The company believes the move is necessary to be competitive in the EV segment.
Ford has reportedly imposed new guidelines for dealers who plan to sell the Mustang Mach-E, barring any advertisements that show a price below MSRP.
The bulletin claims the new policy aims to make the Mach-E "competitive in the battery electric vehicle space by transacting in the way customers want to transact," as quoted by CarsDirect. The vague explanation leaves room for interpretation, however.
Tesla has claimed its non-negotiable pricing is superior to the bait-and-switch tricks and frustrating haggling encountered at traditional franchise dealers, though the California-based automaker has been criticized for constantly changing its pricing structure. The company also sells certain configurations only "off menu" and its website initially presents a misleadingly low price that includes not only the federal incentive but also an estimate of fuel savings. For the Model 3, the difference between the presented price and the actual cost is more than $8,000.
Ford's policy is not exactly a strict rule; dealers can still advertise below MSRP but will lose out on certain financial allowances reserved for those that follow the guidelines. Dealers are also not prohibited from actually selling the vehicles below MSRP, despite the advertising restrictions, so there is still opportunity for on-site haggling.
It is possible the Blue Oval also wants to avoid giving the impression of weakness as it enters the EV segment. In some cases, steep discounts are interpreted as evidence that vehicles are overstocked and struggling to sell.
Ford has reportedly limited first-year production to just 50,000 units, allegedly due to battery supply constraints. The company has apparently sold out of the First Edition but is still accepting deposits for other configurations that show availability in late 2020 and early 2021, suggesting reservations placed in the weeks since the November 17 debut have yet to reach the 50,000 mark.