Ford could fine dealers $25,000 for selling F-150 Lightning 'mannequins' too soon

Demo trucks are meant for test drives

Ford is hoping its dealers sell a lot of the electric F-150 Lightning pickups that are on the way to their showrooms now, but not all of them.

Pricing for the F-150 Lightning starts around $40,000.  (Ford)

The automaker has set up a special program that gives stores that opt in early access to F-150 Lightning demo trucks, or "mannequins" as they are referred to in the business, to use for test drives and to help promote the milestone model.

According to a notice sent to dealers that was posted to the F150 Lightning Forums website, the program includes increasing incentive payments for keeping the vehicles in service for up to six months and one big disincentive if they decide to sell it before then.

The F-150 Lightning can be used as a home power backup system. (Ford)

Dealers who choose to do so and can't replace the truck with another demo within 90 days face a $25,000 penalty, forfeiture of all incentives related to the vehicle and exclusion from future mannequin programs.

Ford is aware of the high demand for the model, for which it received over 200,000 reservations, but won't be able to build nearly that many for well over a year, and is concerned about dealers selling them with major markups.

Ford CEO Jim Farley

Ford CEO Jim Farley has warned dealers about adding "unreasonable markups" to vehicles. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The automaker earlier this year warned dealers they could lose their allocations if they were caught charging customers excessive fees on F-150 Lightning sales and CEO Jim Farley said it was keeping an eye on outlets that added "unreasonable markups" to all of its vehicles during the current supply crunch and planning to deal with the issue.


The F-150 Lightning starts around $40,000, but top trims go for over $93,000 and some dealers have already been listing them for $130,000 and more.

Ford hasn't said exactly how many F-150 Lightnings it expects to deliver this year, but is aiming to be producing the trucks at a rate of 150,000 annually by the middle of 2023.

Ford has not yet responded to a request for more information on the mannequin program.