Ford targets Tesla owners with $1,500 EV 'conquest' rebate


Ford (F) is targeting one automaker in particular when it comes to boosting EV sales — Tesla (TSLA).

As first noted by (via Ford Authority), Ford sent out an incentive bulletin to its dealers offering a $1,500 rebate specifically for Tesla owners who purchase an F-150 Lightning.

A Ford dealer source confirmed the Lightning incentive and noted that the $1,500 incentive applies to the Mustang Mach-E SUV as well. The source said prospective buyers don’t have to trade in their Tesla EV, only that they have to prove ownership of a Tesla vehicle.

Dubbed “Tesla Competitive Conquest Bonus Cash,” the fine print notes that prospective buyers must currently own or lease a 2008 or newer Tesla to qualify for the incentive, which runs through July 8 for both 2024 and 2023 model years.

Ford and Tesla shares are both trading slightly lower in midday trade, but Rivian shares are tumbling on concern that Ford’s new incentive may boost Lightning sales at the expense of Rivian’s R1Tpickup. The EV landscape in the US has been hit with demand concerns in recent months, with sales growth slowing in Q1 to 3.3%, far below the 47% growth seen last year.

Ford’s incentive is somewhat unusual since manufacturers rarely target specific automakers when offering rebates; typically a “conquest” incentive targets owners of a particular type of vehicle (pickup trucks or EVs) or a vehicle segment (luxury brands).

When combined with other Ford incentives, the discounts add up. Currently, Ford is offering $7,500 in bonus cash for 2023 Lightnings in XLT extended battery trim, $5,000 in bonus cash for the 2023 Lightning Lariat, and $12,500 for range-topping Platinum models.

Though Ford hasn’t announced 2024 pricing yet, reports suggest Ford has cut prices for the F-150 Lightning by up to $5,500 on those newer models, depending on the trim level. Ford will lower the upcoming mid-range “Flash” trim by $5,500 and will have smaller cuts for the existing Lariat ($2,500) and XLT ($2,000). Prices for the Pro and Platinum trims remain unchanged, however.

Ford’s popular Mustang Mach-E, coming off strong sales in Q1, starts at just under $40,000 for the base model and goes up to $60K for the Mach-E Rally edition. Additional incentives like Tesla conquest cash give it a leg up against Tesla’s own vehicles (starting at $44,990), as well as Volkswagen’s ID.4 ($39,735) and the competitively priced Hyundai Ioniq 5 ($41,800).

Ford recently announced big changes were coming to its future EV plans. Last week Ford said it was pushing back EV production at its massive BlueOval City EV campus in Tennessee to 2026 from its initial 2025 start date. Ford also revealed it was “retiming” the launch of upcoming EVs at its plant in Oakville, Ontario, where it plans to build next-generation three-row EVs, most likely a full-size SUV. The company aims to launch those vehicles in 2027, pushing back the original 2025 timeline.

Investors and Wall Street analysts will be looking for more color on EV demand and the effect of price cuts when Ford reports Q1 results after the bell on Wednesday, April 24.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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