It can be difficult to sell to consumers directly, Rivian discovered. And where are customers supposed to receive their new Ford vehicles—and service—if they don’t have a dealership? Sure, there are independent stores, but people are just as suspicious of these as the dealers.
It’s a dilemma that Ford doesn’t have an answer to yet. It’s also a landscape that’s still crumbling, and new laws will likely be passed to ensure protections for both buyer and seller. Who is to say that the build-to-order model doesn’t go away once the supply chain is stable and people feel safe going to dealerships again?
One thing is for sure: How Ford chooses to approach customer experience over the next few years has the potential to shape the entire auto industry into the future.