Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed on Monday that 1,920 Blue Oval dealers have signed up for the brand’s Model e Certification progra. Beginning in 2023, these dealers will enjoy exclusive EV-centered perks. The news comes at the same time that many dealers and officials are opposing the program altogether.

Ford’s Model e Certification program features two levels of commitment. The first, Model e Certified, requires any dealer that signs up to make an investment up to $500,000 and caps their electric vehicle sales at 25 units per year. The top level, Model e Certified Elite requires up to a $1.2 million investment but provides more perks for the dealer.

Both investments intend to equip the dealership itself with more EV infrastructure and training to better assist customers. Both will also be required to set no-haggle prices on EVs. Of the 1,920 dealers that signed up, 1,659 chose the Elite program said Farley at the Autonews Congress. Ford has approximately 3,000 dealers across the nation and those who declined to sign up for either program won’t be able to sell EVs beginning in 2023.

More: Ford Dealers Fight Back Against $1.2M EV Certification Calling The Practice ‘Unfair’

Not Everyone Is On Board

According to Autonews, that restriction has officials and dealers upset. Recently, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that he planned to ask both state authorities as well as the FTC to investigate the legality of the Model e Certification program in light of dealership franchise laws. “I’m convinced there’s a case that needs to be investigated here,” Blumenthal said… “I just think Ford is making a terrible mistake here if it persists in this approach.”

He’s far from the only critical voice. Dealership associations across the country have decried being cut out of the EV sales loop. As we noted back in early November, it seems that dealers don’t want to miss out on the lucrative sales that EVs bring with them but also don’t want to pay to improve the customer experience.

Ford, for its part, says that the program is perfectly legal nationwide. Farley says that customers come first too. “We want to work with our dealers, but there are certain things our customers want that are nonnegotiable… There’s always a better way,” he said. “But I don’t think we made, really, any big mistakes.” Dealers who didn’t sign up will have another chance to do so in 2025.





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