• Feb 7, 2011
Being a Lincoln dealer in the 21st century has been anything but easy, as Ford has been looking to shed its luxury brand dealers the past couple years. Then Blue Oval recently killed off Mercury, a brand Lincoln dealers traditionally used as a feeder program. And perhaps the biggest challenge has been coaxing buyers into the showroom, as the brand's 2010 sales total of just 85,828 units clearly illustrates.

The sledding apparently won't get much easier for 2011 either, as Automotive News reports that Ford has added a few more regulations to be completed by October of this year. Fortunately, at least one of those standards is focused directly towards customers, as each Lincoln dealer will be required to feature owners' privileges perks like a car wash with every service stop and a loaner for when vehicles are being worked on. Ford will also ask each Lincoln dealer to have a dedicated service manager and sales staff. That could be a tough pill to swallow for dealers who have Ford and Lincoln stores on the same site. Lincoln dealers will also be required to ditch all that old Lincoln-Mercury signage and instead feature a Lincoln-only sign featuring the four-pointed star. Lastly, all dealer lots will need to be filled with at least 30-percent certified pre-owned vehicles.

Those demands don't sound all that unreasonable to us, but we're betting Lincoln dealers won't be too pleased with the prospect of spending more money without a lot of new products in the next year or so. Then there is the fact that Ford is reportedly looking to cut another 100 dealers in the top 130 markets in the year ahead. But while dealers likely won't love these changes, there may not be much choice in the matter. Dealers who don't comply with the new rules will reportedly receive smaller discount profit margins.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req.]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Best of luck, Lincoln.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, address customer service and do something about their products. They are about as exciting as the current Chevrolet Impala.

        The folks at Ford should listen to the song "Hot-Rod-Lincoln" for inspiration because their hasn't been one since the LS V8.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The best car I ever owned was a 2000 Lincoln LS with a five-speed Getrag. The LS was such a popular car with enthusiasts that a Lincoln LS Club was formed and had race days in Southern Calif. But alas, some idiot ruined the party and cancelled the car. One of the best handling vehicles ever made. Aluminum A-arm suspension, etc. I hoped that the next generation would offer a Ford Modular V-8 with a Tremec to be an M5 at less than half the price. The LS sorely needed a LSD and more power. Now the market place is void of an American car with street cred except for the overpriced STS-V. My LS would do perfect 4 wheel drifts. So much for history. Why are American car companies afraid to make a real car?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd just call it quits and kill off Lincoln already.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, because the problem with falling Lincoln sales has nothing to do with the offerings, the problem is not having flashy dealerships.

      /rolls eyes.
        • 3 Years Ago
        its both. the cars lack appeal and the dealerships lack appeal.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Probably not. But along with better product these are necessary changes. Loaner car? A wash when it's in for service? Dedicated sales staff?

        These are no-brainers that the dealers should've been doing anyway.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Exactly. It's product *and* service.

        As the service portion is easier for FoMoCo (it costs them nothing additional out of pocket), it's the better place to start.

        Still, I was kinda hoping for a dress code outlawing polyester jackets and slicked-back hairdos.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yeah, because this must mean that's all they're gonna do with Lincoln. Also that ex-Cadillac designer they hired recently is there only to turn off the lights I guess.

        /rolls eyes
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm slightly disappointed. Lincoln should have been doing this from the beginning. If they haven't, then what's the point of a high line badge? Just get the fully optioned Fusion or Taurus instead.

      Now that they've done this, they need to do what Nissan did when they released the G: tell the world what they stood for. "We want to be the Japaese BMW, we will not offer front wheel drive." Since then, they've made sure the G stayed current and competitive, and worked on the M until it could legitimately be compared to the 5 series without caveats. I personally prefer an Audi to an Infiniti, but it's hard not to respect the dedication and focus that Nissan's had for the past decade.

      Ford needs to do the same and stick with it - and no more "build it and forget it" either - I'm looking at you, Town Car, LS, Continental which sat on the same platform for a decade until it was killed...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Our local sucky Ford dealer added Lincoln soon after the Lincoln dealer folded. I stopped taking my Fords to the Ford dealer long ago and was treated great by the Lincoln service crew. Sadly the Lincoln folded at least had good customer service.

      Now that the local Ford dealer is my closest F/L dealer, I got to experience how bad they still are. I flamed them in their CS feedback and feedback from their Gen. Mgr. hasn't panned out.

      Now I take my current Fords to a dealer 45 minutes away- including a new Ford I purchased from the distant dealer. They even offer a loaner since I'm making the trek.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Perhaps they should have kept Jaguar and killed Lincoln.
      • 3 Years Ago
      OK, lets say you have a bunch o cash and you wanna start a new dealership...how far down your list would Lincoln be right now?

      Who'd be your first (non-supercar) call? Hyundai?
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is part of the problem with the overly restrictive state laws that dont allow manufacturers to own their dealerships.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To everyone saying that Lincoln needs new product: I'm sure it's on its way. I suspect they're doing this now to get the dealership experience sorted out BEFORE the new car arrives. That way, potential converts to Lincolns aren't repulsed by unprofessional dealers the first (and potentially only) time they set foot in a Lincoln dealership to look at the new offering.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The headline ought to read... Ford spells out new standards for Lincoln automobiles.

      My Ford dealer always gave me a free loaner, 25 years and a dozen plus cars at least bought me that. My Mazda dealer does the same and adds the car wash. The dealer we lease the Mercedes from picks up and delivers the car. Service there is expensive but it includes wash, wax, and interior detailing.

      In the future Lincoln would have to show me something more than a Ford with just nice but indifferent details.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lincoln needs to get it's act together fast or its over. For starters, every model has to have a direct injection v8. All models also need to be rear wheel drive with an available all wheel drive option for those that need traction in snow country.

      Lincolns models should not resemble any of the Ford brand models any any shape or form. No more Ford look-a-likes as is currently the case.

      Lincoln's naming convention needs to change. Bring back the Continental Mark Series,
      the Town Car and the Continental 4 door convertible with the Cartier, Signature options.

      The use of high quality workmanship and materials would really go a long way to also differentiate itself from Ford.

      If they do not do this, they will die.
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