With limited charging facilities in Saskatchewan and no provincial purchase incentives, “Electrification is going to be slower to come to a lot of rural dealers,” he said.
Dealers told Automotive News Canada that concerns are being addressed by the Ford Dealers RoundTable Association. Mike Herniak, head of the association, said he was bound by confidentiality agreements regarding negotiations and declined to comment.
U.S. DEALERS PUSH BACK
The pressure to amend the program reflects strong blowback in the United States. Ford recently announced it would extend the original Oct. 31 deadline to Dec. 2 for U.S. dealers to decide on participation.
In October, the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association sent a letter to Ford CEO Jim Farley and other executives asking them to reconsider the program and revise the rules, according to a story in sibling publication Automotive News.
Separately, in late October, a group of executives representing dealer associations in Virginia and 11 other Southern states asked Ford to “reconsider the Ford Model e program as it is currently described,” saying it “includes unreasonable restrictions on dealer autonomy.”
BIG DEALERSHIPS ON BOARD
Meanwhile, some larger dealership groups in Canada say they are ready to buy in.
“I don’t really have a problem with them [the programs] at all,” said Steve Chipman, CEO of the Manitoba-based Birchwood Automotive Group, which owns three rural Ford dealerships in the province and one in Winnipeg.
Although there is no guarantee that investing in the EV infrastructure will guarantee more business, Chipman said, that is the cost of owning a franchise. As Birchwood renovates its stores, wiring for fast chargers is installed, even if the automaker does not yet require it, he said. Birchwood has 24 dealerships representing 22 brands.
Chipman said he is sympathetic to other dealers, especially smaller ones, who have concerns over the cost, because circumstances for each dealership vary.
“Ford has to be open-minded,” Chipman said. “One size doesn’t fit all.”