• Oct 25, 2010
According to Automotive News, some Lincoln dealers aren't willing to put up the cash for expensive showroom updates until their company shows them physical proof of future products. Ford has asked some dealers to spend as much as $1 million on facility upgrades, even while admitting that there won't be any new products for up to two years. With Ford tight-lipped about what exactly their new luxury lineup will look like, many dealers aren't sure whether or not a large investment in their showroom is a worthwhile endeavor. Ford has said that dealers that fail to comply with the changes may see incentive money cut in the near future.
Meanwhile, FoMoCo is offering buyouts for Lincoln dealers that the company has found to not be in preferred markets – from $1.5 million in one case to as little as $300,000 in another. In both instances, the owners of the dealerships plan to reject the offers as being too low to even consider.

In the mean time, there seems to be growing rift among Lincoln dealers that may lead to an even greater split in the near future.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: Paul Sancya/AP]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "In the mean time, there seems to be growing rift among Lincoln dealers that may lead to an even greater split in the near future."

      I'm trying to figure out what this is intended to mean. It doesn't seem to actually tie to the rest of this article, and the linked article doesn't particularly imply a growing rift or a split in the dealer base. Yes, some dealers will upgrade and others will choose not to. But a "growing rift" and an impending "greater split" make it sound like there's a revolution coming!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The rift is between those who are going to invest for the long term, and those who don't have money to invest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      1. A lincoln dealership is like taking a trip into the 1980s. If the brand is going to be competitive with Lexus, Cadillac, or even Buick they need to revamp the current customer experience. The front line is the dealership.

      2. Contrary to propaganda dealers are actually all about themselves and have no restraint in telling the factory that they are private businessmen. BUT they sell something they can not make.

      3. Even if future product was shown it in no way gaurantees success of an induvidual dealer. Therefore, Ford/Lincoln doesn't "owe" them a preview anymore than dealers who agree to upgrade.

      4. The brand has gotten more product and marketing than its gotten in years. If a dealer can't trust the factory then they need to consider doing something else because in any business there is RISK. They could build a Burger King and then be told to move across town. Its in the franchise agreement.

      5. If dealers "refuse" to distribute FoMoCo products I am sure there is someone else who would be happy to assume control of the franchise. Crappy dealer experiences is partially why the domestic auto industry has driven consumers to imports. Those days of over indulged senses of entitlement must end. Dealer input is why you could get bench seats with vinyl on a Mercury Mariner. Look where it got them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good for them. I hope enough of them hold out to make a difference.
      Considering the lackluster product Ford has been giving them PLUS the huge loss of Mercury revenue they are about to realize, you can't blame them for proceding with caution
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mohawk
        I think you read the comment wrong. He didn't say Ford had lackluster product. He said Lincoln is provided lackluster products from Ford. He's right. Lackluster doesn't mean bad. The MK[you pick] is a badge-engineered Ford. While it works as a Ford, it's hardly distinguished among the luxury class of cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        While Lincoln does get some clones, none of those models you list are offered at a Lincoln dealership. Do you get it now? Lincoln is the new red-headed stepchild, after the original redhead Mercury was beaten to death. So how in the hell is it justified that Ford can force dealers to outlay millions for a 'luxury' line that is a steaming pile? I'd switch to Hyundais if I were any of those Lincoln dealers, until Ford puts the same effort into Lincoln that the 'Ford' lineup got these past few years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The "lackluster" Ford products that have them making more money than they have in years? F-150, Fusion, New Focus, Edge, Taurus, Mustang? You got to be joking right?

        "Huge loss of Mercury revenue?" And you called Ford products lackluster? . Mercury wasn't making anybody money lets get that straight.

        These dealers are f-r-a-n-c-h-i-s-e-s that means if you don't like it go sell something else. They have no right to demand to see future product no more than the local McDonalds franchisee does. They have to abide by guidelines of how they represent Ford/Lincoln's image/brand. Don't like it go sell Suzukis or used cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup, Ford is making some amazing vehicles. But you can option up any Ford product far past the base prices of the comparable Lincoln models. Just look at a loaded SHO ($44k), the Flex Titanium ($52k), Edge Sport ($43k) and a top of the line AWD Fusion ($34k). Compare that to the base prices of the MKS ($41k), MKT ($44k), MKX ($39k) and MKZ ($34k).

        Why would a Lincoln dealer be worried, indeed....

      • 4 Years Ago
      I have to agree I don't blame the dealers either, Ford is not serious and does not seem to want to compete in the Tier 1 Luxury segment...Why should the dealers spend more money...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they should have let Mercury soldier on for another two years as they bring new cars for Lincoln.This way the dealers would have some products to sell in the interim.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering how poorly the current Lincoln lineup is selling, I can understand why a Lincoln dealer wouldn't be in a hurry to drop several million dollars into a new building -- their current business simply won't sustain it.

      I hope Ford will revitalize Lincoln, like they did the Ford brand. But I understand why the Lincoln dealers are saying "show me."
        • 4 Years Ago
        If McDonalds was on the verge of taking everthing off the menu that costs less than $6, promised to deliver a better upscale product down the road, but was asking franchisees to upgrade their facilities to the level of a Red Lobster now you can be damn sure the franchisees would be asking for more details of the upcoming menu before they made the investment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Who can blame them? Lincoln is the weakest brand in the US market, investing in remodeling dealerships doesn't make sense for most Lincoln stores. Investing in a new franchise to sell like Hyundai or any other brand does.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't blame the dealers here. Lincolns are nothing more than rebadged Fords...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sales may be up compared to the giant crater of 2008-2009, but they aren't that great, and customers are still in an economic crunch, even moreso than the dealers are. The dealers know that customers are not in the same frame of mind, or fiscal position, and that credit isn't as easy as it was from 2001-2007.

      Why should a dealer incur a lot of debt to upgrade their infrastructure, when they just saw half of their products that have been STARVED TO DEATH, and the Mercury badge going away, which was half or more of their product line, if they were just a Lincoln/Mercury vendor.

      With Lincoln just re-hashing Fords model for model, and no concepts, no future direction laid out... why would they expect anything more than a slow decline from Lincoln, with the absence of any evidence to the contrary?

      Damn straight I wouldn't be keen on putting my business at further risk for that. Nor would I short my own investment by taking a pittance of a buyout offer from FoMoCo.

      FoMoCo either DELIVERS, or PAYS. Otherwise, if car dealers get a bad taste in their mouths, and refuse to distribute FoMoCo products, then the corporation has a problem. It is in the corporation's best interest to treat their dealers at least equitably, if not even better than that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I gotta go with the dealers on this one. Show us the "great product", and we'll spend the money. Because right now, I don't see anything that Lincoln offers that would make me choose one over a comparable Cadillac.

      And after loosing volume sales from Mercury, no wonder dealers are a little skittish.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford has historically bad dealer relations. And that's when they had product. With little new to show the low volume/high overhead Lincoln stores, they can kiss this brand goodbye, too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've been seeing some Lincoln/Mercury dealerships move towards Kia and Hyundai recently. A smart move by the dealers, but this doesn't bode well for Lincoln's future as far as I'm concerned.

      Ford has major work to do to save Lincoln (possibly too late) and they should have kept Mercury.
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