Ford eliminates end-of-lease purchase option for electric vehicles

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Ford appears to have designated June as Customer Rights Realignment Month. A few days ago, it became known that dealers could insert language into the sales contract for the F-150 Lightning prohibiting buyers from selling the electric pickup for a year after purchase. Dealers wouldn’t need to, but they could. On the rental side, Direct Cars discovered a letter sent by Ford to dealers eliminating the end-of-lease purchase option for the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit minivans. In the clearest possible language, Ford’s new ban tells lessees, “you do not have the option of purchasing the vehicle at the end of the lease term.” The change went into effect June 15 in 37 states and will be enacted in the remaining 14 states plus the District of Columbia by the last quarter of this year.

The automaker is touting the change as a step towards its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 and an industry-wide effort to lower the MSRPs of electric vehicles. The letter explained to dealers: “The purchase of the BEV Lease is to contribute to our goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 by controlling the vehicle battery throughout its life, keeping it in the Ford network” and “Ford Motor Company is committed to making battery electric vehicles (BEVs) more sustainable and affordable for our customers by localizing the chain’s complex network battery supply chain, creating recycling options for end-of-life vehicles and increasing battery production in the United States. »

Call us cynical, but that seems like justifications invoked to obscure the real rationale when the lease change was inevitably made public. Ford isn’t the only automaker to restrict leasing options. Last year, GM and Honda began requiring that if lessees wanted to sell their vehicles, they had to sell them back to the automaker at the price stated in the lease, and this year Tesla removed its buyout option in April. . The only green justifications provided by one of these automakers were for greenbacks and the Excel spreadsheet logo for the software used by CFOs to track said greenbacks.

Auto dealerships and manufacturers have seen consumers take home wads of cash thanks to established residual values, in some cases long before anyone heard the word “Covid”. On top of that, dealerships are watching potential inventory go to the highest bidder at the same time they struggle to park units for sale in front. By eliminating the purchase option at the end of the lease, two birds kill two birds with one stone. If dealers and the inventory situation show positive feedback from the move, we won’t be surprised if more models are included in the ban.

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