Editor Update: To clarify this up front, we have not seen any original emails/communications from the person who shared this story to confirm its validity, and coming from an anonymous source, any claim should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. Also, the reddit post that triggered coverage has been removed. See here:
One thing especially unclear is what level of management the “Ford executive” cited in the story, assuming it’s all true, occupies.
However, overall, there are two key parts of this story: 1) large dealer markups on the Ford Mustang Mach-E are known to be commonplace now (I don’t think anyone would debate that), and 2) there are certainly dealers and people at legacy automakers who are not gung-ho about the EV transition and would rather push potential EV customers away than solve challenges like big EV markups. That said, all of the details of this particular story that we have are basically below and not 100% verified.
After being unable to avoid a big dealer markup on a Ford Mustang Mach-E, a potential customer escalated the matter. The Ford executive who responded told the potential Ford Mustang Mach-E buyer that it would be easier for them to just buy a Tesla Model 3 (there are no markups and no haggling with Tesla) instead of preordering the Ford Mustang Mach-E. This is according to a report from our friends over on Teslarati.
Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising due to the horrible dealership experience that many EV buyers endure when trying to buy an EV from legacy automakers. For example, see this horrible story of someone trying to buy a Ford Mustang Mach-E earlier this year.
In this case, the issue was that Redditor “OrderlyMayhem” who really wanted the Mach-E, found that Ford dealerships would not accept pre-orders of the new EV without adding a markup. Naturally, this was something he didn’t want to do. Why pay more than the sticker price? The price should be what the tag says, in my opinion, especially when pre-ordering off of the internet. However, dealerships make their money from fees and markups and the price is hardly ever as advertised. As noted above, the potential customer contacted a Ford executive for help with the hope that they had a solution. (There were claims earlier this year in response to the story mentioned above that these kinds of problems could be resolved if you go straight to Ford.)
The executive responded that there wasn’t anything Ford could do to prevent its dealerships from adding markups to the EVs’ MSRP. Then the executive admitted that it would probably be better for this person to just pre-order a Tesla, where no such pricing games take place. So, naturally, Ford lost a customer. Simon Alvarez at Teslarati noted that this isn’t a unique story. With a quick glance through the comments on Reddit alone, other EV enthusiasts shared their own experiences.
This story brings me back to something I wrote earlier this year about Ford, dealerships, and how they are preventing Ford from competing with Tesla on the EV market:
“It’s one thing to have a product that competes with Tesla, it’s another to have the sales experience. And Ford’s old dealership model isn’t helping.”
Although Ford is serious about EVs, its approach to selling them is leaving customers frustrated and looking elsewhere. Ford’s dealerships are getting in the way of its own success at selling EVs. When even Ford executives tell customers that they should just go buy a Tesla, you know there’s a problem.
Ford is working with the dealership model, which is used to getting what it wants and being the only access point for its customers. That model is now scaring away customers. Previously, the only way you could buy a new car was through a dealership. Today, customers have many other options and aren’t afraid to use them.