Even more dealerships of Cadillac rival Lincoln are getting the ax over the course of 2024, with an additional hundred brand retailers on the chopping block after a hundred were closed during 2023.
Per Automotive News reporting about 400 dealerships will remain after the closure of 200 retail locations is completed at 2024’s end, though as the article points out this number still exceeds the dealership lineup of most luxury marques.
The ongoing efforts by Ford to create a leaner dealership lineup for the Lincoln brand are part of a strategy to eliminate dealers who are not brand-exclusive to Lincoln. This strategy was launched in 2023 following three years of slumping sales, and is designed to “get our mojo back,” as Dianne Craig, president of the brand, put it. At the start of 2023 the marque’s dealer network consisted of 637 dealerships.
Dealerships that will lose their access to Lincoln vehicles will be given a buyout offer that includes extra Ford inventory and special incentives to offer customers. Dianne Craig noted “we have many, many dealers who were only selling one or two Lincolns a month, almost all of those out of a dualed facility.” It is these dealers who will no longer sell the luxury brand in an effort to boost sales for brand-exclusive dealerships.
The nameplate has been struggling for some time, with GM’s former CEO Dan Akerson joking in 2011 that the Ford luxury brand needed a priest to “sprinkle holy water” on it. The new strategy will see retailers who sold both Lincoln and Ford vehicles converted to Ford-only locales.
The Lincoln National Dealer Council supports the move as well, with its chairman Chris Poulos noting “If we’re to create an experience for a client that has very high expectations then you can’t co-mingle that with a mass brand.”
While reducing dealership count is a significant part of the new brand strategy, it is not the only initiative Ford is relying on. Brand president Craig says offering “a freshened portfolio” is on the horizon by the end of 2024, with refreshed or overhauled Aviator, Corsair, Nautilus, and Navigator models expected this year.
After providing these details, she declared that 2024 “is going to be a breakout year for Lincoln.”