Lincoln to get new tag line
IRVINE, Calif. - Lincoln will unveil a new advertising tag line this summer with the advertising launch of its LS sedan: 'Lincoln. American Luxury.' Deborah Wahl, Lincoln Mercury's new marketing communications manager, said the new tag will be added to all other ads as vehicles and brand campaigns launch later this year.
When asked why Lincoln is dropping 'What a luxury car should be' after more than a decade, she explained the brand wants to focus on its heritage. Lincoln is studying whether to use the tag globally when it starts a push abroad, expected next year.
Dealer spins off 20% of store
Dealer Tim Ciasulli last week spun off 20 percent of his Planet Honda dealership in Union, N.J., in an employee stock ownership plan.
Ciasulli funded the plan with a $13 million loan from Falcon Financial LLC in Stamford, Conn. In effect, Ciasulli lends the money to the employee stock ownership plan to buy the stock. The dealership makes annual tax-deductible contributions to a trust to pay off the loan. Ciasulli gets the tax deduction plus a good tool for retaining employees, since it takes seven years to be fully vested. The 154 employees get what amounts to a retirement plan, without out-of-pocket contributions.
'What led me to the (employee stock plan) was to try and do something to better prepare my employees for retirement,' Ciasulli said. He said the industry does not do well at preparing employees for retirement. The few dealership employee stock ownership plans in the country are typically formed by the surviving spouse after a dealer dies.
Autobytel.com, Toyota in deal
LOS ANGELES - Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and Autobytel.com Inc. will team up to sell extended-service contracts for vehicles purchased through the Autobytel.com Web site.
Toyota Motor Insurance Services, a Toyota subsidiary, will have service contract information integrated in Autobytel.com's online purchasing process, which refers prospective consumers to dealers. When customers enter a purchase request for a Toyota, they also may request various levels of extended-service contracts.
Toyota Motor Insurance Services sold about 257,000 extended-service contracts in 1998. The company declined to say how many it expects to sell through the new arrangement. Autobytel.com claims this is the first linking of an automotive e-commerce company and an automaker to sell such contracts online.