Ford Warns Dealers About the Problem With Markups on the F-150 Lightning

Ford makes some of the best pickup trucks on the market. However, supply chain issues have gotten rough. It’s now a seller’s market, and dealerships are making a lot of money on marking up prices. Even though the F-150 Lightning isn’t available yet, some dealers have put huge markups on the truck, and now Ford is sending a warning to dealerships who are doing this.

How the markup issue is affecting customers

A silver Ford F-150 Lightning in front of a black background with F-150 Lightning written in blue lights in the background.
Ford F-150 Lightning | Getty Images

Dealership markups aren’t new. It is how dealerships make money on a car. However, thanks to the chip shortage, dealers have a lack of vehicles on hand. As a result, dealerships have a lot of power in how much they can raise their prices with a limited amount of cars available at any one time. This has resulted in regular vehicles like a Honda Civic sometimes having a massive $20,000 markup

The F-150 Lightning is a highly anticipated all-electric pickup truck, and Ford dealerships know people want one. As a result, some dealerships have some hefty markups for the Lightning. Some Ford fans even saw a flat $30,000 markup on the Lightning. Other customers from around the country saw a $10,000 markup on the new truck. These hikes in prices could turn buyers away and put a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to Ford.

How Ford is responding to dealerships who are doing this

According to Kelley Blue Book, Ford is fully aware of these vast markups, and doesn’t seem happy with them either. After all, the company wants the Lightning to succeed, and dealerships putting massive markups on the truck may prevent it from happening. Ford’s answer to these markups was quite simple. 

In the past, automakers like Ford usually sold a lot of inventory to dealerships around the country. However, the way things work with the Lightning is a customer will have to order it from Ford directly, and then the company will send the Lightning over to a nearby dealership to complete the transaction. Unsurprisingly, Ford’s response to these markups was to threaten not delivering any Lightnings to dealerships engaging in these questionable practices.

It’s not entirely clear how much of a markup Ford thinks is reasonable for dealerships to put on the Lightning, but it’s clear that Ford isn’t OK with extremely high price hikes. According to Kelley Blue Book, it’s very likely Ford will continue working with dealerships in one form or another. Mostly due to state laws mandating automakers work with dealerships to sell a car.

Ford isn’t alone, other automakers are warning dealerships too

Another automaker aware of how much customers hate these huge markups is GM. In General Motors’ case, the problem with markups isn’t precisely for any hyped-up car, but rather for the regular cars sitting on dealership lots. However, just like Ford, GM has threatened to hit a dealership’s inventory if they engage in these types of practices.

According to Kelley Blue Book, GM has also said it won’t have huge inventories of cars lying around in the future. Ford’s actions, particularly with the Lightning, are breaking new ground in terms of the old model of selling cars.

New automakers like Tesla and Rivian have an online order-based system, and Ford is moving toward that as well. The compnay wants to do an order-first model, and that’s a first among the older automakers. GM is doing something similar for the Hummer EV, but GM hasn’t committed to doing this on many other cars.

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