To hear Ford tell it, you’d think they can’t build hybrid and electric vehicles– nor certify dealers to sell them– fast enough.
According to a press release from Ford, the Motor Company expects fully one-third of its U.S. dealer network will by spring be certified to sell what the automaker calls “electrified vehicles,” that is, vehicles that have an electric component– plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) or full-on electric vehicles (EVs).
“Strong demand for Ford’s three new plug-in vehicles has Ford certifying hundreds more dealers to sell them than expected – including 900 to be certified by spring and make Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi available in all 50 states for the first time,” the press release said.
From April to December, 2012, Ford says it increased its market share in electrified vehicles from less than 3% to nearly 16%, slotting in at second place behind longtime hybrid and EV tech purveyor Toyota. That growth along with record January electrified vehicles sales has put dealers on notice that getting certified is a good idea. Certification allows dealers to sell Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid models, according to the release. Certification is not necessary, however, for dealers to be eligible to sell the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid.
Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing Manager C.J. O’Donnell said, “Research indicates that 60% of new vehicle shoppers are considering hybrid products. With this demand for more fuel efficient vehicles, early sales of Ford’s five electrified vehicles has been phenomenal, creating a tremendous amount of excitement among our dealers.”
Certification signifies a dealership has met all of Ford’s guidelines for eligibility, including installation of at least two on-site charging stations for PHEV models and participation in what the release called “highly-specialized training in the field of electric vehicles.”
Other requirements dealers must satisfy when seeking certification, according to the release:
- One of the two required charging stations at the dealership must be in the customer area and the other must be in the service area
- At least one Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi must be available at all times for demonstrations and events
- Of the sales consultant, sales manager, service advisor, and service manager jobs at each location, 80% must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements that cover topics including advanced knowledge of electrification
- Each showroom will have point-of-purchase display materials including digital assets and window signage
- Participation in a Ford Go Green Dealer on-site facility assessment to identify energy- and cost-saving opportunities with a goal of facilitating energy efficiency, lower operating expenses, and carbon footprint reduction
While the release said Ford initially rolled out its five electrified models in phases in key markets, the company is no longer doing that. “With more than 900 EV Certified Ford dealers expected to soon be in the network, the phase strategy is no longer being used,” it said.