Last month, I shared the story of how a potential Ford customer had a problem with a Ford dealership and later said they were told to buy a Tesla. Note, however, that we never connected with this person directly and they ended up deleting their initial Reddit post sharing the story. However, someone who read that post just sent us an email with their own story.
This person wishes to remain anonymous and still plans to buy the Mustang Mach-E. It’s what they want and they have their heart set on it. So, if any executives at Ford are reading this, please take into consideration that this is more constructive feedback than anything else. I may be actively supportive of Tesla and its mission online, but Tesla needs its allies, and Ford can be such an ally to that mission. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Ford CEO Jim Farley have certainly agreed on this several times in their own tweets and statements. Let’s go!
The Mustang Mach-E Ordering Experience
So this customer, we’ll call him Joe, ordered a Ford Mustang Mach-E online, picked his dealership, and things went downhill from there. Here’s what Joe said in an email to me:
“So here’s what happened. I ordered a Mustang Mach-E on Ford’s website. You have to select a dealership so I selected the one closest to my house. I immediately got a call from the dealership telling me that my order wasn’t going to be processed because of a recall and that someone else would be calling me with more information. As this is a 2022, I figured that was wrong. I called another dealership and they confirmed that.
“I called back and asked to speak to someone about that. They put me on with a service manager who looked it up and couldn’t find anything. I asked who called me and why they would say something like that but for some reason, he didn’t understand what I was saying. I asked to be transferred to someone else. I then spoke to a sales manager who said they have a separate company that handles those calls and they don’t know what they’re doing. He said he was sorry.
“I then got an email from someone else indicating that he saw I was interested in ordering a Mach E and that I should call him. I called him and advised him that I already ordered it. He can’t find my order so he needed me to send the info from Ford. So I forwarded the email with the order number.
“The next day, some other person from the dealership called me but I was standing in a line and didn’t want to be rude so I asked them to call me back in 5 minutes. They never did. I still don’t know who it was or what they wanted. I just know that they were from the dealership.
“The next day the guy who I emailed called me to say that he still can’t find my order so they have to do a whole new build. I was concerned about having two different orders and why this dealership was not communicating with Ford properly.
“I called Ford customer service and had to be bounced around to a number of different people. It took about 40 minutes to get to the correct person. She did not want to help me. No matter what I said, her response was that everything has to be handled with the dealership and that due to franchise law, they cannot even call the dealership.
“I informed her that the dealership is claiming that Ford is not communicating with them so how can I possibly resolve this with the dealership? Isn’t there someone at Ford that can figure out why this ordering process is not working? She asked for my order number which I gave her.
“She said it was incorrect. I told her that I can literally screenshot the website and send it to her. It says order number. She said there should be something else. Well, where would I find that? She doesn’t know. I looked everywhere and there was nothing else. She said she can’t do anything else if she can’t find the order. I said how can I find something if you don’t know where it is? She said she’d have to look into it and put me on hold. Instead of hold music, it was a survey on a loop. After 5 minutes the line went dead.
“I then called the dealership again and spoke to a new person. They wanted my order number and again, they couldn’t find the order. I asked for a refund of the deposit since this was such a nightmare. Once again, I had to get transferred around but eventually spoke to an inventory control manager. She was very nice. She explained that this is a common problem so people have to come into the dealership to build the car. A few hours later I got an email confirming my refund.
Constructive Feedback For Ford
I asked Joe if he had any advice and feedback for Ford regarding how this dealership handled his Mustang Mach-E order. Joe told me:
“I ran a small business and I understand it’s apples and oranges in a sense but a business of any size needs to remove bureaucracies. You can’t have something like this happen and then just chalk it up to ‘that’s just what happens’.
“There seems to be a huge disconnect between Ford and their dealerships. Literally, no one at the customer service line showed even the slightest motivation to understand the issue let alone try to resolve it. No one at the dealership told me that they were even attempting to resolve this with Ford. Their attitude was simply ‘don’t use the website because it usually doesn’t work’.
“I understand there is going to be some growing pains when you try to completely change how some cars are purchased, so things aren’t going to be perfect but Ford does not appear to have anything in place to identify these issues and fix them. It cannot be that difficult to transfer data from one place to another.”
A few days ago, Bloomberg reported that Ford CEO Jim Farley said that he plans for Ford to eventually top Tesla in EV sales in America, after overtaking GM. He said that Ford has the chance to get to #1 and that Ford and Tesla are competitors. He thinks second is the first loser, so they are going to go for it.
These are great goals for any company wanting to make it in an industry where things are changing at an extremely fast pace, but if Ford is going to do it, the company needs to solve the problem of the dealer disconnect. You can’t sell a car — even one as good as the Mustang Mach-E — if your salespeople don’t have any motive or incentive to sell those cars. And if the only motives or incentives are raising the prices to points where it’s more affordable to buy a Tesla, the company Ford wants to top, then I don’t see how Ford will beat Tesla.
Perhaps Farley should engage with Ford customers on Twitter in a positive manner as Elon does with Tesla customers. Ask for feedback and really engage with them. If anyone can help Ford survive the transition to EVs, it’s the company’s own loyal customers.