Industry vet Jim Ziegler discusses Jim Farley’s plan to sell EVs online only

Some dealers and dealer advocates are saying that the franchise model is under attack. The latest concern is surrounding Ford CEO Jim Farley’s recent statements regarding future OEM operations. Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome back Jim Ziegler, automotive retail veteran, speaker, and president of Ziegler SuperSystems, to share his perspective on Farley’s comments and whether dealers around the country should be concerned.

Ziegler that while he doesn’t necessarily have a dog in this fight, he has been a dealer advocate for decades and says that Farley’s vision for the future of Ford likely won’t work. Tesla has paved the way for the manufacturers to potentially circumvent state franchise laws when it comes to electric vehicles. And Ziegler has heard from some of his industry contacts that Ford will probably end up reducing its dealer count altogether.

Farley is getting the majority of attention and criticism when it comes to direct sales because he is very focal and out in front, Ziegler says. However, OEMs like Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz are already in talks to restructure their European dealer networks. Ziegler believes that the companies fully intend to bring that model to the United States. In contrast, Toyota, Kia, and Nissan are not rushing the electric transition. Nissan announced recently that it is targeting 40% EVs by 2030, which Ziegler thinks is much more realistic. Tesla, on the other hand, started with a clean slate and no dealer body, Ziegler says.

He doesn’t believe that Ford can maintain a built-to-order production pace for its vehicles. Some consumers are waiting two years for a Ford Bronco EV. However, down the road, customers are not going to wait that long for a vehicle especially if there is another brand with a comparable vehicle.

For more great insight from Jim Ziegler, watch our entire interview above.

Did you enjoy this interview with Jim Ziegler? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok to stay up to date.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.