And it's making it easier for dealers to comply.
Interested in buying a new Lincoln? You're likely to find them at your local Ford dealer, often in a quasi-separate showroom off the main one, but still on the same lot. But FoMoCo wants to put an end to that.
Automotive News reports on efforts being stepped up in Dearborn to get dual Ford-Lincoln dealers to build new, dedicated locations for the more upscale brand, after a previous effort had been put on hiatus. But while the Lincoln division is making a more concerted effort, it's taking a softer, more accommodating approach this time.
Last year the automaker asked 150 dual-brand dealers in 30 of its biggest markets across America to formalize plans to separate their Lincoln showrooms by July 2019 (now two months ago) with an eye to opening them by July 2021. Nearly half (72 in all) reportedly agreed to undertake the cost. The effort was put on hold at year-end, but is now being put back into effect.
This time it's giving dealers until July 2022 to complete the transition, and instead of dictating the size of the showroom, it's leaving the footprint up to the individual dealers' discretion.
Ford isn't the only automaker facing difficulty differentiating its luxury division with stand-alone showrooms. Hyundai has faced similar pushback from dealers of its Genesis models. But the numbers show that customers are more likely to buy higher-end metal from dedicated showrooms than they would from integrated dealers.
Lincoln is the last remnant of Ford's once sprawling Premier Automotive Group that included both Lincoln and the now-defunct Mercury brand as well as Volvo, Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover – properties which Dearborn sold off between 2006 and 2010, leaving Lincoln as the last "other" brand under Ford's umbrella and its only luxury marque, eager to poach sales from rival GM's Cadillac division.