In 2018, Lincoln asked 150 Ford-Lincoln dealerships in its 30 biggest American markets to make plans for a standalone showroom by July 2019, and inaugurate it by July 2021. Of those stores, 72 signed on — but the others resisted, partly because the move requires investing millions of dollars. Lincoln put the campaign on hiatus in December 2018, and now Automotive News has learned it's ready to relaunch the plan after finding a middle ground that satisfies both executives and store owners.
The publication said dealers gained more freedom to choose how big of a store they build; square foot requirements are no longer tied to the market size. Lincoln also agreed to treat dealers who don't comply more fairly, notably by reducing financial penalties, and it made the aforementioned deadlines more flexible. Standalone Lincoln stores must now be completed by July 2022.