Most U.S. Ford dealers sign on to automaker’s EV mandates

Not everyone agrees.

The New York dealers suing Ford argue that the provision in the program barring uncertified dealers from selling EVs is unlawful.

“Every dealer under the current franchise agreement has a right to every Ford vehicle manufactured with that nameplate on it, to include the newest EVs,” Rich Sox, one of the attorneys representing the dealers, said in an interview. “They have a right to their fair allocation of those vehicles based on their market size, sales history, etc. This is about making sure all dealers have access to EVs and not being pigeonholed into one of three categories the program arbitrarily created.”

Ford has argued that it plans to continue investing in gasoline-powered vehicles under its Ford Blue business unit so dealerships that do not sell EVs can continue to be successful.

“A dealer that loses the ability to sell and service EVs — the future of the automobile industry — will soon find itself unprofitable and eventually out of business,” the New York dealers wrote in their lawsuit.

The Illinois protest, as well as a complaint filed with Arkansas’ motor vehicle commission in October, raises similar points.

“Ford is intentionally withholding new and potentially profitable products from dealers, to which they have an existing contractual and statutory right, unless dealers accede to the extreme, unreasonable, and anti-franchise conditions on which Ford is insisting,” the Illinois dealers said. “To be sure, there is nothing ‘voluntary’ about Ford’s unlawful take-it-or-leave-it program.”

Despite the opposition, Farley last week said he didn’t regret the rollout of the program.

“There’s always a better way,” he said. “But I don’t think we made, really, any big mistakes.”

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