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Most Dealers Reassure Ford That They Are Not Slapping Huge Up Fees On Lightnings

Ford dealers reassured the manufacturer that they are charging only the MSRP on Lightnings. The reassurance was needed following reports last week, as detailed earlier by other Torque News stories, that there were dealers taking advantage of the limited supply of the sought-after electric pickups. Reports circulated that there were up fees of $30,000 but most averaged only $5,000.
Posted: January 17, 2022 - 11:49AM
Author: Marc Stern

Sometimes you wonder about the pricing practices of car dealers. The other day, I pursued and wrote a piece for Torque News about the pricing that Ford Lightning reservation holders were reportedly finding from the dealers holding the reservations for their Ford Lightnings.

Meanwhile, Ford has laid out plans to combat price increases for Lightnings.

Also, in an interesting survey conducted by Torque News, Mustang Mach-E buyers have reported that they are paying MSRP or less, according to a survey conducted by senior reporter John Goreham.

Manufacturer Hears Reports Of Up Fees

According to information developed by Ford has heard reports of dealers charging people who have made reservations for the F-150 pickup electric truck rather large extra fees. Some dealers have reportedly been telling folks who have made reservations for the hot vehicles that they would have to pay up to $5,000 to turn their reservations into orders.

Ford has been using a reservation system where customers have reserved an electric pickup by putting up $100 for reservations. After placing the reservation, the customers could turn their reservations into hard orders.

Ford indicated that it had had a super response for the Lightning with upwards of 200,000 reservations. Overwhelmed by the response, Ford has decided to ramp up production in an attempt to meet the demand for the electric pickup. The automaker had underestimated the response for the vehicle

By and large, Ford dealers told the manufacturer that they would be taking orders for the Ford F-150 Lightning electric at or near the suggested retail price. The rationale for this was simple: if folks couldn't buy the vehicles at the advertised price, dealers would be hurting future sales of the electric.

Some Dealers Are Slapping Big Up Fees On Lightnings

However, even though most dealers say that they would be selling the electric pickup for the suggested retail price, there are indications that other dealers would be slapping on added fees. According to, there were reports of dealers placing as much as $5,000 or more on the highly sought-after vehicles. Dealers informed buyers with reservations that there would be additional fees on those reservations.

At least one report last week noted a dealer in the Southeast that nailed on a price hike of a high of $30,000. The rationale for this report was that the significant upfront fee would guarantee buyers would be among the first to receive the pickup.

As noted, Ford has been trying to head off the added fees. However, the automaker has little influence over its dealers thanks to the franchising rules under which the automaker operates. Basically, dealers can do pretty much whatever they want to do. The factory has little control, but it doesn't mean that Ford hasn't tried to influence dealers. Ford did publish a post about dealers taking advantage of the supply situation with Lightnings and jacking up prices. The automaker did pull down the posting.

So, What Should You Do If A Dealer Raises The Price?

So, what should you do if you find the price on your reservation suddenly jumps just as you are about to place your order? Or, if the dealer tells you that you have to pay an extra $5,000 or $30,000 before they submit the order? Here's a simple answer: go to another dealer and talk with them about the vehicle – we assume it's a Lightning – before you place your order. Wait until your order is confirmed at the second dealership before you cancel your reservation at the first.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.