Ford sees 53 dealers opt out of EV program, but 24 sign up following rule changes

Ford has revealed some dealers that originally opted in to their ‘Model e’ electric vehicle (EV) certification program have decided to back out, while others have agreed to sign up after changes were made to the program’s rules.

Ford announced their ‘Model e’ dealer certification program last year, a program which provided their network of dealers a path to continue selling electric vehicles (EVs). That path included several commitments however, like spending as much as $1.2 million to add EV infrastructure and agreeing to sell their EVs at non-negotiable prices. Those commitments, among others, were too much for some dealers who opted not to join the program. The majority were ok with them however, with Ford reporting that two-thirds of their dealers signed up for the program.

We reported earlier this year that Ford was considering making some changes to the rules in response to complaints voiced by many state dealer groups. Those changes have been made and have eased some of the requirements, like not requiring the public EV chargers to be available 24/7 and removing the cap of selling 25 EVs per year for the ‘Certified’ tier, leading some dealers to sign up while others have decided to opt out.

According to Ford there are now 1,891 dealers signed up for the Model e program, a decrease of 1.5% from the 1,920 that originally agreed to join. Interestingly 53 dealers decided to leave the most expensive ‘Certified Elite’ tier, while 24 new dealers signed up for the ‘Certified’ tier, the lowest tier in the program, for a net gain of 29 new dealers.

Even though some dealers have opted out they can rejoin in the future.

“It is important that dealers have the option to do what they believe is best for their business and their customers for the 2024-2026 period. As we continue to scale our EV volumes, our second enrollment period will open up for 2027-2029,” a Ford spokesperson told Automotive News.

Despite the changes, there are still more than 30 state dealer groups opposed to the program. In North Carolina alone 46 dealers have banded together to file a petition to challenge the Model e program. The petition alleges the program is illegal since it prohibits dealers from selling EVs, even though they currently can, but they also aren’t happy with many of the other requirements.

“Through the EV program, Ford seeks to coerce dealers into expending huge sums of money unnecessarily in order to continue selling vehicles they are already authorized to sell. Ford’s EV program will serve to reduce the number of Ford dealers in North Carolina and further restrict consumer access to electric vehicles, particularly those citizens residing in parts of North Carolina outside of the largest cities,” the petition reads.

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