Ford Warns Dealers and Customers Alike: Don’t Screw With F-150 Lightning Sales

January 11, 2022 Read Original Article >

While it doesn’t do anything against unfair and anti-consumer markups, Ford is taking contractual action against dealers and potential scalpers.

It seems that Ford is ready to do nearly anything to protect the upcoming F-150 Lightning EV pickup from negative news or a poor customer experience. The automaker is hoping to head off a big potential doozy that’s endemic to hotly anticipated new car debuts: Egregious dealer markups on new F-150 Lightnings. Dealers are being warned against asking for additional deposits or any other presale payments. It also puts in a new “no-sale” provision upon purchase for the customers, to prevent folks from flipping their Lightnings for a quick buck.

Extra Deposits

The warning memo to the Ford dealers—that was originally screenshot and posted on the forum before it was deleted at the request of Ford—is more of a way to protect the brand from negative reviews from customers after much of the debacle from new Bronco sales. That is, customers put up a deposits to reserve their new Ford 4x4s on Ford’s site only for franchise dealers to come back and demand more money before they would sell that customer a new Bronco.

Ford already has a tool on their franchise dealer agreement under “Paragraph 6(i)” that states: “The Dealer shall conduct dealership operations in a manner that will reflect favorably at all times the reputation of the dealer, other company (Ford) authorized dealers, the company, company products and trademarks and trade names used or claimed by the company or any of its subsidiaries.” This includes a provision that the dealer “shall avoid in every way any ‘bait,’ deceptive, misleading, confusing, or illegal advertising or business practices.” Any dealer caught doing this by Ford will have their allocation of F-150 Lightnings “redirected” for the entirety of the 2022 model year.

Scalper Prevention

A later portion of the Ford memo answers the potential scalper issues seen with many limited products, be it by design or by supply issues. The “No-Sale Provision” laid out by Ford prevents new owners of the 2022 F-150 Lightning from immediately reselling their new truck after getting it from the dealer. Ford said its dealers may add the following paragraph to their closing documents or as a new, standalone document.

“Purchaser hereby agrees that it will not sell, offer to sell, or otherwise transfer any ownership interest in the vehicle prior to the first anniversary of the date hereof. Purchaser further agrees that seller may seek injunctive relief to prevent the transfer of title of the vehicle or demand payment from purchaser of all value received as consideration for the sale or transfer.” In other words, you buy the Lightning, you’re stuck with it for a full year from your purchase date. It’s a similar solution tried by Ford for the GT supercar, but we also know how that actually worked.

However, the one problem Ford didn’t address in this letter? Anti-consumer markups. We understand the need for markup due to market demand and that it’s a part of the capitalist marketplace. It’s the markup of nearly half or even double the price of MSRP is what ruins the dealership experience for consumers and gives the biggest blackeyes to the automakers. This also needs to be curved, but it seems like this isn’t a priority for any OEM with a franchise dealership model, at the moment. So prepare to possibly pay more for your Lightning, but not in the form of extra deposits or the like.

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