Lincoln confers with dealers, restarts program for standalone stores

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“I think Lincoln went a long way toward doing something that was fair to the dealer body across the board,” Tom Lynch, the dealer council’s chairman and general manager of North Florida Lincoln in Jacksonville, Fla., told Automotive News. “I think they came out with something even better.”

The brand is asking dealers to build showrooms that adhere to its new design theme known as Vitrine, a French word for a glass display case. The exterior of each store is defined by floor-to-ceiling glass windows that illuminate the vehicles inside at night.

Dealers have the option to build a two-vehicle boutique or a four- or six-vehicle showroom. Even the smallest boutique will cost millions of dollars, according to a source with knowledge of the requirements.

The brand also pushed back deadlines for dealers. The retailers have through January to decide whether to enroll in the program and until July 2022 to build the stores. The initial plan called for stores to be completed by July 2021.

According to a memo to dealers viewed by Automotive News, Lincoln is asking for a $20,000 enrollment deposit by Feb. 1 that will be reimbursed once the project is certified.

Lincoln declined to comment on how much the project will cost dealers.

The memo also noted that Lincoln dealers can earn margins of up to 2.75 percent per vehicle sold if they build the new stores, down from its previous offer of 3.5 percent that the California dealer association had opposed. Dealerships can earn payments tied to client experiences in addition to those awarded for the facilities.

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