Ford is losing dealer confidence after a difficult year for the transition to electric vehicles


Ford dealer.Peter Dench/Getty Images

  • Nearly half of Ford dealers said they have “no confidence” in their franchise in a new survey.

  • Ford dealers have had a difficult year balancing demand for electric vehicles.

  • Ford says it’s listening to dealers and ‘making adjustments’

It was a A tough year for Ford dealersIt became clear that some were losing patience.

Ford came in last place in a recent survey of dealer confidence in their franchises, with 46% of Ford dealers surveyed by Kerrigan Advisors saying they had “no confidence” in their franchises. This lack of confidence is consistent with expectations of lower future profitability at Ford stores that are reflected in another part of 2023 Kerrigan Dealer Survey.

This collapse in confidence and pessimism about the future shouldn’t come as a huge surprise after the year Ford dealers have had.

Store owners are starting 2023 balancing with New investment requirements To sell electric cars against Sharp price cuts Which reached this sector after Elon Musk, head of Tesla, began reducing its prices. Over the summer, some Ford dealers told Insider they were starting to do so Put away the electric Mustang Mach-E allowances, even after investing heavily to qualify for the sale of those cars.

Recently, another Ford dealer told Insider that it was struggling to fill orders for the F-150 Lightning electric vehicle as customers change plans in a harsher economic environment.

“By the time it was their turn to order, interest rates had moved significantly,” said Cameron Johnson, CEO of Magic City Auto Group, a Virginia company. “The price of the car had moved significantly and not as many people were ordering the Lightning in the end.” “. The dealership group sells mostly local brands.

Add on top of the fact that dealers across the country have been sounding the alarm bell about the shift in demand for electric vehicles, and it starts to become clear why dealers of one of the pioneers of the electric vehicle transition might be concerned.

Ford, for its part, says it listens to dealers and “makes adjustments” based on their feedback.

“Working with our dealers, we recently made meaningful changes to address dealer feedback and improve franchise value,” a Ford spokesperson told Insider in a statement.

Ford is also among many companies that have They have withdrawn or revised their electric vehicle plans In recent months in response to Changing customer response to the sector.

Among the least trusted brands, Nissan ranks second while Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln, ranks third.

Fewer electric cars, more confidence

Companies with less ambitious electric vehicle plans appeared to fare better among their dealers in the survey.

Topping the list of most trusted franchises is Toyota, which has long supported a more measured shift to electric vehicles and has relied heavily on a hybrid lineup to meet stricter emissions standards.

This puts Toyota ahead of the competition as the green car shopping group becomes a more price-conscious and more practical buyer who is more likely to do so. Spend extra cash on a hybrid car That suits their lifestyle better than an electric car that comes with more compromises.

Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, comes in second place, while Subaru lands in third place.

Martin French, managing director of automotive consultancy Berylls, recently told Insider that hybrids are likely to be the bridge the auto industry needs to reach full electrification.

“I still think full electric vehicles are our future, but maybe not as fast as everyone is pushing it,” French said.

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