Some frustrated Lincoln dealers plan to skip a June meeting

"A little less conversation," Elvis used to sing, "a little more action."

Some Lincoln dealers echo that sentiment these days.

In just a few weeks, a group of Lincoln dealers will converge on Detroit for an invitation-only brand meeting with Ford Motor Co.

Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, promises that the meeting in early June will spell out some specifics about Ford's plan to reignite its luxury brand.

But some dealers have put their invitations in the round file.

One says he won't "waste" his money on airfare, adding that when Ford has "actual future product to show us, then I'll go meet with them."

One Lincoln dealer with a stand-alone store did not get an invitation, but he doesn't care.

He is too busy trying to hold on to what's left of his sales staff. Two of his best salespeople left earlier this year because his store's sales plummeted when Ford terminated Mercury on Dec. 31. Those employees didn't see any signs that Lincoln will be revived soon enough to support them.

Inside Ford, a team dedicated to rebuilding Lincoln is scrambling to develop distinct new or improved products, I'm told. Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product czar, has said that one of those products will be shown later this year.

The June meeting will be all about Ford reassuring Lincoln dealers that the automaker is committed to fixing Lincoln. After all, Lincoln sold 27,243 vehicles through April, down 8 percent from the year-ago period. That's far below the volume of most of its rivals in an overall market that was up 20 percent.

And for that reason many Lincoln dealers are done talking now.

They want action.

25

Shares

ATTENTION COMMENTERS: Over the last few months, Automotive News has monitored a significant increase in the number of personal attacks and abusive comments on our site. We encourage our readers to voice their opinions and argue their points. We expect disagreement. We do not expect our readers to turn on each other. We will be aggressively deleting all comments that personally attack another poster, or an article author, even if the comment is otherwise a well-argued observation. If we see repeated behavior, we will ban the commenter. Please help us maintain a civil level of discourse.

Newsletters