Lincoln Closes 100 Dealerships, Targets Further Reductions

The brand is shifting its focus on exclusive, luxury experience-oriented dealerships.

Lincoln-dealerships-closing
Lincoln's move mirrors a broader trend in the luxury automotive market, focusing on quality and exclusivity over quantity.

In an effort to refine its brand presence and keep pace with luxury market dynamics, Lincoln announced Jan. 25 it closed approximately 100 U.S. dealerships last year, a record number for the company, as it aims to realign its retail footprint with that of other premium brands.

Lincoln, the luxury arm of the Ford Motor Co., is undergoing this transformation through individual negotiations with dealers, said Anika Salceda-Wycoco, a spokesperson for Lincoln. However, details of these buyouts remain undisclosed.

The decision follows a period where Lincoln's U.S. sales dipped by 2% in 2023, reaching nearly 82,000 vehicles, contrasting with a 9% increase in Cadillac sales and a near 24% surge for Lexus.

"Our priority is to be where the luxury clients are and where the luxury market is," said Salceda-Wycoco.

The reduction in dealership count is part of a broader, multi-year consolidation strategy. Lincoln ended 2023 with about 500 dealerships, a significant decrease from 685 in 2021. The brand's goal is to bring this number down to approximately 400 by the end of this year.

This shift is also seen in the brand's focus on exclusive, luxury experience-oriented dealerships. Currently, Lincoln boasts 164 brand-exclusive locations, including 58 boutique-style "vitrine" stores, with plans to add 23 more this year.

The trend of dealership closures is not unique to Lincoln. Buick, part of General Motors Co., reported a 47% reduction in its dealer count after initiating a buyout program in 2022. This program brought down Buick's U.S. dealers from 2,000. Cadillac also saw a significant reduction in its dealer count through a similar initiative.

Automotive News initially reported these developments in the luxury automobile sector, highlighting the industry's ongoing adjustments to meet changing consumer preferences and market conditions. Lincoln's move mirrors a broader trend in the luxury automotive market, focusing on quality and exclusivity over quantity.

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