Ford Dealers do not trust The Blue Oval: Report

Written by:
Brett Foote
November 6, 2023

While the majority of Ford and Lincoln dealers in the U.S. ultimately opted into the top-tier Model e Certified Elite program when given a choice between that, the lesser tier, and not having the ability to sell all-electric vehicles in the future, this decision on The Blue Oval’s part hasn’t developed without its fair share of controversy. In fact, some Ford dealers took legal action against the automaker questioning Model e Certified’s legality, spurring some changes to the program that allowed a handful to drop out after initially committing to it. As it turns out, the Model e Certified program has left a bit of a lingering bad taste in the mouths of some Ford dealers, who aren’t quite as trusting of the company as they used to be, according to a new survey recently highlighted by Automotive News.

The 2023 Kerrigan Dealer Survey was conducted by Kerrigan Advisors, who polled 650 anonymous dealerships between June and October, seeking to determine which ones are the most and least trusting of their respective automotive brands. In that regard, Ford ranked at the very bottom as nearly half – 48 percent – of its dealers said that they don’t trust the automaker. These results are “consistent with the expectation of a decline in future Ford franchise profitability due to the OEM’s EV/future retailing strategy.” Kerrigan noted.

The most trusted brand in this year’s Kerrigan Dealer Survey was Toyota – which 72 percent of dealers say is trustworthy – followed by Lexus (56 percent), Subaru (55 percent), Honda (36 percent), and Porsche (31 percent). On the flip side, the least trusted brands based on dealer feedback are Ford at the aforementioned 48 percent, followed by Nissan (43 percent), Lincoln (40 percent), Stellantis’ Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Chrysler conglomerate at 39 percent, and Infiniti (37 percent).

In response to this survey, Ford released a statement noting that its dealers are “important strategic partners and we are always listening and making adjustments. Working with our dealers, we have made recent beneficial changes to address dealer feedback and improve franchise value.”

We’ll have more on the Model e Certified program soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

About Kerrigan Advisors

Kerrigan Advisors is the premier sell-side advisor and thought partner to auto dealers nationwide. The firm advises the industry's leading dealership groups, enhancing value through the lifecycle of growing, operating and, when the time is right, selling their businesses. Kerrigan Advisors has represented some of auto retail's largest transactions and advised more of the largest dealership groups in the US than any other buy/sell firm in the industry. Led by a team of veteran industry experts with backgrounds in investment banking, private equity, accounting, finance and real estate, the firm does not take listings, rather they develop a customized approach for each client to achieve their personal and financial goals. In addition to Kerrigan Advisors' sell-side advisory and capital raising services, the firm also provides a suite of consulting services including growth strategy, market valuation assessments, capital allocation, transactional due diligence, open point proposals, operational improvement and real estate due diligence.

Kerrigan Advisors monitors conditions in the buy/sell market and publishes an in-depth analysis each quarter in The Blue Sky Report®, which includes Kerrigan Advisors' signature blue sky charts, multiples, and analysis for each franchise in the luxury and non-luxury segments.—To download a preview of the report, click here.—The firm also releases monthly The Kerrigan Index™ composed of the seven publicly traded auto retail companies with operations focused on the US market. The Kerrigan Auto Retail Index is designed to track dealership valuation trends, while also providing key insights into factors influencing auto retail.—To access The Kerrigan Index™, click here.—To read the—2023 Kerrigan OEM Survey, click here.—Kerrigan Advisors also is the co-author of NADA's Guide to Buying and Selling a Dealership.

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