Arguably the most anticipated car still to come this year, the wide release of Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E is just a couple of months away. On paper, the next Tesla Model Y competitor sits neck and neck with the current EV leader. The company that initially brought cars to the masses looks to take their throne back with a full transition into the new world of electrification and autonomous vehicles.
The age of compliance cars and meeting the bare minimum in regulations is over. Not only are electric cars profitable, but consumers are also both interested and buying. Defying all odds in the midst of a global slump, Ford’s new nemesis, Tesla, is not only turning a profit, but they’re still on track with meeting their initial 2020 delivery guidance of 500,000 vehicles. Proving the market’s potential, just about every automaker is looking to board the electrified ship.
Ford is one of the few willing to dive headfirst into the competitive space. Taking notes from Tesla, the company has changed just about their entire business model to accommodate the Mustang Mach-E. Sadly, unable to shake them loose, Ford’s dealership network continues to weigh them down.
Last year, three weeks after the unveil of the Mustang Mach-E, we put dealerships to the test. Playing the part of uninformed but interested consumers, we called 15 local dealerships. The results were… not so hot. We were stuffed full of misinformation regarding both the Mustang Mach-E and electric cars as a whole. Being told that you couldn’t charge the Mach-E at home along with an absurd amount of ridiculous statements certainly put it all into perspective. Ford and their network were clearly not ready to take on EV skeptics.
Converting customers to electric cars isn’t as easy as up-selling them into an SUV. This is the equivalent of telling consumers that a highly combustible brick is a better buy than their trusty ‘ol reliable horse. Electrification, along with autonomy, aren’t just new options, they’re the future of all automobiles.
Viewers were quick to point out the one flaw in our little experiment, it was too soon. Why would dealerships and their accompanying staff be informed on a vehicle a year away? Rather than counter, we took the criticism and decided to repeat the calls closer to the vehicle’s release. The results were… still not hot, but somewhat better.
Since the release of the original video, Ford has provided dealerships with heaps of training covering both general electrified technology and specifically the Mustang Mach-E. Ford’s internal EV certification deadline has now passed and live group training for the Mach-E has been confirmed and completed. Order books have been opened for months now and there are no more excuses left.
Due to closures and new hours, this time around we called just ten dealerships. Each of them labeled by Ford as EV certified dealerships. Knowing that every Ford dealer has a designated EV lead, we specifically asked each receptionist (or whoever answered) to be connected with whoever could answer questions regarding the vehicle. In three cases, we were unable to get a hold of who they claimed to be best informed.
We left voicemails where applicable and asked each dealership to email us more information regarding the Mach-E and our unanswered questions. We received no callbacks and no emails.
Last year’s video was edited with a comedic undertone. While we stand by it accurately representing each call, we felt it best to have the calls speak for themselves this time around. The below video showcasing seven more calls are minimally edited, rather just trimmed down.
As with last year, the issue here is not deception, but rather misinformation or lack thereof. This is not a story of crooked sales staff trying to push a vehicle they can sell today rather than tomorrow, this is a story of Ford’s lackluster attempts at educating their staff.
Ford is one of the few companies with a massive upper hand when entering the EV space. They already have thousands of nationwide dealers with hundreds of thousands of daily consumers either walking through one of their stores or browsing a dealer’s website. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, while not yet released, seems like one of the better EV’s available. It looks great, has the tech, and specs are in line with its price tag. This is a car that has everything going for it except its sales point.
If Ford wants to take the Mach-E seriously, they’ll need to expand their attempts at EV education. The Mach-E, or any EV, will not sell itself on looks. Without proper EV knowledge, sales staff will unintentionally push potential customers away. This standardized training method clearly doesn’t work, and it never has. According to our dealership sources, it’s perfectly normal for staff to bypass training and pay someone a couple of bucks to take their virtual quiz for them.
The flaw in the system is nothing new to the Mach-E, but now more than ever will it be noticed. No one is skeptical about a gasoline-powered vehicle. No one has questions regarding how they work and how to fill ‘er up. Potential EV customers, on the contrary, are lost and filled with questions. It’s not a new car, it’s a new lifestyle. Ford cannot expect this vehicle to sell like their others without providing answers to simple questions.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is set to hit dealerships in December.