Lincoln Mercury President Darryl Hazel: "It is in everybody's best interest to have a healthier Lincoln business."
The average bonus to Lincoln dealers will go from about $1,200 per car to about $800 per car, said George Benson, chairman of the Lincoln Mercury national dealer council. Lincoln will pay the bonus in one lump sum at the end of each year. The amount equals 2 percent of the wholesale price of each vehicle ordered by the dealer throughout the year.
Better than nothing
"At least we got something, and something is better than nothing," said Benson, dealer principal at Benson Lincoln-Mercury in Whitehall, Pa. "As far as the Lincoln dealers are concerned, the Lincoln portion is pretty much what we asked for."
Ford Motor Co. briefed dealers on its new Lincoln Elite plan and its new Blue Oval plan on Friday, Aug. 20. Ford had told dealers in December 2002 that existing bonus payments would be phased out after March 2005 because it could no longer afford them.
Bonuses to Ford and Mercury dealers will drop by nearly half with the changes to Blue Oval. The current bonus - 1.25 percent of base sticker price - is available only to certified dealers who meet certain customer service requirements. Ford will move to new bonuses based on sales targets. The new bonus is available to all dealers regardless of certification.
Lincoln dealers get the same plan as Ford and Mercury dealers. But they get the additional 2 percent bonus. Under the current plan, certified Lincoln dealers get a bonus of as much as 2.75 percent of sticker price.
The new Lincoln bonus is open to all dealers regardless of certification. Benson said the dealer council is trying to speed up the frequency of payments from once a year to two or three times a year.
Dealers had feared losing all bonus payments next April.
"I really tried to listen closely and come up with something that improves the financial viability of the dealer body now and going into the future," said Lincoln Mercury President Darryl Hazel. "It is in everybody's best interest to have a healthier Lincoln business."
Other highlights of the new Blue Oval and Lincoln Elite programs: