When Ford first came up with its plan for future electric car sales, many state dealer associations complained. Since then, Ford has adapted its EV dealer certification plans, but some dealers have still decided to opt out. Fortunately, dealers will have another option to enroll in the future. A Ford spokesperson shared in a statement:
"It is important that dealers have the option to do what they believe is best for their business and their customers for the 2024-2026 period. As we continue to scale our EV volumes, our second enrollment period will open up for 2027-2029."
After officially sharing its "Model e" EV certification plans, Ford said it had 1,920 dealers signed up to participate. More recently, after it was reported by Automotive News that the automaker made notable changes to the upcoming program, the number of participating dealers dropped 1.5 percent, to 1,891. Ford is still reportedly happy with the number of participants.
Ford made a number of changes to the program since it first shared it. Most of the plans apply to the cheaper tier of the automaker's Model e program. For example, those dealers wouldn't be capped at selling just 25 EVs annually. Moreover, they wouldn't be required to have their on-site charging infrastructure available 24/7.
Still, there are over 30 state dealer associations pushing back against the future plans. Now, Automotive News reports that 46 Ford dealers in North Carolina alone put together a petition to challenge the Model e program, and there's a chance it could turn into a lawsuit against Ford.
As the story goes, these dealers were waiting to learn of Ford's official changes, which were to be revealed at NADA. The changes didn't address enough of their concerns, and they're suggesting that Ford is still working to intrude on the franchised dealers' operations. They also allege that such voluntary programs are against the law since dealers that don't choose to opt in wouldn't be allowed to sell EVs.
The publication reports that dealers don't want to pay a bunch of money for certification to sell cars they're already allowed to sell. They also may not want to abide by rules that force strict pricing and prevent them from haggling with customers. They're also pushing back against the EV program's offer of remote pickup and delivery options. The petition reads, via Automotive News:
"Through the EV program, Ford seeks to coerce dealers into expending huge sums of money unnecessarily in order to continue selling vehicles they are already authorized to sell. Ford's EV program will serve to reduce the number of Ford dealers in North Carolina and further restrict consumer access to electric vehicles, particularly those citizens residing in parts of North Carolina outside of the largest cities."
Source: Automotive News