Ford EV Litigation
By: Jeremiah M. Hawkes
Since the announcement of the Ford Model e program, many dealers have raised concerns regarding the feasibility and legality of the program. These concerns have led to a number of legal challenges across the United States. Most of these challenges are ongoing and Ford has suffered some setbacks:
- In Illinois, the Illinois Motor Vehicle Review Board found that Model e Program violated state law by requiring excessive charging stations, exclusive web-based sales, non-negotiable pricing, control of trade-in pricing, and unfair allocation.
- In New York, the Model e program was challenged by four dealers and the program has been stayed by the Court as a modification of the dealer agreement, defeating Ford’s argument that it was a voluntary program. Bass Sox Mercer is counsel in the case.
- In Florida, the state dealer association has brought a challenge and is resisting Ford’s attempts to dismiss based on associational standing. The Ford dealers of North Carolina have brought an administrative challenge in that state. Bass Sox Mercer is counsel in both of these actions.
Since these setbacks, Ford has cut training costs, lowered the number of required chargers, and pushed out the installation deadline. Ford is still proceeding with the e-Commerce platform for online sales however and requiring dealers to use its scheduling platform for service visits.
Ford has also announced it is dialing back its investment in EV’s, recently announcing it will not be producing as many batteries as it had planned at its proposed facility in Michigan and cutting Ford F-150 Lightning production in half for 2024. Overall, Ford has reduced planned EV spending by $12 billion citing soft customer demand.
Dealers should be wary of increased manufacturer demands related to EV’s given the market and regulatory situation are both in a heavy state of flux at the moment.