Ford CEO wants to abolish the dealership experience as we know it

Image for article titled Ford CEO wants to abolish the dealership experience as we know it

Photo: Bill Pugliano (Getty Images)

Ford wants to do things differently as it expands into the EV business. This is turn electric cars into their own sub-brand, unrelated to ancestral tradition dealers asking “What can I do to get you in that car today?” Months after the news broke, CEO Jim Farley doubled down. In a speech today, the executive confirmed that under his new plan, dealerships will get rid of inventory entirely and become high-quality service centers for customers who buy their vehicles online.

In a presentation to 38th Annual Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, an event that is apparently real and not an arrested development plot point, Farley confirmed that Ford intends to sell electric vehicles entirely online, with pricing without haggling. Dealership lots filled with pre-ordered inventory would disappear, and today’s existing dealerships would shift to providing service for cars purchased online.

Image for article titled Ford CEO wants to abolish the dealership experience as we know it

Photo: Ford

Basically, Farley framed this decision as a objective rather than a definitive plan. His words, reported by the detroit free press: “You have to go to the non-negotiated price. We need to go 100% online. There is no inventory… 100% remote pick-up and delivery.

Buyers looking to enter a Lightning may have to deal with dealerships for now, but future deals may never require a single foot down those hallowed halls. It seems the goal is for dealers to process the customer-initiated transaction through the online sales portal – no more need to walk into the sales floor or enter the dreaded box. Farley said existing dealerships will play a role in this transition, with the company using its “physical presence” to “outclass” startups like Tesla, which have had to build physical showrooms and service outlets from scratch. .

In comments reported by Bloomberg, Farley also outlined his plan to eliminate Ford’s ad spend entirely. The automaker is one of the biggest ad buyers in the world, spending more than $3 billion a year on ads. But Ford hasn’t bought any ads for its two new electric vehicles, the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, and both are sold out. When it comes to electric vehicles, “I’m not convinced we need public advertising,” Farley said, as reported by Bloomberg.

An all-digital shopping experience may prevent shoppers from laying eyes on cars and cigarette butts in seats before shelling out their hard-earned cash, but it’s an issue people seem to care less about every year. . Make up digital sales almost a third of auto transactions in the United Statesand it is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.

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