LOS ANGELES — Retail sales of the Lincoln Town Car will continue to slide in 2008 as the model becomes primarily a fleet vehicle, a Lincoln Mercury marketing executive says.
"We'll sell fewer Town Cars next year than this year, but we'll fill the natural retail demand," Mike Richards, Lincoln Mercury general marketing manager, said at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Town Car comes back from a seven-month production hiatus in January. Ford Motor Co. will move production of Lincoln's stalwart full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan to its St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant. The automaker shuttered the Town Car's former assembly plant in Wixom, Mich., in May.
Lincoln executives already have told dealers that retail sales of the Town Car will be minimal when production resumes. Lincoln is offering dealers one retail trim series.
Richards said he doesn't have a projection for total Town Car sales in 2008 because he's not yet sure of demand from fleet buyers.
Through October, Lincoln sold 26,057 Town Cars, down 19.2 percent from the same period in 2006. As of mid-November, just 237 Town Cars remained in dealership stocks, Richards said. Lincoln will end 2007 with about 10,000 Town Cars sold to retail customers, he said.
Even though that total will shrink in 2008, Lincoln aims to lure current Town Car owners with the 2009 MKS sedan. The front-wheel-drive MKS goes on sale next summer. c