Betting the Farm . . .

  • July 14, 2023

If you’d like to buy a new Dodge Challenger Black Ghost, you probably won’t be able to. All of them have already been sold. On the other hand, if you’d like to buy a new Mach-E “Mustang” EV – the latter in air fingers quotes to mock the absurdity of naming battery-powered five-door crossover a Mustang – you will have your pick.

There are reportedly at least 9,092 examples sitting on Ford dealer lots all around the country. More than half of these – 61.5 percent – have been sitting there for more than a month, which is a long time for a new vehicle of any kind to just sit – on account of the loan. The one taken out by the dealer to buy the thing from the manufacturer. Each month the new car sits costs the dealer more, eroding whatever profit the dealer ends up making when the car finally does sell.

If it ever sells. 

What if they never do?

Ford has a huge problem on its hands. Or rather, Ford dealers have a huge problem on their hands. 9,000-plus unsold Mach-E “Mustangs” is a lot of unsold “Mustangs.” A lot of potential loss, for Ford dealers – and Ford, too.

It is already not far from fall – and the 2024 model year. The 2024 calendar year is a little more than five months away. That is precisely how much time Ford dealers have to clear out the inventory of ’23 Mach-E “Mustangs” before they become last year’s models – and will have to be sold at fire-sale prices.

If they can be sold, at all.

In the meanwhile, Ford continues to build more of these things for which there is obviously little, if any, demand. It is a near-certainty, then, that there will be even more of them collecting dust at Ford dealers around the country – assuming the dealers continue to accept new stock of a model they are having trouble selling. And which they must keep plugged in while they’re not selling – so as to avoid their batteries discharging. Add that to the cost of keeping in stock that which isn’t selling.

Ford could just park what it builds and  – fingers crossed – hope the glut will clear.

It probably won’t – because it probably can’t. It has committed to “electrification” and backing off now would be to admit “electrification” might not be the “future” after all. After all of this EV tub-thumping, it is damned difficult to admit the enthusiasm has been perhaps a bit premature and overwrought. As well as dangerous.

Shades of “safe and effective.”

And it’s not just the Mach-E “Mustang” that’s not selling. Neither is the Lightning, the EV version of Ford’s hot-selling F-150 half-ton truck. Maybe because the Lightning is a three-ton truck (almost a ton of its weight being the battery that powers it) that has gone from starting around $40,000 to starting around $60,000 over the course of the past 12 months. One that also has half the driving range of the non-electric F-150 and that forces its owner to spend a lot of time thinking about charging – and waiting for one.

Other EVs aren’t selling, either – and for similar reasons.

Genesis – Hyundai’s luxury division – has reportedly sold fewer than 20 examples of the electric G80 sedan during the 30 day period prior to the end of last month. Perhaps because it costs almost $80,000 to start (which is about $30,000 more to start than the non-electric version of the same thing) and because it only goes about half as far (282 miles on a full charge vs. the non-electric’s 550 miles of highway driving range).

It’s similarly slow at Audi stores, where you’ll have your pick of Q4 and Q8 e-trons – ay color you like! – because there’s more than a three-months’ worth stacked-up supply of them.

Other EVs that are abundant include the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq.

Ricardo Montalban was able to sell Chrysler Cordobas back in the ’70s. People laughed about the “fine Corinthian leather” – whatever that was. Regardless, people bought lots of Cordobas.

Brie Larsen has not been as successful selling Ariyas.

There’s a glut of these on Nissan lots all over the country, too.

The only EVs that seem to be finding homes are Teslas. But that is due to Tesla discounting the prices of its EVs, which is to say, subsidizing the sale of them. Which it can afford to do – being flush with the money it extorted from the “legacy” automakers over the past 15 years via the odious but-not well-known mechanism of using the government – via “zero emissions” mandates – to subsidize Tesla’s building of EVs. Tesla would “sell” so-called “carbon credits” to the “legacy” car companies that – until recently – did not build any or very many EVs, which the government accepted as “payment” for not having met the EV production/sales quotas imposed by the government.

Tesla also benefits from boomtown stock valuation – which is predicated on the government forcing everyone to buy an EV.

But how deep are Tesla’s pockets? Pretty deep. But that is beside the point, which is that EVs are only “selling” when people are paid to buy them, whether via discounts from the manufacturer or “rebates” from the government.

Off-the-record, an East Coast Ford dealer says “Ford’s current production rate (of the Mach-E) was out-of-step with customer demand . . . I think Ford’s got a real problem on their hands based on the bets they’ve made.”

Italics added – because it’s not such much a “bet” as it is obeisance.

We are in the midst of another mass-psychosis. This time, it’s not “mask” wearing to “stop the spread.” But it amounts to the same thing, expressed vehicularly. People have been hectored into believing the “climate” is in “crisis” and the only way to stave off this “crisis” is by buying an EV. The car industry pretends to believe, too.

The problem is most people can’t afford one – the average price of a new EV is around $50,000 – and they still have alternatives to them.

The “bet” Ford – and the rest – have made lies in their assumption these alternatives will be somehow done-away with, as by outright bans on the use of non-EVs or via making it so costly to drive one that most won’t be able to afford to.

But that will not make EVs more affordable.

It will merely make vehicles unaffordable.

Which is, of course, the actual goal of “electrifying” vehicles.

. . .

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