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.