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Lincoln Dealers Not Yet Sold On Standalone Storefronts

Lincoln’s plan for standalone dealership storefronts looks to be going down the drain.

Just four months after Lincoln announced that 78 of its US dealerships would open standalone storefronts in a bid to boost the premium brand’s image and distance itself from parent company Ford, the plan has been postponed.

According to Automotive News, dealers are getting cold feet about the investment required to set up the individual dealerships. Lincoln currently has an agreement with dealers that allows it to withhold a certain percentage of profit from retailers who choose not to participate in the program – a rule many dealers would like to see thrown out.

AN accrued a copy of an internal memo sent out to dealers by Lincoln, which said that the company was still dedicated to providing the “distinctive luxury experience,” that standalone storefronts offer, but is delaying the rollout of the program in order to¬†“work with our dealer partners to better understand their questions and concerns and determine the right path forward.”

Lincoln isn’t abandoning the idea altogether, though. Lincoln sales and service manager Greg Wood told AN the company is simply going back to the drawing board with regard to standalone stores and is working out the kinks with its dealers.

“We’re not deviating from the strategy long-term,” Wood told the publication. “Our intention is we will address this and make any necessary adjustments needed and continue on.”

An example of a new Lincoln standalone dealership in China.

Lincoln had originally intended for its dealers to be operating or at least close to opening its standalone stores by next July. It’s not clear how long they may be postponed for now, but Lincoln is hoping to get the program up and running ASAP. One dealer who set up a standalone Lincoln shop sold 51 vehicles in a month – the highest single month sales for any Lincoln dealer in over 10 years.

Those dealers who have already begun building their standalone Lincoln store are free to continue construction and open the store.

[source: Automotive News]

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Comments

  1. Andrew Christian

    Unfortunately for Lincoln, there isn’t enough brand stability or model equity for standalone dealerships, imo. Why would you open a dealership, when you’re not even certain of the range of models you’ll be able to sell in the next few years?

    Reply
  2. Bill Jenkins

    I work at a Lincoln dealer, and I can tell you there are plenty of dealers that sell more than 51 units in a single month, nevermind over 10 year period. Check your facts first.

    Reply
  3. nauticalone

    Seems like for large enough city locales standalone won’t be much of an issue…however for less densely populated areas it would surely be an impediment as one would not be able to recoup ones investment, let alone make a profit.

    Reply
  4. vbondjr1

    Ford and Lincoln have so much potential right now it isn’t even funny. Lincoln makes some good looking vehicles and while they don’t compete with Cadillac for ultimate American luxury sports car, truth be told they don’t need to. Lincoln always had more of a softer, understated luxury tone to it. Like Audi or Volvo. As far as a stand alone Lincoln Dealership, that is actually a good idea but it needs to be done right. The dealership itself needs to be black label. It needs to be streamlined and it needs to be luxurious. The showroom and service waiting area and the parts department all need to be solar powered. LED lighting, wood and leather seats, wi-fi and all of that need to be available and everything should be wireless. Apple computers designed specifically for Lincoln dealerships should be present at all work stations. The bathrooms should be no different than one at a 5-star luxury hotel and the ambience of the dealership should match. Electric fireplaces, a customer cafe area, Starbucks coffee, large and accommodating waiting areas including a quiet room, a kids room and a room for people who have small children under 5-years old. The service/shop area and parts department should have their own separate building as should the body shop and body shop parts departments. They should be just as top notch as the customer areas. All Lincoln employees that have to interact with customers should be in suits and ties and be trained not only in Lincoln knowledge but as professional customer service liaisons.
    As far as the cars go, lincoln had a fairly good lineup so far but they do need a few more vehicles and a few more actual names. Names like the Zephyr, the Mark Ten, the Capri, to go along with the Continental, Nautilus, the Aviator, and the Navigator. With Lincoln being the luxury brand, I do feel the 3.0L hybrid 450/600 spec engine should be the base of all of these cars However, the Zephyr should be the Rolls Royce of Lincoln. With style hearkening back to the late 1930’s with technology of the new age, the Zephyr should be the Wraith of America with the largest ecoboost engine ever conceived by ford. the 7.0L V12 Ecoboost (essentially fusing two 3.5L Ecoboost V6 engines together with all of the technology Ford had learned from the Ford GT project along with a hybrid DCT transmission, Magnetic ride, brembo brakes and everything else all put together to make the greatest Grand Touring car America has ever produced with a blend of styling from the 1939 Zephyr and modern styling all combined. The Zephyr SUV crossover would also combine the styling of the late 30’s Zephyr sedan into a modern crossover with V12 power. The mark-10 would be more of an American Vantage. a Two seater CD6 fastback sports car, slightly than the CD6 Mustang powered by a hybrid version of the Ford GT 3.5L V6 with all wheel drive producing slightly less horsepower at 595hp but producing 650lb-ft of torque. along with this would the the Lincoln Capri, The Jaguar XJ of Lincoln. Although these cars would break away from my previous statement of Lincoln being the American Audi/Volvo of the world, The Continental, Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator still hold true to my previous statement. Like the Audi A8, The Continental flagship possesses a stately appearance, and if properly motivated with a 3.0L twin turbo hybrid or even a performance variant of a 3.5L Ecoboost with a hybridized drivetrain, the Continental would boast specs very similar to even the Audi S8. The Nautilus, Aviator and Navigator all boast serene luxury but the Aviator and Navigator boast performance credentials that do rival some of the standard European vehicles such as Audi and Volvo. I feel with a few electric luxury performance cars and crossovers along with what i mentioned above. Lincoln could very well become a very versitile american luxury auto maker, taking pieces from the playbooks of Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Range Rover, Volvo and Audi, without copying their DNA and become A strong contender in American Luxury once again. While GM competes with the likes of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, AMG and the likes thereof with edgier more in your face type luxury performance an luxury touring vehicles.

    Reply

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