US dealers ask $10.000 up to $50.000 markup for ‘hot’ EVs
Guess what? You’re among the first to ‘reserve’ on an exiting fully electric Ford F150 Lightning pickup after paying a $100 deposit, and suddenly the dealer asks you to pay a $30 000 markup on top of the list price if you want to be among the 25 first customers to get it. More, even if you don’t want to be on the priority list, you’ll have to pay $10 000 more to get one at all.
It happens in America, especially in the booming electric car business, where demand is high and manufacturers can’t follow. Dealerships in many American states are protected by law and set prices independently within the ‘territory’ where they have the exclusive right to sell new cars. And some of them smell money.
200 000 preorders
Days before Ford will open actual ordering in January for its F150 Lightning, it has over 200 000 preorders already. Ford announced in August it would build 15 000 of them next year, starting in Spring, and later said to invest $250 million in expanding its production line.
According to Jim Farley, Ford’s new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, was expected to produce 80 000 units of the F-150 Lightning pickup per year in 2024 (up from 40 000 previously).
While Ford is apparently optimistic about having enough batteries for the significant production expansion of the Mustang Mach-E (the cells are made by LGES in Poland), battery shortage was the reason for the temporary reservation freeze on the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup.
So even when you’re on the reservation list, chances are you’ll have to wait for two or three years. And that’s an opportunity for some to make an extra buck. A Ford dealer in Falls Church, Virginia, sent his customers who already paid a refundable $100 to be on the list for an F150 Lightning an email:
“If you would like to be one of the first 25 orders, there will be a $30 000 market adjustment. All other orders will have a $10 000 market adjustment to the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price).”
“We will not be honoring any plan pricing at this time. The additional deposit required is $5 000 and will go towards the purchase of your vehicle. If you choose to cancel or not proceed with your order, the deposit will be forfeited.”
Little to nothing automakers can do
In other words, customers have to make a non-refundable deposit of five grand if they still want to remain on the waiting list and will have to pay at least $10 000 extra for a pickup that starts at a list price of $39 974 for the entry-level up to $90 474 for the top version. And an extra $20 000 if you want to be among the first 25 to get it.
And apparently, there’s little to nothing automakers can do to prevent this from happening. Legally, they can’t intervene in the dealer setting his price. And this is not happening at Ford dealerships alone. On the popular social channel Reddit, a user group of EV-enthusiasts even keeps a list called the ‘EV Dealer Markup Tracker‘.
There you can see it’s not unusual for brand dealers to ask a markup for people wanting to get a popular EV as soon as possible. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is well represented in the list with markups from 5 to 10 000 dollars. But it also can be for a Kia EV6, a Volvo XC40 Recharge, or a Nissan Leaf. Volkswagen dealers so far seem to ask no premium for the ID.4.
$50 000 markup on Mercedes EQS
One remarkable example on the other side of the price spectrum is that of a famous YouTube influencer Jon Rettinger, who ordered a Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic, a car with a list price starting at $119 110 in the US. On Twitter, he complained about his Mercedes dealer notifying him that there would be a $50 000 markup on the MSRP.
Taking the matter up to Mercedes-Benz USA, the latter replied, “afraid there’s not much we from the Corporate side can do here. Pricing is completely up to the dealer, and we are legally not allowed to intervene. There’s extremely limited supply initially. We are certainly not endorsing this premium but not up to us.”
The importer’s message ends with, “I certainly believe the car is worth it.” Rettinger refused and ordered himself a Lucid Air instead.