Ford is restricting the flexibility customers are used to having with their vehicles, most recently sending a letter to dealers to inform customers they do not have an option to buy the F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E or E-Transit at the end of their lease.
The move comes days after the company told dealers they could put language in the sales agreement of F-150 Lightnings preventing the buyer from selling it in less than a year after purchasing the all-electric pickup truck.
The company, which currently cut the option in 37 states, but intend to expand it to the remainder later this year, contends it has only the best of intentions when it comes to eliminating the clause allowing customers to buy a vehicle at the end of the lease term: the environment.
According to Cars Direct, the company told dealers in the letter the goal was to make “Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) more sustainable and affordable for our customers by localizing the complex battery supply chain network, creating recycling options for end-of-life vehicles, and increasing U.S. battery production.”
By retaining control of the vehicle, the company can keep control of the battery, allowing it to be reused for different purposes, and helping Ford become carbon neutral by 2050.
Ford has company
Ford isn’t alone in doing this, Tesla eliminated the option to buy after lease, but for a different reason. CEO Elon Musk saying in a conference call that he hoped the company would be able to create a fleet of its own self-driving taxis with the returned vehicles. Thus far, there’s been no public announcement about the idea as Full Self-Driving remains in beta test phase.
Earlier this year, many people were selling their lease vehicles before turning them in. Prices on used vehicles were often higher than the payoff amount on the lease, making it very lucrative for the owners to sell their vehicle instead of turning it.
General Motors and Honda quickly nipped that in the bud, requiring leasees to sell the vehicle back to the company and at the payoff amount. Given the price some people are paying for in-demand — and especially all-new offerings, like the F-150 Lightning — it’s not a shock that Ford is looking to ensure it’s not leaving money on the table, in a manner of speaking.
No cash for you!
The news of the end of the buy option at the end of the lease comes just days after it was revealed Ford was giving dealers the option to put restrictions buyers of the new all-electric F-150 Lightning.
The automaker offered dealers, who the company said wanted the ability to do so, language to insert in purchase agreements restricting their ability to sell the in-demand electric pickup, reported Carscoops.com.
“Purchaser hereby agrees that it will not sell, offer to sell, or otherwise transfer any ownership interest in the Vehicle prior to the first anniversary of the date hereof. Purchaser further agrees that Seller may seek injunctive relief to prevent the transfer of the title of the Vehicle or demand payment from Purchase of all value received as consideration for the sale or transfer,” reads the language the company created just for this purpose.
The company needed to do something after the company, primarily CEO Jim Farley, warned dealers about excessive mark ups on high-demand new vehicles, suggesting the company would reduce or eliminate a dealer’s allotment of vehicles in some cases.
Ford also used to restrict the ability of new Ford GT buyers to resell their vehicles before a certain time passed. Famous wrestler/actor John Cena was caught in the crossfire of this issue in 2017. Ford sued him and the two sides settled out of court in 2018.