author has touched on is that of leasing. Renters cannot take advantage of federal tax credits to reduce their own costs because Ford’s financial services arm will not pass this credit to them. He cited an article from Direct Cars which further explains: âWhen you lease a new electric vehicle, the tax credit still applies, but since it belongs to the original owner, most OEMs do not pass the credit on when you lease. Instead, they hold onto the credit, as Ford does with the latest Mustang Mach-e, which qualifies for a full credit of $ 7,500. This can affect the rental price of some electric vehicles, as some manufacturers choose to pass savings on, such as VW which is offering a zero emission bonus of $ 7,500 to lessors on its 2021 ID.4. â
I think the author has a very valid point here when he discusses the fact that dealerships hinder Ford’s success in selling electric vehicles. It’s easier to buy a Tesla than a Mach-E or other EV automaker, even in states that prohibit direct sales. You can just go online, buy it, and then finish. The next step is the delivery process. There are no hidden charges, no price haggling, no one is telling you that you need paying $ 1,000 to lock the lug nuts, and even worse.
There are no paperwork fees, no misinformed salespeople who don’t know anything about the car and have no interest because they don’t make money from it. There is none of that.
The author of Jalopnik article wrote a very well-written constructive commentary for Ford, and I think if Ford is serious about electric vehicles (and it somewhat seems to be), it will not only accept criticism, but actively try to find a solution. which will benefit its customers who wish to purchase a Mach-E.
Keep in mind …
That said, Ford needs to understand why dealerships don’t want to sell their Mach-E’s or compete with Tesla. I have already summarized this in another article:
âThe reason dealers don’t want to compete with Tesla or any other electric vehicle maker that sells direct to the customer is because they don’t want to have to fight for something they’re used to getting easily.
âUntil Tesla, the only way to buy a car was through a dealership. With Tesla and other electric vehicle makers like Rivian and Lucid coming to the United States, dealers now have to fight or compete for something they aren’t used to having to fight for. They have to fight for their piece of the pie, so to speak.
âBefore Tesla, dealers could get away with lowering customers, because if you wanted a car you literally had no choice but to go to a dealership (unless you bought a car. used to someone). If you wanted a new car, you go to the dealerships. It has always been like this.
Ford, you’re working with a model that’s used to getting what it wants and being the only point of access for customers. This model does not want to change or accept that things are changing. This is what you work with, and it works against you. I’m sure you know that, but if you want to be successful I will add to the growing number of voices asking you to find a way to make this model work in your favor or eliminate the model itself.
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