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Lincoln Concept C – Click above for high-res image gallery

Now that Ford has officially announced that its Mercury division would be going the way of the Dodo, and with Blue Oval-branded models like the Taurus SHO proving that the Dearborn automaker can indeed move itself a bit upmarket, the next logical concern is addressing what will happen to Lincoln. That's especially true given the fact that Lincoln's 82,847 total sales in 2009 are a mere pittance compared to that of class-leading Lexus, which moved 215,957 vehicles.

One of the big problems with Lincoln is that there are just too many dealerships trying to sell a car to in-market customers. To wit, Lincoln currently boasts a whopping 1,221 stores in the States. By way of comparison, Lexus has 230, Audi has 270, BMW has 338 and Mercedes-Benz has 352. Do the math and it's easy to see that each Lincoln dealership doesn't sell very many vehicles – in fact, they're averaging just two sales per week.

According to Automotive News, Ford has a two-part plan to inject some life into its moribund Lincoln outlets. First, the total number of dealerships will be reduced by at least 200, and most of those closures will happen in large metropolitan markets where there are already multiple stores. Second, remaining outlets will be heavily upgraded in order to compete with Lincoln's targeted competitors.

Will it work? Hard to say, but if the brand can build models like the rumored production version of the Concept C showcar, it could certainly inject some life into Lincoln. In any case, we should get a few more details around October 4, which is when Lincoln's annual dealer meeting is scheduled to begin.

[Sources: Automotive News – sub. req., Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sorry folks but this concept C isn't going to sell more Lincolns. It looks like somrthing designed in Asia and looks cheap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We'll have to agree to disagree. I saw this in person and thought it looked very European, and very stunning, something like Bertone used to do. It had a brilliant interior with some truly beautiful detailing. I would buy it in a heartbeat, but it may be too much of a stretch too soon for Lincoln.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The styles need to be bolder and more aggressive! They have too much a soft tone to them. Lexus has smooth lines and elegance. So does Mercedes. Caddy has edgy in your face bling and attitude. Audi has performance. Jaguar has performance. Infiniti has soft styling and tech in their blood. Lincoln has nicer leather than Ford and a little more bling. They need to reskin the cars and CUVs IMO. I'd say a mix of Caddy and Lexus because Infiniti is to soft looking and Acura looks like sh&t all together IMO.

        That's just how I see it. And I'm a Lincoln Fan...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lincoln should make the 07 Interceptor concept and stop trying to be a Japanese Mercury.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Correction: It looks like something designed in Europe, and still looks cheap.

        This won't save Lincoln at all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like a Renault Megane
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a smart move by Ford. Its never to late to turn it around. The rebuild begins now!!!

      BMW is going to make the zero series and compete with the civic. The new luxury is gonna be small cars.

      This concept is great and I can see it selling in the 100,000's per ann. After that make a great 3series fighter and then 5er. Then work on the big boy for the prezident. Knock out the caddy contract please.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh almost forgot with the Audi A1 Audi S1 and RS3 coming Ford better make their new luxury car powerful!!!!

        Next gen A3 should be here in 2 years as well.

        Cadillac is also making a car below the CTS

      • 4 Years Ago
      this concept is beyond ugly and their current "waterfall" grill is killing their current product. If Buick can do it, Lincoln can. I'm 26 years old and I would buy a Regal...I would NEVER buy anything that Lincoln currently offers. Their first step should be to fire their whole styling department.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly. GM make a decent Buick out of 4 brands, whereas Ford only needs to make 2 versions. It should be *easy* for Ford, so why isn't it working?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I love this car, and the MK Z is quite nice too. I miss the old interior though. You call Lincolns ugly, others would call it distinctive,as in different strokes for different folks. I'd rather have polarizing looks any day over beige vanilla white bread that clogs the roads.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why can't we have seats like that. Those are cool.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can't speak for all of the USA, but in Northern New Jersey many Ford dealers have sold their franchise to former Lincoln-Mercury dealers, forming Lincoln-Ford outlets. It is looking like the Lincoln franchises that could not "buddy-up" with a Ford franchise are the ones that will be closing.
      Also Caddy is hurting, here. Over the past 5 years, Caddy stand-alones are (and were) buying uo other GM dealers out. We now have Cadillac/Hummer and Cadillac/Buick and Cadillsc-GMC and Cadillac-Saab.
      Crysler deals are all now with Jeep and many with Jeep AND Dodge, too.
      The only stand slones lefe are Chevrolet and some fgoreign, nut not many of them, either.

      On Rt #1 in Jersey, with 3/4 of a mile frontage, is a dealership
      that is probably the biggest dealership on the east coast.
      They sell to millionaires. It's Mercedes; Jaguar; Aston Martin; BMW;
      Infiniti; Porsche, Audi, Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborgini.
      Candy Store !!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lincoln badly needs a stunning, head-turner to get attention to the brand and something that will sell in large numbers at reasonable luxury prices... so the production version of the Concept-C will look nothing like what you see here... it will be stunning and a real head-turner at a value price that should drive much bigger volume (and profits) thru Lincoln dealerships... just what they need... coming soon as a 2012 mid-next year!
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, the production version of the Concept C will be a Focus with a hideous, over-chromed grille.

        Er, rather, a hideous, over-chromed vertical slat grille.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Better cars and a more compelling complete line-up will increase sales and improve dealer health better then shutting down dealers. I mean, I do understand the concept about oversaturation, but comparing numbers to import dealers isn't entirely fair IMO. Mitsubishi and Suzuki (admittedly not luxury brands) don't have a lot of dealers either and there dealers aren't happy - they need more cars that people want to buy, not less coverage.

      This is American and Lincoln's home turf (and Cadillac's as they are/were trying to reduce the number of outlets as well) there SHOULD be more Lincoln dealers here then Lexus dealers. It SHOULD be easier and more accessible a car to find a dealer. Import brands tend to be stronger on the coasts and weaker in the heartland where buyers are more loyal to American marques - so it is a nobrainer that Lincoln would have more coverage in areas like that. I would love to see the number of Toyota/Lexus/(Scion?) dealer coverage in Japan compared to American brands. I want to say Toyota has about two or three other (or more) product lines they sell under in Japan for even more overwhelming coverage, but I'm not totally sure.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No one doubts Ford can build world class autos, so why are they struggling with producing a Luxury Marque Vehicle?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Has any of this stuff worked yet?

      I know a lot of dealers have been closed lately, but did it really ever benefit any automaker so far?

      The only ones I saw who benefited so far are Hyundai and Kia, their dealers suddenly found it really easy to buy up dealership buildings for a song. Heck, even the Sm@rt dealer here has a normal-sized lot now and they don't really make any sales.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford seems determined to cannibalize Lincoln into oblivion, and continuously shrinking the dealer base is a reactive move that won't help.

        New *premium* product that exudes quality and doesn't share Ford sheetmetal is what Lincoln needs. And even then, they'll just be up to Acura spec.

        Hopefully, Ford will make a proper Buick competitor out of Lincoln while there's still time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Production of anything resembling the Concept C is the exact opposite of what Lincoln needs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        One would think that Ford saw enough from the Cimarron and Catera that they wouldn't have to repeat the exact same mistakes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Have you seen the MKT? That thing makes the Aztek look sexy:-(
        • 4 Years Ago
        so merc doesnt need to make the a class? i dont think it should be as cheap as the scion but it should be very high tech.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lincoln needs to get back to Luxury and style. This is where American car makers have faild, these cars back before the mid 80s were known for luxury.. You knew the person that owned that car had it! Both cadillac and lincoln now days are just plane boreing cars.. Lexus and Infinity have the luxury that those cars had in the old days. Buick has learned this and this is why there new car line has become popular.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The CTS-V is a boring car?
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