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Dealers Ready to Invest in Lincoln Revival

New MKZ winning retailers over.

by on Feb.08, 2012

The new Lincoln MKZ Concept will reappear in production form at the NY Auto Show, in April..

One of the things Ford Motor Co. desperately needs as it rebuilds the Lincoln brand is help from its dealers.  But despite some grumbling over the high up-front costs to convert showrooms to match the new Lincoln theme, the automaker seems to be making some headway on that front.

More than half of all Lincoln dealers in the top 130 U.S. markets have committed to upgrade their facilities, according to Ford.  And the new Lincoln MKZ – first seen in concept form at last month’s Detroit Auto Show – is helping win more over.

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“We have shared our plans about future Lincoln products, the (direction of the) brand going forward and the consumer experience we have envisioned, and already a majority of our dealers have said they are with us,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

“Ultimately, this is good news for our customers, who will see our new approach to the luxury consumer experience at every touch point,” he said.

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Ford Reveals $1 Bil Investment for Lincoln

Maker promises dealers it will make luxury brand competitive.

by on Jun.21, 2011

The Lincoln Concept C small luxury car offers a hint of what's to come from the Ford brand.

Ford Motor Co. has promised its frustrated dealers that it will invest $1 billion in a bid to make the struggling Lincoln brand competitive, with an assortment of new products coming to market by 2014.

Once locked in a bitter, ongoing battle with Cadillac for dominance in the American luxury market, Lincoln has become little more than an afterthought in recent years. It currently holds less than 1% of the overall U.S. market, despite the addition of new and updated models like the MKS sedan, and MKX and MKT crossovers.  At the current sales pace of barely 7,000 vehicles a month, Lincoln could end the year with volumes of less than a third of luxury market leaders BMW and Lexus.

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The “question is whether Lincoln will be viable,” IHS analyst Rebecca Lindland told the Detroit News, which revealed the new management commitment to Lincoln.

That was a relatively charitable way of putting things.  Earlier this month, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson suggested Lincoln is “over,” and that Ford might as well “sprinkle holy water over it.”

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Lincoln Wants To Eliminate A Third Of Its Metro Dealers

Ford outlines broad restructuring of brand to retailers.

by on Oct.06, 2010

The 2011 Lincoln MKT making its debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

More than a third of the dealers representing Ford Motor Co.’s only remaining luxury brand will be eliminated under a dramatic go-it-alone restructuring plan for the Lincoln division.

Bringing Lincoln’s retail network more in line with its import competition is just the first step in a broad brand transformation that will also yield seven all-new or significantly updated models for the marque in the next four years. (Click Here for that story.)

“We are fully committed to transforming Lincoln into a world-class luxury brand,” Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, told about 900 of the division’s dealers and their representatives during a meeting in Dearborn, Michigan.

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But the presentation also outlined some serious challenges for a Lincoln revival.

Until about a decade ago, Lincoln was a strong contender in the U.S. market, locked in an ongoing battle for sales dominance with its cross-town rival Cadillac.  But the new millennium saw a shift away from domestic to import luxury brands, with makers Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz surging to the top of the sales charts.

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