Ford is trying its hardest to make sure we pay MSRP for our cars.
If anyone is having a tough time with markups right now, it's Ford. The brand's models, like the Ford Bronco, have long suffered from unreasonable markups from dealers. It's a story we've all heard before, and it's starting to repeat itself with the Ford F-150 Lightning. Platinum trim models are already marked up past $100,000.
Ford tried to do something about it, with CEO Jim Farley telling dealers that they'd best cut it out or their inventory would be affected. Evidently, that warning wasn't heeded by some. So, Ford is trying another approach. The brand is implementing a more strict name-match policy across the board, per a dealer bulletin sent out this week.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a name-match policy effectively states that when a person orders a car through a dealer, they must be the sole recipient of said vehicle. Example: you order a Ford F-150 Lightning. A dealer then tells Ford what you want, and you must then be the person who gets the car. That sounds like exactly how dealers are supposed to work, but sometimes dealers use these systems to create spare inventory where there is none, telling Ford that someone has ordered a car who hasn't.
The new policy says that 75% of cars ordered by dealers must be name-matched to a customer. Previously, the policy said that number had to be 70% of cars ordered. Ford is also closing a loophole. Previously, a provision allowed dealers a 120-day period from the order receipt date to the dealer delivery date, after which that 70% name-match policy was voided. Now, dealers will be held accountable for every violation of the name-match policy, regardless of circumstance.
Punishment for breaking the name-match now means that dealers will forfeit a month's worth of allocations, and at three violations, dealers will be kicked out of the Ford Name Match and Integrity Policy entirely. That means it'll be extremely difficult for repeat-offending dealers to do business. Basically, it's "toe the line or get out" for Ford dealers now.
Finally, the memo also states that the 75% name-match policy will rise again to 80% of orders for 2023 model year vehicles. Critically, that includes the F-150 Lightning. Of course, that means fewer spare cars sitting on dealer lots, and more orders right to Ford itself. The new policy for dealers mirrors stats at Ford, which shows an increasing number of online customer orders.