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2021 Mustang Mach E First Edition, 2016 Nissan Leaf, 2003 Toyota Tacoma, F-150 Lightning Lariat ER
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Ford CEO announces the number of ‘certified EV’ dealers enrolled in initial Model e program
Avatar for Peter JohnsonPeter Johnson | Dec 5 2022 — 2:15 pm PT

Following Ford’s National Dealer Meeting in September, every dealership (almost 3,000 total) had the option to enroll in the company’s new Model e business. The program allows Forddealers to invest in the future and become part of the automaker’s “revolutionary” electric vehicle transformation.

Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, announced Monday during an Automotive News World Congress interview how many dealers have enrolled in the initial Model e Program for the 2024-2026 period.

Throughout its nearly 120-year history, Ford has watched the auto industry progress through several major transformations to keep up with the demands of modern society.

Ford has remained one of the top automakers throughout its time by listening to its customers and strategically adjusting. After announcing the Ford + plan to drive growth and accelerate the EV rollout, Farley proclaimed it was Ford’s:
Biggest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford started to scale the Model T, and we’re grabbing it with both hands.
In March, the company expanded its growth strategy, creating three distinct business units: Model e, Ford Blue, and Ford Pro.
  • Model e: to accelerate innovation and breakthrough of electric vehicles at scale.
  • Ford Blue: will build out the company’s ICE vehicles portfolio, using the cash flow to expand its EV unit.
  • Ford Pro: the company’s business and software solutions.
Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford explained in March, “This isn’t the first time Ford has reimagined the future and taken our own path,” as the company embarks on its electrifying journey.

However, to compete with current leader Tesla, Ford has recognized it needs to streamline the customer experience. Although Tesla sells directly to the consumer, cutting out the middleman costs, Ford says, “We’re betting on the dealers. We’re not going direct. But we need to specialize.”

Ford’s Model e dealer electric vehicle program
Farley said the company needed to lower costs, increase profitability and deliver a superior customer experience in order to compete.

Ford asked its dealership network to “join us on an epic journey of sustainable expansion and customer excellence,” giving them the option to opt-in to its new Model e business.

Under the program, Ford dealers can choose from one of two tiers to become “EV certified.” The lower tier requires a 500K initial investment and includes:
  • Repair and maintenance
  • One public DC fast charger
  • No EVs to show (BTO only)
  • No presence on Ford.com.
The “certified elite” includes two public DC fast chargers, demo units, rapid replenishment, and a presence on Ford.com but will cost around $1 million to $1.2 million.

Monday, Farley announced 1,920 Ford dealers enrolled in the initial voluntary Model e program for 2024 to 2026. Of those:
  • 1,659 chose the Certified Elite tier.
  • 261 selected the Certified tier.
Ford says dealers that chose not to participate will have another opportunity to participate in the electric vehicle program in 2025.

Electrek’s Take
With 96% of automotive customers living within 20 miles of a Ford dealership, the program is smart on the automaker’s part to streamline its EV rollout.

Ford is currently the number two EV maker in the US behind Tesla, but to surpass the EV pioneer, it will take getting everyone on board, starting with the dealerships. Perhaps, more importantly, with 1,659 dealerships receiving two DC fast chargers available on the Blue Oval Charge Network (BOCN) and another 261 receiving one, Ford will have one of the largest EV charging networks in the US.

Ford’s BOCN currently has over 4,000 DC fast charging locations, and as dealers roll out their new chargers, it will continue adding to the count.
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Reactions: ChrisC

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I had a frank conversation with my dealer today, who has been wrestling with the Model E Certified level decision. The problem is the size of the investment versus the size of their allocation. So far they have received a total of four (4) Lightnings: 3 retail orders and their mannequin, with little prospect of seeing any more retail orders arrive this year. It is difficult to justify the investment in Model E Certified Elite status with so few reservations being converted to orders, and an average of less than one a month arriving for delivery. They have a backlog of 117 Lightning reservations.

Despite receiving many more Mustang Mach Es, it’s still a tough decision to make.

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2021 Mustang Mach E First Edition, 2016 Nissan Leaf, 2003 Toyota Tacoma, F-150 Lightning Lariat ER
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As the Ford release said, there are a number of small market dealers who will likely not be interested in being a certified Model E dealer. I haven't seen how the EV certification relates to maintenance of existing customer electric vehicles. If the dealer I purchased my Lightning from isn't interested in EV certification, can they still do EV repair\warranty work on the EVs they have already sold?

And please don't say I'll just have to find another EV certified Ford do my repairs. That's not an option here. Are we remote owners parents to an orphan?
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