By on September 30, 2019

Perhaps fearful that Lincoln buyers, like most new car purchasers, will take home a new vehicle and spend the remainder of their warranty period interacting with the dealer only when absolutely necessary, Lincoln Motor Company has a plan.

Rewards.

Announced late last week, Lincoln Access Rewards is a customer loyalty program that encourages owners to spend more to get more. More points, that is — redeemable for a number of things, some of them frivolous, but in keeping with the Lincoln lifestyle.

“Lincoln Access Rewards offers clients who purchase or lease a new Lincoln vehicle opportunities to earn points that can be redeemed for future new vehicles, dealer services or unique experiences,” the automaker stated. “It also offers clients increased flexibility in terms of where and how their points can be redeemed.”

Tell us more about those unique experiences, Lincoln.

“Each tier of the program – Standard, Reserve and Black Label – will offer the ability to earn points toward personalized client experiences, which include exclusive opportunities that leverage Lincoln’s network of hospitality collaborations.”

It seems that a cheap stay in a nicely decorated suite could be among the niceties accessed by Lincoln Access Rewards holders, though Lincoln also says the points can be redeemed for maintenance and a host of other services. Among those services is the brand’s Pickup and Delivery convenience.

Points are collected by ordering services via the Lincoln Way app. Owners can choose to bank those points to climb the rewards ladder and gain access to “higher level experiences.” Buy a 2020 Lincoln, and the company starts you off with a pile of complimentary points.

Dealers and the automakers behind them are facing leaner times as costs rise and new vehicle sales cool. While offering rewards points could entice owners to visit the dealer more often, time will tell if the gambit pays off. Regardless, the move is in keeping with Ford’s efforts to make Lincoln customers feel special, right down to its plan to field standalone stores in key markets.

[Image: Lincoln Motor Company]

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37 Comments on “Lincoln to Owners: Get Busy Spending...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    Spending $90k on a Lincoln isn’t enough?

    If Lincoln dealers provided a truly upscale, high-end experience for its customers, perhaps this concept could have some legs. From what I understand however, most Lincoln dealerships are simply a Ford dealership with nicer carpet. Same sharks taking ups on Saturday afternoon, same obnoxious F&I closer, same bad-breath service writers who won’t offer free loaners. As such, this program will not move the needle.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Out of curiosity, have you checked out a Lincoln dealer lately? The ones in my area aren’t quite as nice as, say, a Lexus store, but neither of them share any space (or personnel) with Ford, and both facilities look fairly “bougie.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      So…

      US Median Income 1998: $38,885
      MSRP of 1998 Lincoln Navigator 4dr 4WD: $42,960

      The 4WD Navi is 9.95% higher than the median income in its debut year.

      US Median Income 2018: $61,372
      MSRP 2019 Lincoln Navigator BASE: $73,200
      MSRP 2019 Lincoln Navigator TOP TRIM: $96,395

      The MY19 Navi is 17.5787% higher than the median income for the BASE model and a staggering 44.299% higher than median income for the Black Label Premium whatever. So, a Navigator 4WD was already about 10% higher than the US median income on debut, and is now 17.6% higher than the median for the base model which I can only hope is 4WD standard, this despite a roughly $21K annual increase in median income 1998-2018. The BASE model. If I want something closer to the “4WD” package back in the day its probably closer to a mid trim today, and if I want to be a baller I’m spending 44.2% MOAR than the US median income. For a Ford truck.

      Who is buying this sh!t?

      https://www.census.gov/library/publications/1999/demo/p60-206.html
      https://www.autotrader.com/lincoln/navigator/1998
      https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/12/median-household-income-climbs-to-new-high-of-61372.html
      https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/lincoln/navigator
      https://www.cars.com/research/lincoln-navigator-2019/

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        28 cars,

        My advice to you, don’t think too far into it, the entire auto industry has gone crazy, ridiculous emissions standards and popularity contests have made vehicle prices explode in the worst way. Manufacturers realize half of the population don’t care about cars and don’t understand them. That’s why we see these $30k+ 4 cylinder minivans actually selling for actual, non monopoly, money.

        Vehicles that actually sell on content, be that a drivetrain with merits, or construction and build quality that isn’t designed to be leased and tossed into a junkyard, are far and few between.

        The auto world is in a malaise era again, induced by another round of stringent emissions standards which has caused cost increases outside of the acceptable range. Only way to justify these increases are by selling pretend SUVs at SUV money, and actual SUVs at luxury money.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Who is buying this sh!t?

        Not me. Though my household income is more than double US median income, I won’t consider a vehicle costing more than about $25,000 +tax and doc. Generally speaking, if I choose to finance, it will not exceed 36 month term–and about $500.00/month. To make these numbers work, obviously, a trade in and/or cash equivalent to about $6500 is required.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The numbers are telling, now one must make about 8% more in median income of whatever number the felt comfortable with in purchasing a Navi, which today is the base model vs whatever the 4WD package got you in 1998. What’s curious is this isn’t just an inflation thing, its proof that median income has actually declined in relation to this product despite median income being an all time high. I’d be curious to see the same calculations applied to a basic automobile, rent, house, food etc.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Here’s your answer, 28…income growth is primarily top end of the chart these days. Simply put, there are more affluent folks than ever, so there’s a bigger pool of affluent people buying more expensive cars.

        https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/p60/263/tableA1.xls

        The flip side is that income in the middle part of the chart isn’t going up at all, and rising basic living costs are harder for these folks to bear than someone making 200K a year.

        Explains a great many things, including why $60,000 pickups (ridiculously overpriced things, to be sure) are selling at the same time the D3 are getting out of the cheap-car business – the folks who buy cheap cars are in the middle of the chart, and they have less disposable income. The market for that kind of vehicle is either shrinking, or isn’t growing, while the market for expensive vehicles is growing. It’s demographics.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I feel a “let them eat cake” moment coming on.

        • 0 avatar
          ScarecrowRepair

          You’re not telling the full story. The upper income swaths are growing faster than the middle class and lower class because there are more people in the upper class.

          https://www.cato.org/blog/middle-class-shrinking-households-become-richer

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “The upper income swaths are growing faster”

            That is true because more and more people, many of them Baby-Boomers, are now beginning to cash out instead of paying in.

            And the current stock market boom, where many pension and annuity plans are anchored, is adding more fuel to the “nuvo riche” fire as many retirees now have more money coming in than at any other time during their working lives.

            This could be a pretty slick move on Ford’s part, rewarding buyers of Ford products with more bling to enjoy during the best years of their lives.

            But with so many truly great automotive products available to American buyers, why would anyone buy a Ford or Lincoln, unless they are just devoted fans.

            Obviously there aren’t enough of those fans running around. Hence these incentives to part a buyer with as much of their money as Ford can legally get away with.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree but middle and lower class buyers were not shopping Navigator in 1998 or 2018. Even if upper income swaths are growing faster as a percentage of buyers, its only 4 percent in the 1998-2019 timeframe per CATO and inflation alone could be a factor in this income growth vs the earlier time period. Four percent more buyers, IMO, does not equate and 8% to 36% price increase in real dollars vs 1998. There is more to this story than a slight uptick in buyer’s income.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            So, adjusted for inflation, the ’98 Navigator went for 68 grand, versus 73 for the model today. The difference is probably content, and “what the market will bear.”

            Keep in mind the first-gen Navigator was a not-so-thinly disguised Expedition, which itself was a not-so-thinly disguised F150. As I recall, the first Navigator had a dash straight out of a F150. It wasn’t all that “lux”; the new model most certainly is. Plus all those luxury and tech features cost money.

            Here’s a more interesting comparison, though: a ’98 Accord EX was $33,500 in 2019 dollars; a 2020 model goes for $28,000.

            The difference, as I see it, is that the folks in the people in the target market for an Navigator have no problem spending an extra five grand on one, while people in the market for an Accord can’t.

            Therefore: in order to cater to the middle income tier buyer, a manufacturer has to make the same car for less, but to cater to folks with money, they can charge more. If you’re making cars, then, which buyers do you chase?

            Gets right back to what I was saying about demographics – there are more people with money today than there were 20 years ago, and those people have even more to spend now. That’s not true in the middle income brackets. And it also explains why companies like Ford abandoned middle-income buyers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            Just spitballing but according to this link in the period 98-18 inflation has gone up a staggering 54%.

            http://www.in2013dollars.com/1998-dollars-in-2018?amount=100

            In the CATO article, the difference between 2018 100K+ (29.7%) and 1998 100K+ (26.4%) is only 3.3% higher. So even if say the 3.3% on average had an income rise from 75K in 1998 to 100K in 2018, for a 25% increase in the time frame, its still -29% vs 1998 dollars. To just stay even income would have to increase 54% and maybe in the 3.3% example it has for some, but certainly not most in any bracket. Then we look at the Navi price percentage vs then median income and we see it has going up about 8%.

            So follow me, your income would have to have risen 54% to be equivalent in 1998 dollars and for the vast majority their incomes have not risen 54%. If we look at just the two published median incomes I cited, the difference between them is 44.85%. So despite the “all time high” in median income alone, we’re -9.15% vs 1998 dollars. Now add 7.62% increase for Lincoln’s base Navi as we established previously, and a base Navi today costs 16.77% more than it did in 1998 (inc inflation) using published median income to determine the pricing.

            https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/algebra/percent-difference-calculator.php

      • 0 avatar

        28, your logic is flawed. Someone making $61K is not in the business of buying any Lincoln. Or Mercedes for that matter. Or Lexus.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree those in the median income are not looking at new luxury cars, however that is not my point. I am simply comparing two datapoints and extrapolating the difference on a percentage basis of those two datapoints over time. I would need more data to make an accurate determination however based on the one data set I am left to conclude 1. despite median income being at an all time high it is actually 8% lower than it should be or 2. Ford has gotten incredibly greedy with its near luxury products vs 1998.

          Interestingly in 1998 Ford sold 43K Navis but only 17K in 2018.

          1998 43,859
          2018 17,839

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, yeah, but that’s largely due to Ford neglecting the Navigator (and Lincoln as a whole) for YEARS before they brought out this new one. The market the Navigator occupies has been strong for a long time now. Sales for the model are definitely up, as they should be – it’s a competitive product in a growing segment.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Up roughly 70% in 2018 vs 2017, but still about half of the volume of 2003 and 2004.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Navigator

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Sure, but I think that’s the result of Ford just mismanaging the model (and the entire Lincoln brand) for a long, long time. The Escalade is in the same market, and its’ sales never tanked the way the Navigator’s did.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Production of all models of Escalade for 2017 is 45.2% lower than 2003 and 49.139% lower than 2004. So its not just a mismanagement of the Navi contributing to such a steep decline in a roughly 15 year period since both models are similarly impacted.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Escalade

          • 0 avatar

            28, the point is that you should not take median income. Over years inequality increased, which means rich people got richer and middle class not that much.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I know when I think luxury, I think about managing points. Maybe they can hand out those little cards for my keyring, so I can get discounts like at the grocery store. How often will Lincoln be sending out threatening emails, informing me that all my points will vanish if I don’t redeem them or buy more right now?

    “Among those services is the brand’s Pickup and Delivery convenience.” This should absolutely be complimentary for any true luxury brand. If Genesis can do it…

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’d be smarter if you could leverage those points toward another Lincoln vehicle, not unlike GM’s cash-back credit card.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    There’s no such thing as a “Lincoln lifestyle.” That ship sailed with the 1997 Town Car. I think the Lincoln Lifestyle is best described as such:

    Customer: “I’m here to buy an Explorer. How much is that one over there in the dark corner of the showroom with all the chrome on it and the badges falling off?”

    Salesman: “That’s the all-new Lincoln Aviator sir, fresh from the tent cities of Chicago Assembly, much of it hand-crafted by assembly line luxury specialists to correct any imperfections to ensure an absolutely perfect vehicle.”

    C: “How much more per month than the Expedition Limited?”

    S: “Just $19 a month more on a 96-month term, sir.”

    C: “OK I’ll take it.”

    #LincolnLifestyle

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      I know there are 84 month terms finance deals…but 96? Say it ain’t so!

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        96-month financing does exist.

        That said, I don’t hate 84-month financing. If the bank offers an 84-month option and there’s not an interest rate penalty for it, I will absolutely take that option, and then pay it off in half the time. Why not? It’s artificial in reality, but it lowers my monthly debt-to-income ratio on paper. I did it with the ’19 Tiguan SEL Premium I bought earlier this month.

        Now if you’re using an 84-month term a means to buy something you couldn’t afford with a shorter term—which is what it was designed for, quite frankly—that’s probably when it screws you over.

        • 0 avatar
          R Henry

          Extended term financing (in my mind, ANYTHING over 36 months) sets the owner up for negative equity from early on, which then prompts further poor financial decisions like rolling negative equity from a trade into the next car purchase loan.

          Yes, my approach to managing money is VERY conservative, I know. That said, such an approach has insulated me from indebtedness and all the stress that goes along with it. So what if I drive less flashy cars…at least I can sleep at night!

          • 0 avatar
            AVT

            Depends on whats being bought. People who buy boats, ATV’s, RV’s, motorcycles etc. can usually get financing for 10+ years because they are not expected to be “worn out” in that time. Even people who buy motorcycles up here in Minnesota. I bought a goldwing and they offered me 10 year financing, which shocked me. They said on average for MN, a person would only put 5-8k miles a year on the bike (the difference is largely due to weather and the riding season). I still argue that my 2015 goldwing is one of the best purchases I made. 15k brand new and if I sold it now (at 10k miles on the clock) I still get 11-12k back. I truly believe the best new cheap vehicle is a good cruising bike. Saves me lots of wear and tear on my vehicles too.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Why be so concerned about your DTI if you aren’t planning on taking on the maximum amount of debt, and why are you buying a brand new car, if you are that concerned with your DTI?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My guess is he’s house-shopping. Mortgage lenders typically charge higher rates get more restrictive on your loan terms if your DTI is higher.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well that was kind of my point, if you are that worried about your DTI it is usually if you are interested in buying a house. Sure that DTI ratio is important, but a fresh 84 month car loan with a fat balance doesn’t look great either.

            In which case you wait to buy the car until you close on the house. That way you presumably keep the DTI lower and definitely keep the total amount owed lower.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “personalized client experiences, which include exclusive opportunities that leverage Lincoln’s network of hospitality collaborations.”

    Writing like this makes me not want to buy your cars.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Bonus points if you visit the service dept for warranty work 3 times in one month!

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    This is exciting. This is so exciting, I’m considering stepping away from being a ‘car enthusiast’ and becoming an ‘automotive dealer enthusiast’ instead.

    Who is with me?

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      Toolguy,

      You are spot on. I can’t think of $1 that I would spend bi**hing about a deal. They are there to rip you off, never any expected perks. EPIC FAIL if they think that will happen.

      I had a problem today with my Apple 11 phone, and I’ll be picking it up at 5:15…..dropped it off at 3:30, Best customer service in the world!

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    Man, I’m glad I am I’m still a million mile Gold member with American Airlines. It’s great way to strike a deal with AA for a lie flat bed when traveling.

    Don’t see that happening with cars (especially dealers), they don’t have the product lifecycle.

    Lincoln might have my attention for 4-5 years, but I have a 25-year relationship with AA. That’s going to be difficult.

  • avatar

    Dealership is the last place on the planet Earth I would like to visit. So no thank you for your points. Quite pointless exercise. If we are talking about other places in Solar system then it depends.

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