Ford has tried different tacks in an effort to revive Lincoln. The original rear-wheel drive LS brought new life into the brand but it was left to wither on the vine until it became uncompetitive. The latest string of new Lincoln models MKZ, MKS, MKX and MKT have failed to set the sales charts alight.
Lincoln’s lack of success stands in stark contrast to the Ford brand’s renaissance. With Lincoln sales lagging, Ford is said to be redoubling its efforts with the brand. Next-generation models are set to be arriving soon that will showcase the new strategy. With a lineup of new products on the way, Ford wants to make sure the dealer network is up to par.
Under the plan, Ford wants standalone Lincoln dealers in urban markets to spend $1 million in upgrades. For combined Ford-Lincoln stores, the tally comes in even higher, at $1.9 million.
These new developments were announced at a recent dealer meeting. Dealers who do not wish to complete the upgrades will be bought out of their franchises by Ford. This has the effect of weeding out dealers to get to Ford’s desired number of 325.
The remodels must be completed within a two-year timeframe, as Lincoln expects to introduce seven new or significantly refreshed models within three years. The goal is to increase sales to 162,000 units by 2015, up from a paltry current figure of 86,000.
We’ve heard a lot of this before; Lincoln’s current lineup was supposed to boost the brand’s sales figures and it has failed to do so. However, at the time Ford was primarily focusing on one thing; the Ford brand, which has performed brilliantly.
Now, the situation is a lot different. With just two brands in the United States, Ford is putting significant time and resources into Lincoln. The next-generation cars will be based on Ford platforms, but Lincoln says they will be “100%” different in every area that is seen by customers. We’ll get our first glimpse of Lincoln’s new models next year when the redesigned MKZ and MKT debut.