NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Lincoln is halfway through its six-year plan to triple its annual sales to 300,000 vehicles globally by 2020.
One key to achieving that goal? A retail space that doesn't sell anything, in a part of the country where Lincolns are few and far between.
About 100,000 people have wandered into Lincoln's 5,200-square-foot slice of Fashion Island, a tony outdoor mall overlooking the Pacific Ocean, since it opened in July 2016. It's a high-traffic area surrounded by Nike, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Whole Foods and Hopdoddy, a craft burger bar.
The Lincoln Experience Center, as it's known, sits in an especially affluent part of swanky Orange County — the heart of enemy territory for a domestic luxury brand.
A Tesla gallery is just steps away. Fletcher Jones Motorcars, which bills itself as the country's largest Mercedes-Benz dealership, is just a short drive up Jamboree Road, and Crevier BMW, one of the largest BMW retailers, is a few miles farther inland, in Santa Ana.