Ford hits the brakes on EV dealer investments amid market shifts

Max McDee, 22 May 2024

The electric vehicle market is experiencing its first slowdown, and Ford is feeling the heat. The automaker is asking its dealers to hit a pause on investments in the EV certification program as it reassesses its strategy in the face of an evolving landscape.

In late 2022, Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, announced an ambitious plan to enroll 1,920 dealers in its EV sales program. However, by December of that year, several of the early participants had already opted out, and enrollment figures for 2024 now hover just above 50%. This drop in participation and significant losses in Ford's Model e unit have prompted the company to reevaluate its approach.

Ford hits the brakes on EV dealer investments amid market shifts

Ford's president of Ford Blue (ICE portfolio), Andrew Frick, acknowledged the need for change, stating that "there's a lot that we'll be reviewing." The company plans to meet with its dealer council in early June to finalize updates based on feedback from nationwide gatherings.

One of the main concerns dealers raise is the uncertainty surrounding the EV market. Ford's decision to delay some EV plans and focus on smaller, more profitable models has left dealers unsure where to invest their resources. Frick reassured dealers that the company is working to align its dealer network with its evolving EV strategy.

Ford hits the brakes on EV dealer investments amid market shifts

While Frick didn't elaborate on the upcoming changes, he emphasized that the dealer council and executives are in agreement. His words were precise: "I think we're both pretty aligned on the process based on what we heard."

It's not surprising that Ford has been asking its suppliers to help cut EV costs. The company anticipates a $5.5 billion loss in its EV business this year, with the Model e unit responsible for a $1.3 billion loss in Q1 2024 alone, following a $4.7 billion loss last year.

Ford hits the brakes on EV dealer investments amid market shifts

Ford expects its next-generation EVs to be profitable within 12 months of launch, and Farley has underlined the importance of Model e becoming a self-sufficient division within the company. In the interim, the company wants to introduce more hybrid models while it continues to develop profitable EVs.

The situation at Ford highlights the challenges facing automakers as they navigate the transition to electric vehicles. The EV market is still in its early stages, and there are many unknowns. However, it is painfully clear that legacy automakers like Ford will need to be agile and adaptable if they want to succeed in this rapidly changing landscape.



Reader comments

  • EvBOmm BOmm

Market isn't uncertain, its flourishing. Ford models are bad compared to competition. They dont have any $25k EV with ADAS Level 2, 4c Charging. If you make bad expensive cars, they won't sell in market. They didn't spend money on EV R...



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