Ford is manufacturing some of the hottest products on the market right now, notably the Bronco, Maverick and Mach-E. Yet, the company has made moves that could affect selling its cars or retaining its customers, for at least its EV products. The latest move is Ford Credit ending lease buyout options for owners of Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit, Cars Direct reports.
In a bulletin sent to dealers June 15, the automaker said that lease agreements in 37 states would change and explicitly say that customers don’t have the option to buy their EV at the end of the lease term. A Ford Credit spokesperson confirmed to Cars Direct that the letter is true and more states would be added to the changes at the end of Q4 of this year.
The letter also outlines Ford’s reasoning for the move. The company says that it’s all part of its longer EV battery strategy. Keeping EVs allows the company to make EVs more affordable and reach its goal of carbon neutrality, they claim. “Ford Motor Company is committed to making 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,” Ford says. “The purchase of the BEV Lease is to aid in our goal of delivering carbon neutrality by 2050 by controlling the vehicle battery through its life, keeping it in the Ford network.”
I reached out to Ford for further clarification. The company says at the end of the lease, a lessee will be able to renew their lease in a new vehicle, while Ford takes the old one off the customers hands. Customers will have the newest model ride available and Ford will have the vehicle back in their hands to keep costs down. “Ford Credit’s plan for EV leasing enables customers to replace their vehicles with the newest model at lease end while keeping the vehicle in the Ford network longer so Ford can better manage battery recycling and materials,” they told me.
If you’re looking at the big picture, it appears as if Ford is approaching its customers’ relationships with EVs like companies do with you and any of the tech you have in your home, or office, or whatever you’re reading this article from. It’s similar to a cellphone — useless after 3-4 years.
It’s certainly an interesting move by Ford, showing just how much of a tech company they automaker wants to be. Keeping old lease vehicles within the company allows Ford to be their own battery recycler, but it pairs down EV ownership to 2-3 year stints, or about as long as your iPhone might work.