The Blue Oval is shifting gears with a fixed-priced sales model.
Ford has announced that its European division is switching to a fixed-price sales model for its all-electric vehicles with a greater emphasis on online sales. This new business model is designed to make it easier for customers to switch to an EV and eliminate price negotiating.
According to Ford's research, 91% want an online buying experience but only if the process is "seamless," and 77% prefer fixed prices. Another 69% would like their new vehicles delivered to them at home. Ford is also introducing an "agency model" across the European continent to ensure every customer receives a consistent price whether they buy online or at a dealership.
"We're well on the way to becoming an electric passenger car brand by 2030, with a uniquely comprehensive line-up of vehicles already introduced and inspired by an understanding that EV customers see the world differently," said Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e, Europe.
"Our vision is to make it easier and more appealing than ever for customers to discover, buy and own the right electric vehicle for them, whether switching to electric for the first time or already an experienced owner."
Ford reaffirms it will launch ten new electric passenger vehicles in Europe by 2024. The Mustang Mach-E is already on sale, and just a few weeks ago, the Europe-only all-electric Explorer was unveiled, based on Volksagen's MEB platform. Ford outlined its new retail approach at the Bring On Tomorrow Live event in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it also unveiled the E-Tourneo Courier, pictured below.
A large number of Ford dealers across the globe are already switching to the Model e Certified or Model e Certified Elite EV certification programs. Alternatively, they could opt out and then be forced to sell ICE vehicles only. Some also remain hesitant about switching to the fixed-priced sales model, but Ford believes that will change over time.
This experimental program also tackles another major source of frustration that plagued American buyers: uncertainty as to when their new vehicle will arrive. Bronco buyers, for example, had to wait months without any updates about the delivery.
Now, Ford's new online program will provide "clear communication, online visibility of the order status, and the ability to book delivery slots online will help customers plan ahead." Nothing was mentioned in the press release when or if this fixed-price and delivery program will make its way to the US, but there's a strong likelihood it will at some point, specifically for EVs. Franchised dealers are not accustomed to no-haggle, fixed prices, but online shopping is increasingly becoming popular.
Whatever ultimately happens, Ford and other automakers are quickly adapting to new ways of doing business, and their dealers will have to change their methods as well. It's an adapt-or-die approach.
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