I learn an article by Jalopnik which echoes what I’ve been saying for a while now. If Ford, or any legacy automaker for that matter, actually needs to compete with Tesla, the sellers have to get out of the way in which. I’ve written about this extensively. For instance, in Connecticut, an area paper, The Day, printed an opinion piece principally begging Tesla to play by their guidelines. By “their,” I imply dealerships’. Don’t foyer to make direct gross sales to clients authorized, don’t drive dealerships to compete for his or her enterprise with out lifting a finger.
In my interview/podcast with Connecticut State Senator Will Haskell, he mentioned one thing that form of led me to the conclusion of precisely why dealerships don’t need to compete with Tesla. Dealerships have been the one manner you possibly can buy a brand new automobile for many years. Tesla is forcing them to vary, however as a substitute, they’re preventing that.
I’ve additionally touched upon the dealership expertise — not my very own, however these of others. And that is the main target of the Jalopnik article, which said, “It’s one factor to have a product that competes with Tesla, it’s one other to have the gross sales expertise. And Ford’s outdated dealership mannequin isn’t serving to.”
The article defined that Ford is severe about EVs and including extra to its lineup, however that its method to truly promoting them is leaving clients pissed off and searching elsewhere for his or her EVs. The creator identified that the primary situation is that Ford has moved to what it calls e-invoice pricing, which “signifies that the bill value (or vendor price) and MSRP are equivalent.” The creator defined additional: “Often vendor bill pricing is decrease, permitting sellers to supply offers beneath MSRP, which simply isn’t as clear or easy to a client, who might slightly need to simply pay what the automobile prices as a substitute of worrying about getting the most effective deal. Whether or not Ford will admit it or not, with this ‘e-invoice’ pricing, it appears to be taking a web page from Tesla’s playbook the place everybody pays the identical value for a automobile. In case you purchase a Tesla, the value on-line is what you pay. No video games, no vendor nonsense. Besides, regardless of Ford’s ‘e-invoice’ pricing, sellers can play video games and markup automobiles properly over the MSRP.”
The creator even has his personal vendor story, form of. Having assisted with a number of Mach-E offers for quite a few clients in numerous states, he’s seen upwards of $10,000 over the sticker value.
The creator shared a screenshot of a tweet from Ford’s Mike Levine quote tweeting Ross Gerber, a buddy of mine, who was complaining about poor vendor practices — sellers promoting Mach-Es properly above MSRP. The creator reached out to Mr. Levine however by no means received a response. Nevertheless, Emma Berg, the director of Ford’s communications for EVs, mentioned:
“If a buyer isn’t proud of their vendor, our staff may also help them discover a totally different vendor that’s a greater match. Sellers are impartial franchises and in the end the ultimate value a buyer pays for any automobile is agreed between themselves and a vendor.”
In different phrases, sellers are presenting an issue that Tesla at all times assumed they’d current if Tesla needed to promote automobiles by way of them as a substitute of on to clients.
One other situation the creator touched upon is a leasing situation. Lessees are unable to benefit from federal tax credit to chop down personal prices as a result of Ford monetary providers arm won’t move this credit score on to them. He cited an article from Automobiles Direct which additional defined, “While you lease a brand new EV the tax credit score nonetheless applies, however because it stays with the unique proprietor, most OEMs don’t move on the credit score whenever you lease. As a substitute, they hold the credit score, like Ford is doing with the newest Mustang Mach-e, which qualifies for a full $7,500 credit score. This will have an effect on the lease value on sure EVs, since some producers do select to move on the financial savings, like VW which provides a $7,500 zero-emission bonus for lessors on its 2021 ID.4.”
I believe that the creator has a really legitimate level right here when addressing the truth that dealerships are getting in the way in which of Ford success promoting EVs. It’s simpler to purchase a Tesla than a Mach-E or different legacy automaker EV, even in states that ban direct gross sales. You may merely go browsing, purchase it, after which be executed. The subsequent step is the supply course of. There aren’t any hidden charges, no value haggling, nobody telling you that you simply want to pay $1,000 for locking lugnuts, and even worse.
There aren’t any paperwork charges, no ill-informed gross sales individuals who know nothing concerning the automobile nor have any curiosity as a result of they don’t make any cash from it. There’s none of that.
The creator of the Jalopnik article penned a really properly written constructive suggestions piece for Ford, and I believe that if Ford is severe about EVs (and it appears to be, considerably), it won’t solely settle for the criticism, however actively attempt to discover a resolution that can profit its clients who need to purchase a Mach-E.
Preserve In Thoughts…
With that mentioned, Ford wants to know why dealerships don’t need to promote their Mach-Es or compete with Tesla. I’ve summarized this earlier than in one other article:
“The rationale why dealerships don’t need to compete with Tesla or any EV manufacture that sells on to the shopper is that they don’t need to need to combat for one thing they’re used to getting simply.
“Up till Tesla, the one manner to purchase a automobile was by way of a dealership. With Tesla and different EV producers equivalent to Rivian and Lucid coming to the States, dealerships are actually having to combat or compete for one thing they aren’t used to having to combat for. They need to combat for his or her piece of the pie, so to talk.
“Earlier than Tesla, dealerships may get away with screwing clients over, as a result of should you wished a automobile, you actually had no selection however to go to a dealership (except you got a used automobile from somebody). In case you wished a brand new automobile, you go to the sellers. It’s at all times been this manner.”
Ford, you’re working with a mannequin that’s used to getting what it needs and being the one entry level for purchasers. This mannequin doesn’t need to change or settle for the truth that issues are altering. That is what you’re working with, and it’s working in opposition to you. I’m certain it, however if you wish to succeed, I’ll add to the rising variety of voices asking you to discover a manner for that mannequin to work in your favor or to eradicate the mannequin itself.
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