Ford dealership cut spells trouble for Lincoln stores

Ford wants to cut its U.S. dealership ranks to 3,000 from the 3,338 it is today.

When Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, told that to a group of analysts the other day, he was careful not to pin a date on it. After all, Ford is working with dealers to make the closures voluntary, which is admirable.

So let's do is the math.

There are 261 Lincoln-Mercury stores in the United States. By the end of the year, when Ford shutters Mercury, they will all be stand-alone Lincoln stores.

Ford's Mark Fields, president of the Americas, has said many of those stores likely won't make it as Lincoln stand-alones.

A large number of closings will likely come from this group. The balance likely will disappear from metro markets, given this recent comment by Farley: "In major metro markets, we have to get our dealer body count down, and we have to get our dealer throughput up. It's really critical we improve our profitability in the dealerships so that we can get our customer buying experience up."