The Lincoln dealer network has undergone some major changes in recent years as FoMoCo has shifted toward opening dedicated, standalone showrooms for its luxury brand, as well as some boutique stores to boot. Even bigger changes are on the horizon, however, as Ford dealers are being asked to specialize in commercial vehicles, ICE models, or EVs, with the latter set to be sold at fixed prices with high standards for dealers that go that route. However, as Ford Authority reported yesterday, the Lincoln dealer network will operate on its own timeline with its own set of standards, though there will be fewer physical dealers in the future as a result.
“I think there’s opportunities for us to continue to consolidate the network, but it will be in a voluntary situation,” Lincoln President Joy Falotico told Automotive News in a recent interview. “We don’t plan to have any specific buyout program. We continue every year to work on the network and say ‘do we have the right dealers in the right markets with the right focus?’ Certainly as we go to EVs and we see that concentration, that will create another opportunity for dealers to decide if the investment makes sense for them or if it doesn’t. It will be completely up to them if they want to proceed with the Lincoln brand.”
This is a different approach than General Motors is taking, as Ford’s cross-town rival is offering buyouts to Cadillac and Buick dealers that don’t want to transition to EVs. Thus far, around one-third of Cadillac dealers have accepted that buyout offer rather than making the investments necessary to convert to electrification.
Currently, it’s unclear how Lincoln plans to proceed with this changeover, as the brand will meet with dealers next month to discuss its plans. “With EVs, no matter how you look at it, that’s going to be an investment for our dealers,” Falotico said. “So it’s a choice they have to make.”