It goes without saying that the Ford F-150 Lightning is one of the hottest new electric trucks to hit the market in 2022. With over 200,000 reservations and a groundswell of support to produce more EV trucks, Ford appears to be “all-in” on the F-150 Lightning. So much so that Ford is beginning to play a bit of hardball with their dealers and their customers, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
👉 A memo sent from Ford corporate to their dealers was recently leaked online, and from it we learned a lot about how the legacy automaker is thinking about the release of the F-150 Lightning. “It has come to our attention that a limited number of dealerships are interacting with customers in a manner that is negatively impacting customer satisfaction and damaging to the Ford Motor Company brand and Dealer Body reputation.” Huh, a car dealer interacting with customers in a way that is not consumer-centric? We’ve never heard of that!
Here’s what you need to know about the new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, it’s pricing, how dealers are (and aren’t) marking it up, the “no sale” clause and more.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Price & Incentives
Pricing for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning was recently announced and confirmed by Ford. The MSRP before options for each trim level are:
- Base – $41,669
- XLT – $54,669
- Lariat – $69,169
- Platinum – $92,569
An additional $10,000 will get you the Extended Range battery pack, and myriad other options can easily increase the MSRP of a new 2022 F-150 Lightning.
There are no currently no incentives on the Ford Lightning (with the exception of existing military and first responder discounts). Ford continues to offer financing incentives, which may become more attractive as the Federal Reserve contemplates interest rate hikes in 2022.
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Pricing for the F-150 Lightning is competitive with the other electric trucks that are on the market and have been announced by major automakers.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Dealer Markups
In the memo from Ford to their dealers they explicitly stated, “Examples of these negative interactions include demanding that customers who are already on the reservation list for the 22 MY [2022 model year] F-150 Lightning make additional deposits or payments. These actions are perceived as threatening customers by withholding their opportunity to convert reservations to orders.”
If you are on a Lightning reservation list and your dealer is requesting you put down an additional deposit or pay extra to retain your reservation, you DO NOT need to do that. Reference this memo when you reply to the dealer. Ford is adamant about preserving some sort of “positive” customer experience when it comes to purchasing the Lightning.
For the first time in a long time, we have an automaker standing up to their dealer body. Traditionally, automakers let their dealers do whatever they want with customers. At the end of the day MSRP does stand for “Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price”. That being said, Ford recognizes that companies like Tesla (which is currently valued at 10 times the valuation of Ford) have improved the customer experience, and Ford needs to catch up.
The memo goes on to read:
“This behavior is not allowable under Paragraph 6 of the Sales and Service Agreement. Paragraph 6(i) states that ‘The Dealer shall conduct dealership operations in a manner that will reflect favorably at all times on the reputation of the Dealer, other Company authored dealers, the Company, Company Products and trademarks and trade names used or claimed by the Company or any of its subsidiaries. The Dealer shall avoid in every way any ‘bait’, deceptive, misleading confusing or illegal advertising or business practices.'”
This part of the memo is a bit humorous since Ford could easily reprimand all of their dealers for false advertising. As we all know bait and switch practices, deceptive pricing, and misleading and confusing tactics are used day in and day out at countless dealerships. That being said, Ford is threatening to not allocate F-150 Lightning inventory to dealers who behave in this way with the Lightning. That’s newsworthy as it’s the first time Ford or any major automaker has stood up to their dealers on a mass-market vehicle, and it could signal the beginning of the end for unilateral dealer control over the customer experience.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning “No Sale” Clause
Ford is not only exhibiting control over their dealers, they’re also trying to control the re-sale market of the Lightning. From the memo, “In order to prevent the re-sale of 22MY F-150 Lightning, Ford is offering support for a No-Sale Provision to be signed by the customer at the time of purchase. Dealers may add this language to existing closing forms or create a new standalone document.”
The language Ford sent to their dealers reads, “Purchaser hereby agrees that it will not sell, offer to sell, or otherwise transfer any ownership interest in the Vehicle prior to the first anniversary of the date herof. Purchaser further agrees that Seller may seek injunctive relief to prevent the transfer of title of the Vehicle or demand payment from Purchaser of all value received as consideration for the sale or transfer.”
The memo goes on to state, “Dealers should consult with their legal counsel to address any state-specific requirements.”
Not only is the legality of this language a question, the ethics of it are questionable too. How can Ford try and control what a consumer can do after allowing their dealers have been adding additional dealer markup to their vehicles for over a year now?
Ford recognizes that their customers could make a profit by buying a new 2022 F-150 Lightning and re-selling it on the used car market. They have added this language to prevent them from doing that, but they haven’t done anything to stop their dealers from adding tens of thousands of markup to their vehicles. This seems like an overstep. Instead of trying to control consumers, Ford should focus on controlling their dealers first.