Still, this new data presents an interesting problem. Dealers are still necessary in the United States for legal and logistical reasons.
It can be tough to sell straight to consumers, as Rivian has found out. And where exactly are customers supposed to take delivery of – and service – their new Ford cars if not at a dealer? Sure, there are independent shops, but folks are justifiably just as suspicious of those as they are of dealers.
It’s a conundrum Ford doesn’t quite have an answer for yet. It’s also a landscape that’s still unraveling, and new laws will likely have to be passed to ensure protection for both the buyer and seller. Who’s to say the build-to-order model doesn’t fade away once the supply chain stabilizes and people feel safe going to dealerships again?
One thing is for sure: how Ford chooses to handle the customer experience over the next few years has the potential to shape the entire automotive industry in the future.