MKZ is MIA so Lincoln offers spiffs on MKS, MKT
DETROIT -- Lincoln dealers will get up to $1,000 per MKT and MKS sold in February and March, $500 for certain lease or finance contracts on those models, plus a one-time cash payment, Matt VanDyke, global director of Lincoln, told dealers in a closed-circuit telecast Feb. 1.
The cash aims to compensate dealers who have been hurt financially by the delayed launch of the 2013 MKZ sedan, which was to have arrived in dealerships in December but is only trickling in now.
"Clearly the changeover at the plant has not gone as smoothly as we had planned," Van Dyke said in the broadcast. "That being said, Lincoln's No. 1 priority is to deliver world-class craftsmanship and quality. We get the chance to relaunch the Lincoln brand once, and we have to get it right."
A new quality-inspection process at the Hermosillo, Mexico, assembly plant could not keep up with cars coming off the line, VanDyke said. So Lincoln is in the midst of shipping five weeks worth of production to Ford Motor Co.'s Flat Rock, Mich., plant for the final quality inspection.
He said Hermosillo is now building MKZs at full production levels, and "we expect to see close to 3,000 vehicles in February and up to 7,000 total by the end of March" delivered to dealerships.
For dealerships in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas that have retail orders for Feb. 4-23, Ford will conduct final inspections in Hermosillo "to minimize wait times," he said. All other vehicles will be sent to Flat Rock. The Flat Rock inspections are a temporary measure, but all Lincolns will go through the more detailed inspection henceforth, a spokesman said.
To help dealers while they wait, Lincoln is offering them $500 cash on the first MKS or MKT they sell this month, $750 for the second and $1,000 for every one thereafter. The program restarts March 1. Payments are on top of any other incentives.
Also, for each lease or finance contract issued for an MKS or MKT this month and next, Lincoln Automotive Financial Services will pay $500 to dealers who have floorplanned with it or Ford Motor Credit.
VanDyke acknowledged that the delayed MKZ launch has been a burden to dealers. So Lincoln will give dealers a one-time cash payment to help them be financially prepared for the launch of the MKZ, he said. The payment will be based on a formula that considers a dealership's average monthly Lincoln sales in 2012 and the percentage of total sales -- including Ford-brand sales if the store is a Ford-Lincoln dual -- that the MKZ represented.
For example, a dealer who averaged 10 MKZs a month last year and for whom the MKZ counted as 27 percent of sales would get a lump sum of $40,000, VanDyke said.
He also pledged to give dealers better tools to track the status of their vehicles.
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