Earlier this month, Ford CEO Jim Farley talked to lengths about a shift to online vehicle sales with non-negotiable prices and remote deliveries. After a number of dealer meetings, Ford executives clarified what this means for the dealership model and adjusted their outlook on the matter, saying that most of their goals have been misinterpreted, Automotive News reports.
Ultimately, Ford is sticking to its plans to have non-negotiable prices for EVs but noted that dealers will still be able to set their own prices and have physical stores despite the online business model.
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Andrew Frick, Vice President, Sales, Distribution and Trucks, Ford Blue, and the company's chief liaison with dealers, has met 300 dealers in 25 long meetings about the EV selling standards. He clarified that Ford will not eliminate physical stores and the ability to buy an EV at a dealership.
When Farley remarked "100 percent online" last week, it was about "a single point of entry, whether you're physically in a dealership or at home," Frick told Automotive News. "We want to leverage their physical existence and leverage their service capacity."
This means customers can still buy their EVs at a dealer but the ordering and build process will be done online to remove the price negotiation process, ergo, incredible dealer markups. However, Ford will not control the prices of EVs, according to Marin Gjaja, chief customer officer of Ford Model e. Dealers will still set the price.
The discussions and negotiations are still in infancy at this point as many details of the business model are not yet final. It's still unclear how Ford will implement the non-negotiable pricing or the amount that dealers need to invest. Frick said that the number will depend on the size of the store and market.
Charlie Gilchrist, dealer principal at Gilchrist Automotive in Texas, said that he has been encouraged by the process after attending three meetings in recent months.
"They're taking basically a clean sheet of paper and trying to figure out, together, how we can be more effective and efficient to provide these vehicles to our customers," Gilchrist told Automotive News.