Lincoln will be offering cash assistance to its dealers in an effort to help them retain customers who experienced delays in receiving their Lincoln MKZ sedans. The payments are expected to help dealers compensate customers who rented cars after their leases expired or who had to extend their leases while they waited for their Lincoln MKZs.
Kevin Cour, Lincoln sales and service manager, acknowledged that a number of customers who have placed orders have extended their existing lease multiple months as they wait for their new vehicles. Cour said that the cash assistance will allow dealers to become financially flexible to take care of customers in a personal way. He said that Lincoln will assess how much of the dealers' total new vehicle business is attributable to the MKZ.
Then Lincoln will provide a payment relative to assessment. Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of US marketing, sales and service, told dealers last week that Lincoln had already shipped batches of MKZs from Ford’s Hermosillo plant in Mexico to its Flat Rock site in Michigan for quality inspections. Lincoln would do the same for all of the Hermosillo's Lincoln output from Jan. 28 to the week of Feb. 25, 2013.
Ford is also building its redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion mid-sized sedan at its Hermosillo plant on the same platform as the MKZ. The MKZ rivals the MKX as the best-selling Lincoln. However, sales of the MKZ dropped by 73% in January 2013 as dealers’ 2012 supply ran out. According to Bill Knight, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, most dealers understand the delay even though many of them are frustrated. He said that dealers would not let timing undermine quality, leading them to support the Lincoln’s decision.