No Ford Buyers Allowed: To Seize the Future, Lincoln Needs Fancy Stores and Personal Space

no ford buyers allowed to seize the future lincoln needs fancy stores and personal

The product pipeline is already in place, but what about the dealerships? That’s where Lincoln Motor Company’s focus now lies, as it begins rolling out a plan that will see standalone Lincoln dealerships pop up in 30 high-volume markets.

As the premium brand attempts to shuffle off sliding sales with a utility vehicle onslaught, the brand wants those high-rising vehicles shown off on well-lit runways encased in glass cubes. Lincoln calls this design “Vitrine.” It’s not just important to the brand — it’s “critical.”

That’s what Robert Parker, Lincoln’s director of marketing, sales and service, told Automotive News. The initiative targets 150 Lincoln dealers in 30 key markets, responsible for 70 percent of the brand’s sales.

Many dual Ford-Lincoln dealers, roughly half of the 150, didn’t wait for the go order, deciding to get a headstart on their own separate stores, but Lincoln wants to ensure those who haven’t already get with the program. Customer surveys reveal luxury buyers don’t like rubbing shoulders with lesser vehicles — and perhaps their buyers — while shopping.

Perish the thought…

“Customers expect the environment to be equal to the product,” said Parker. “They want to buy a luxury product in a luxury environment.”

Lincoln’s plan is to incentivize the decision to go standalone. It hopes the remaining 78 dealers in those 30 markets decide by next July whether to get on board with Lincoln’s wishes, with the standalone stores up and running no later than July 2021. To do this, the automaker plans to hand over more cash for each vehicle sold, but there’ll also be a product element. Non-standalone Lincoln dealers won’t be allowed to sell glitzy, highly profitably Black Label models starting in the second quarter of next year, but only if they don’t sell them already.

Keeping a dual-store format means kissing those bonuses goodbye.

After coming back from near death, Lincoln’s U.S. sales fell 10.8 percent over the first seven months of 2018, with July providing its own 11-percent year-over-year drop. The only Lincoln vehicle with positive year-to-date growth is the Navigator, though the compact MKC saw a July increase.

Next year sees the (re)introduction of the Aviator nameplate, as well as the shedding of non-resonating alphanumeric model names. The MKX becomes the Nautilus, while the MKC appears ready to adopt the Corsair moniker when the second-generation model appears. Both models undergo Continental-esque grille swaps for 2019.

“The next phase of the transformation is critical,” said Parker. “This is probably the biggest two years in Lincoln’s history.”

[Images: Lincoln]

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2 of 79 comments
  • Lie2me Lie2me on Aug 13, 2018

    Those Lincolns at the top of the page are the best looking Lincolns since the early 60s Continentals... Just sayin'

  • Akear Akear on Aug 14, 2018

    Lincoln should be building funeral homes instead of dealerships. Musk is right Ford is a morgue. The Hatchet man is steering Ford into the iceberg.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.