Ford works to stop scalpers from spoiling F-150 Lightning launch

DETROIT – Supply chain disruptions as well as chip shortages have already limited the supply of many new vehicles.

The auto industry is in a whole new world when it comes to demand for electric pickup trucks like the F-150. Ford is working to keep market forces from spoiling its launch of the F-150 Lightning.

Read: Meet the Woman Behind Ford’s All-Electric F-150 Lightning: “Pursue What You Love”

As anticipation grows for the sales launch of the F-150 Lightning in a few months, there are already maneuvers to get a job. Some dealerships send letters to customers telling them to expect a markup of $10,000 or more for the truck.

Guidehouse Insights automotive analyst Sam Abuelsamid said dealerships are separate businesses from the manufacturer.

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“They can set their prices wherever they want once the dealership has the car. They bought that vehicle from the manufacturer. The manufacturer no longer has any control over its price,” Abuelsamid said.

This does not mean that Ford has no influence over its dealerships. They have franchise agreements.

“If you ordered 100 trucks, we’re going to ship you 50 or 20 or maybe not at all, so they have some leeway there,” Abuelsamid said.

Ford is familiar with this kind of problem. Its production Bronco is still limited due to roof issues and the clamor for these SUVs is getting similar supply and demand treatment. And like Ford did with its GT sports car, the company also caters to customers looking to keep the scalper market from taking hold.

“They’re asking customers to sign a purchase agreement that says they’re buying an F-150 Lightning, they’ll keep it for at least 12 months so they don’t immediately turn around and sell it for a high price because they don’t want people scalping these things. They want people who actually want these trucks to have them and drive them,” Abuelsamid said.

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Abuelsamid said that unless you absolutely must have the vehicle as soon as it becomes available, if you get one of the letters marking your truck, you should leave. Ford will be doing more, so be patient.

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Robert M. Larson