The carmaker has made discounts more difficult to see.
It's not unusual for automakers to adjust discounts and incentives throughout the year, but Lincoln has just made a change potential customers really ought to know about. A new bulletin sent to dealerships nationwide has been seen by CarsDirect and, in short, it limits the discounts dealers can advertise. As a result, customers may have a more difficult time finding the best prices. Why? Because Lincoln has changed its minimum allowable advertised price, or MAAP. It's also trying to get dealers not to advertise the exclusive Black Label models under MSRP.
Basically, Lincoln's Ad Covenant Program, a set of rules dealers go by so that their advertising is subsidized by the manufacturer, has changed the minimum price calculation to 4 percent below MSRP minus current offers. Black Label models are now limited to MSRP minus incentives.
Essentially, this means Lincoln dealers can still sell vehicles for whatever price they want according to market demand, but now there could be a larger difference between the discount buyers see advertised and what they actually get.
For example, a 2021 Lincoln Navigator Reserve previously could not be advertised under the invoice price of $77,222, not including destination fees and rebates. Starting now, dealers can't advertise below 4 percent less than the MSRP, or $78,686. In reality, that's $3,279 off the MSRP of $81,965. In other words, buyers are not able to see a price difference of nearly $1,500 ($77,222 vs. $78,686).
Those who want a top-of-the-line Navigator Black Label will see an MSRP of $98,125. However, there's a spread of over $6,300 between the factory invoice and MSRP, and the new rules make it harder for buyers to see that and ultimately pay less.
Here's another example: a 2020 Lincoln Nautilus is currently being advertised at $2,000 under MSRP, but what this really means is that the dealer is not advertising any additional discounts aside from $2,000 in rebates, and those rebates are available to all buyers. With this knowledge in hand, Lincoln buyers should come prepared to negotiate in order to receive the best possible price.