"As part of its transformation plan, Lincoln is making changes to the 2019 Lincoln Commitment Program, asking dealers in the key luxury markets to shift to brand exclusive facilities," Lincoln said in an e-mailed statement.
"This change is driven by research that show nearly 80 percent of luxury clients prefer to shop for luxury vehicles in a brand exclusive environment and is designed to enhance the luxury client experience and drive growth for Lincoln. The National Lincoln Dealer Council has been included in these discussions over the past 12+ months, and have provided their support."
But the California association calls the policies "egregious" following past encouragement for dealers to spend millions of dollars to build dual Ford-Lincoln stores and because Lincoln's market share in California at 0.3 percent fails to justify constructing a separate facility, given low sales figures and the high cost of land in the state.
California law restricts automakers from prohibiting dealers from maintaining separate sales and service operations for multiple brands at the same facility, prohibits automakers from requiring dealers to build standalone stores if doing so would be unreasonable given all existing circumstances including economic conditions and prohibits manufacturers from "coercing dealers into engaging in acts that are prejudicial to their dealers by threatening to terminate agreements with their dealers," according to the letter.
"It is plainly apparent that Ford/Lincoln is implementing these policies to coerce dealers into separating their dualed Ford-Lincoln dealerships," Maas wrote in the letter.
It says that of the about 38 Lincoln dealers in California, about 33 operate dual Ford-Lincoln dealerships, meaning an anti-dualing policy affects most California Lincoln dealers.