The luxury brand has to downsize its dealer network and improve its EV strategy.
Lincoln's newly appointed president has announced plans to downsize the luxury brand's dealership network as part of a larger effort to refocus its electrification plans, which have apparently fallen behind schedule.
This should sound somewhat familiar because another American luxury brand was in a similar situation recently.
Cadillac also reduced its dealers following its big EV-only announcement in 2021. GM's luxury brand offered dealers buyouts if they wanted to avoid making the required electrification-related investments. Many called it a day and took the offer, and Lincoln must have been paying attention. Lincoln president Dianne Craig has been tasked with getting things moving again, and there's no time to spare.
As we reported in September 2022, Lincoln has 600 dealers at most, down from over 1,000 just five years ago.
The current figure is still too many, Craig recently told Automotive News. "We have too many dealers," Craig said. "If we're going to be a successful luxury brand, we need brand-exclusive facilities. Most of the dealers we have are still dual. We love them as our Ford partner, but we need to focus on having that brand-exclusive experience."
Around 145 standalone dealers currently exist, and Craig wants more, but the goal is to cap the total number at about 356. All surviving dealers must sign up for Lincoln's EV certification program.
Aside from the dealer reduction, Lincoln's other problem is product. It doesn't have a single pure battery-electric vehicle in its lineup though we know that'll be changing relatively soon. Cadillac, meanwhile, is nearly ready to begin the first batch of Lyriq deliveries. In contrast, Lincoln recently revealed the still combustion-powered 2024 Nautilus. It's worth mentioning that the Nautilus can be ordered with a hybrid powertrain.
See the problem? So, where and when will Lincoln launch an all-electric model? There were plans to launch three EVs globally by 2025 and a fourth one the following year. But that plan was under Craig's predecessor, Joy Falotic.
Craig has yet to reveal a new future plan for the brand.
Join The Discussion