Ford faced criticism when it introduced the Model e Certified sales program in 2022. Ford dealerships must enrol in the EV sales program in order to sell electric cars.

The Ford EV sales program imposed up to $1.2 million in new costs on dealerships. These new costs were largely caused by Ford’s requirement that dealerships have EV charging infrastructure available at all times.

In addition, the EV sales program came in two tiers. Dealerships that chose to purchase the cheaper tier were only allowed to sell 25 EVs per year.

Ford reduced the EV charging requirements and dropped the sales cap after legal challenges from dealerships. However, the sales program remains controversial. Dealers continue to argue that it takes away their freedom to do business as they see fit.

This week, Ford Authority reported that nearly 400 dealers have left the Model e Certified sales program since Ford shared the initial enrolment numbers last December. These dealers will not be able to sell EVs again until 2027.

Initially, 1,920 Ford dealers enrolled in the EV sales program.

The news is the latest blow to Ford’s efforts to become an EV powerhouse. Earlier this fall, Ford indicated that it would delay or cancel $12 billion of its planned EV investments due to decreased demand. This includes downsizing a future battery site in Michigan and using only one of the two under-construction battery plants in Kentucky.

Ford’s problems with the Model e Certified sales program should cause it to consider switching to Tesla’s direct to consumer model. Tesla doesn’t have any dealerships, which eliminates the risk of dealers suing the parent company. The lack of dealers also makes EVs more affordable and protects customers from having to deal with aggressive sales pitches.

Image Source: Jeremy VanDervort