ford motor companyThe company is facing legal challenges to its electric vehicle dealer authorization program from retailers in three states who allege the plans violate franchise laws.
A group of 27 dealers in Illinois filed a complaint with the state’s Automotive Review Board on Friday, and four dealers in New York filed lawsuits against the automaker earlier this week. These actions came after the Arkansas Auto Dealers Association filed a formal complaint against the manufacturer with the state motor vehicle commission in October.
These are believed to be the first legal actions taken against Ford amid growing opposition to the certification program. At least 14 state dealer associations have sent letters to Ford demanding changes, and earlier this week the plan was denounced by Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal and some state legislators.
Ford set a deadline on Friday to decide whether dealers across the country will invest up to $1.2 million in chargers, training and upgrades needed to sell EVs next year and beyond. Dealers who want to sell EVs must also agree to new sales standards aimed at redefining the retail experience, including non-negotiable pricing.
The New York lawsuit says Ford’s EV certification program includes “illegal franchise changes, unreasonable pricing requirements, reduced margins, and an illegal quota system.”
According to Rich Sox, one of the attorneys who represent the dealers, under New York law, such lawsuits are automatically suspended from Ford’s certification program until a judge decides on the matter. It is said that there is a possibility that it will be done.Clarification on whether the program will be suspended could come in the coming months, Socks said. car news.
The New York plaintiffs argue that the program’s provisions barring dealers from selling future EVs if they do not invest in one of the two certification stages are unlawful.
“All dealers under current franchise agreements have rights to all Ford vehicles manufactured under that nameplate to include the latest EVs,” Sox said in an interview. “They have the right to equitably allocate these vehicles based on market size, sales history, etc. This means that all dealers will have access to EVs and the program will arbitrarily create his 3 It’s about not falling into one of the two categories.”
In an emailed statement, Ford said its certification program is “consistent with all relevant laws,” but declined to comment further because of pending lawsuits.
Dealers who don’t want the highest level of certification can choose to spend $500,000, but are not allowed to sell more than 25 EVs per year. Ford notes that investment amounts may vary based on federal and state incentives.
Non-participating retailers will be limited to selling only gasoline and hybrid vehicles.
“Dealers who are incapable of selling and servicing EVs, the future of the auto industry, will quickly lose their profits and eventually go out of business,” plaintiffs wrote in their New York lawsuit.
The Illinois protest and Arkansas complaint raise similar points.
The Illinois dealer said, “Ford will not sell any new potential revenues to which the dealer has existing contractual and statutory rights unless the dealer agrees to the extreme and unreasonable anti-franchise terms that Ford is claiming.” “Certainly, there is nothing ‘voluntary’ in Ford’s illegal take-it-or-leave-it program.”
The Arkansas complaint alleges the costs are excessive. Ford responded to the Arkansas complaint last month, arguing that the program was illegal, saying it had “no merit.”
Ford attorney Stephen Kelso said, “AADA’s assertion that the voluntary program is beyond reasonable limits is false.” We set reasonable minimum requirements to sell and service to
For dealers who have not opted into the program by Friday’s deadline, Ford said it will offer another opportunity to opt in in 2025.
“Ford intends to acquire customers through its new EV business. This is an opportunity for the company and its dealers to grow together,” Ford said in a statement Friday. In order to compete with start-ups and legacy OEMs in a changing market, we must take reasonable steps to better serve our existing and future EV customers.”