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Ford Expands EV Offerings to All US Dealers to Juice Sales (Bloomberg)



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The article below is sourced from Bloomberg Wire Service. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the Bloomberg Wire Service and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NADA.


Ford Motor Co. will sell its lineup of electric vehicles through all 2,800 of its US dealers in a bid to boost sales of battery-powered models now being shunned by mainstream buyers.


The automaker is scrapping a plan that required dealers to invest as much as $1.2 million in their stores in order to qualify to receive models such as the electric Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup. Roughly half of Ford’s retailers had signed up for that program.


“The growth has slowed down and we’re getting into the tough innings,” Marin Gjaja, chief operating officer of Ford’s EV unit, Model e, said in a call with reporters Thursday. 


By stocking EVs in all of Ford’s dealerships “we expect it’s going to help us grow our sales,” Gjaja said. “We think that it will give us greater geographic coverage, create more convenient locations for customers to buy and get their vehicle serviced.”


The move is the latest shift in Ford’s EV strategy, which has seen the automaker reduce spending on battery powered models by $12 billion, cut EV factory capacity, delay new models and slash prices. 


In the first quarter, Ford lost more than $100,000 on each EV it sold, more than twice its losses last year. Ford has said it expects to lose as much as $5.5 billion this year in its EV unit, which Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley recently said “is the main drag on the whole company right now."


Ford shares fell as much as 1.9% as of 10:34 a.m. in New York on Thursday. The stock had declined about 1% this year through Wednesday’s close.


As part of the change, Ford will no longer require dealers to install fast chargers at their stores, which cost about $100,000 per unit, Gjaja said. Instead, it’s asking retailers to install two 19.2 kilowatt chargers, known as Level 2 chargers, which cost about $10,000 each, he said.


The dealers who already made the upgrades to their stores to qualify for the “certified elite” program spent about $600,000 on average, less than the company’s initial estimate of more than $1 million, Gjaja said. Ford is in discussion with those dealers, Gjaja said, without elaborating further.


The automaker hopes that expanding EV availability to all of its dealers will help it convince more mainstream buyers to go electric.


“The world has changed,” Gjaja said. The type of customers Ford is courting now are no longer “in it just for technology and willing to pay a premium. They want a practical, usable vehicle.”

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