Ford doesn’t want the F-150 Lightning’s launch to be plagued by scalpers
Ford is fighting to keep the 2022 F-150 Lightning from being scalped — the company has sent a notice offering to help dealers prevent 2022 F-150 Lightning buyers from reselling their trucks, according to a report from CNET. If a dealer chooses to add a no-sale provision provided by Ford to its contracts, the buyer will have to agree to “not sell, offer to sell or otherwise transfer ownership interest in the Vehicle prior to the first anniversary of the date hereof.” The notice also warns dealers against trying to raise the prices of the trucks themselves.
While the move could help stop people trying to turn their reservation for the electric pickup into a payday, some have criticized the move as Ford trying to control what people do with their property. The Lightning, though, is releasing at a time when cars can be hard to get a hold of — the value of used cars has been skyrocketing as auto manufacturers struggle to keep up with the demand for new vehicles. Some dealers have even been adding their own markups, with potential buyers reporting tens of thousands of dollars in extra fees.
Here’s a story. I was originally going to get a @MercedesBenzUSA EQS 580. Even had one reserved and ready for pickup. The dealer called to inform me there was a $50k (not a typo) markup on the car. I passed. Infer what you will about the dealer model protecting consumers. https://t.co/XIbzdzB5CX
— Jon Rettinger (@Jon4Lakers) December 29, 2021
CNET and Teslarati note that Ford’s message to dealerships also warns dealers that they might not receive any Lightnings in 2022 if they ask customers for extra deposits or payments, which the memo says is seen as “threatening customers by withholding their opportunity to convert reservations to orders.”
Ford’s not being as strict with its customers — whether they have to agree to the no-sale provision is up to the dealer. A Ford spokesperson told CNET that the “requirement is between a dealer and their customer,” and said that it was the dealer’s choice whether to include the provision if it’s legally allowed in their state. In a screenshot (originally posted on the F150 Gen14 forum) reporting to show the message sent to dealers, it is clear that it’s optional — but it also says that Ford is “offering support” for the provision.
Ford’s upcoming electric pickup seems to be hotly anticipated — the company said that around 200,000 people had put down $100 deposits for it between May and December 2021. The company has also stopped taking reservations for the truck, which is meant to start shipping in the first half of this year. Ford recently announced that it’s aiming to make 150,000 F-150 Lightnings by mid-2023.
Scalping has been a major frustration for consumers, as manufacturers like Ford, GM, Sony, and others have wrangled with production slowdowns caused by the ongoing chip shortage. Some retailers have tried to slow down resellers by only making stock available to paid subscribers, but it’s still difficult to get your hands on gaming tech like the PS5, Xbox Series X, or graphics cards (unless you’re willing to pay scalpers’ exorbitant prices).
It’s possible that demand for Ford’s EV could remain high throughout the next year, due to scarce competition. The electric Silverado announced at CES this year isn’t set to start production until spring 2023 (and Chevy says the first trucks to roll off the line will be its $105,000 RST First Edition). Rivian, which is still working through its pre-orders, recently announced that models with the expanded battery were delayed until 2023, and Tesla’s Cybertruck still doesn’t have a solid release date (though it was recently spotted on a test track).