Ford Tells Dealerships: Don’t Mess With Lightning Reservations
Ford’s electrified truck business is booming. Shortly after reservations opened last summer, Ford announced that more than 100,000 people had signed up for the hybrid version of the new 2022 Ford Maverick. new orders because production could not keep up with demand.
The automaker is seeing similar levels of interest in the upcoming 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, with the entire series of early model year Lightnings already mooted in the reservation process. However, Ford is also aware of the ongoing inventory crisis – which has seen markups above MSRP become commonplace – and the resulting dissatisfaction on the part of buyers at the idea of paying more than expected for vehicles like the Maverick and the recently released Bronco. To that end, Ford has issued warnings to dealers who have demanded additional payments from reservation holders, and it is trying to ban new Lightning buyers from selling their new electric pickup for a year.
Additional deposits or payments
On January 7, the Detroit Free Press reported on a memo Ford sent to its dealer network in an effort to rein in dealers who engage in practices that could cast a negative light on the brand. The rating was posted to f150gen14.com on January 7, but has been removed at Ford’s request. We were able to find the original memo, written by Andrew Frick, vice president of sales for the United States and Canada. The letter details the problem, as Ford sees it, and what it plans to do to protect its customers and the automaker’s reputation.
The memo begins by saying, “It has come to our attention that a limited number of dealerships are interacting with customers in a way that negatively impacts customer satisfaction and harms the Ford Motor Company brand and the reputation of Dealer Body. The memo then specifically lists some of the actions, including asking reservation holders to make additional deposits or payments, noting that the actions are “perceived as threatening” to customers. For customers who are the recipients of these interactions, this seems like welcome rhetoric coming from corporate headquarters.
The automaker also takes these actions seriously, and the memo reads: “If it is determined that your dealership is engaging in such practices, Ford Motor Company reserves the right to redirect such dealerships [sic] allocation of the F-150 Lightning for the entire 2022 season [model year]Basically, if the dealership is found to be misleading or misleading potential customers in its advertising or conduct, Ford is prepared to send the flashes that the dealership allegedly attributed to another dealership.
That’s not all Ford had to say about the sales situation for the F-150 Lightning. In addition to discouraging dealerships from asking reservation holders for additional payments, the automaker is putting in place a no-sale agreement that it wants customers to sign at the time of purchase. The no-sale clause applies for the first year after the purchase of a new F-150 Lightning, and the purchaser agrees “not to sell, offer to sell, or otherwise transfer any title to vehicle before the first anniversary of the date hereof.” This provision appears designed to help avoid a situation in which vehicles are bought and then immediately put up for sale at huge premiums. Anyone who has tried to buy tickets for a popular concert has probably heard of this practice called “scalping”.
This isn’t the first time the automaker has demanded no-sale agreements. Several years ago, the automaker imposed restrictions on the resale of its Ford GT, carefully selecting buyers for the supercar, whose production was limited to a few hundred units a year. This non-sale agreement was for two years. Actor John Cena was famous in court by Ford after selling its GT before the two-year mark. Cena settled out of court with Ford, and the proceeds were donated to charity.
Ford takes its reputation seriously, and the automaker doesn’t want dealers or buyers to cast a negative light on the impending release of the F-150 Lightning.