The domestic dealership contracts were forged at a time when the competitive landscape was exactly that, much more competitive. Consequently, in general, dealers of domestic cars have much independence and control over what they do with regard to selling American cars, than do dealers of Foreign cars.
It is therefore not very likely that Ford will be offering any sort of reservation system akin to what Nissan did with the Leaf. Which means you will have to deal with your Friendly Ford dealer. Picture a toothy cigarette and coffee stained smile to complete this picture. :D Just kidding, it is a well known fact that the oral hygiene of car saleshumans is exceptional.
Step 1. You are going to pay MSRP for the Ford Focus Electric, there will be no incentives, rebates or even a free coffee mug. Most dealers will try to get you to pay over MSRP. No one will admit to paying over MSRP, just like no one loses money in the stock market if you are to judge by what people say at dinner parties. And despite the 3 billion they made on African cell phone companies they keep going to work everyday, amazing. But guess what they do lose money on the stock market and they do pay over MSRP, call it their secret shame.
Step 2. Find a dealer who has allocation. Not all dealers will get allocation. Not all dealers who get allocation will get the same amount. We only have 19 launch markets. You must find a dealer who has actual allocation.
For information about Fordís order allocation and scheduling look at this post.
http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f61/ ... ion-19747/
Note that according to this post, the smaller dealers are more likely to actually get their allocation, because they have less orders. But elsewhere this situation is reversed. Also, factoring into the equation is the dealerís history selling that particular type of car.
Now youíre thinking, no one has a history selling the Ford Focus Electric. This is true. But the Ford Focus has been around for a whileÖ hasnít it? Hmmm.
Step 3. Do not, for any reason, ever walk into a dealership to inquire about a car, without a signed buyerís order in your hand. OK if you have a very good existing relationship with a salesman (i.e. it is a child who owes you money and lives in fear of you), go for it. Otherwise, get comfortable with notion of letting your fingers do the walking. You want to stay nice and pleasant through the car buying negotiating process. This is much easier to do at home, in your fav bath robe and slippers.
Saleshumans are very good at coercing you once you cross the threshold of the door to the dealerís showroom. They have been trained for this very purpose. Foolish human, your negotiating skills are no match for them, donít kid yourself. Within the confines of the showroom their powers are very strong. Over the phone their powers are very weak. Seriously, you can have the whole thing ironed out before you even step into a dealerís showroom.
Tomorrow... the conclusion.