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.”
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]