DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is asking its dealers to implement some of the most significant changes to their business in decades as it works to modernize its retail strategy and beat back threats from Tesla and electric vehicle startups that have championed direct-to-consumer sales.
Ford this week revealed plans to split its business into separate divisions: Ford Blue for internal combustion vehicles and Ford Model e for EVs. While long-standing franchise agreements ensure the structure of its retail network must stay intact, Ford wants to craft a new set of operating standards for EV sales that would combine the most popular aspects of direct-sale startups with the expertise its dealers have developed over more than a century.
The automaker plans to create the blueprint in tandem with dealers and won't finalize details until after they provide input over the next few months. But executives have outlined some of what they want to include: a commitment to carrying no inventory, selling at nonnegotiable prices and operating with scaled-down facilities.