Lincoln's product show won't snub small stores
LAS VEGAS -- Lincoln will invite all its dealers to a Lincoln product show in Detroit in November, executives told dealers at the make meeting.
That will be in sharp contrast to a meeting last month, to which only the owners of the roughly 325 Lincoln dealerships in the top 130 luxury markets were invited.
Some dealers had been concerned that Lincoln's dealer body was being divided into two groups: those in the top luxury markets, where 90 percent of luxury cars are sold, and the roughly 700 dealerships located elsewhere.
"We've been told so much about the top 130 markets and the top 325" dealers, said Terry Kidd, owner of Kidd Ford-Lincoln in rural Morrison, Tenn., which sells 20 to 30 new vehicles a month. "We haven't heard as much about what's in store for smaller dealers."
But Lincoln assured its dealers that the small, often rural dealers still have an important place in the brand's future.
Kidd said a dealer from a small market stood up at the meeting to ask Lincoln officials about their role in Lincoln's future.
Jim Farley, Ford's vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said after the meeting that the dealer's question prompted a hearty endorsement of small dealers.
Farley recalled telling the assembled dealers: "We all believe that the smaller dealers who represent Lincoln today give that personalized experience that no one in a larger dealership can match."
He added: "It is really our moment to use our smallness as an advantage. We're not trying to sell 300,000 luxury cars."
Lincoln's retail approach, he said, "won't be a big-box experience" where it's "Take a number and sit in our lounge."
• Lincoln praises small dealers
• Personalized customer service is essential
You can reach Bradford Wernle at firstname.lastname@example.org.