When dealers attended the Lincoln make meeting last year, the atmosphere was gloomy. That was also the case in the past years. In 2013, dealers were hoping to hear good things, especially about the rollout of the Lincoln MKZ, the first vehicle bearing the brand’s new design DNA. But things went awry as glitches delayed the rollout by three months.
Dealers, however, were optimistic at this year’s Lincoln make meeting. "This was by far the most optimistic Lincoln make meeting we've had in an awfully long time," said Bill Knight, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council and owner of Bill Knight Lincoln in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This could be due to the fact that Lincoln management has assured dealers that lessons learned from the MKZ launch will be applied to vehicles being launched this year, including the new 2015 MKC compact crossover in the second quarter and the re-engineered Navigator SUV in the fall.
"We've really learned a lot," Jim Farley, Ford's global vice president of marketing, sales, service and Lincoln, said following the meeting.
On the part of the dealers, they are hoping the launches this year will go smoothly and increase Lincoln's sales. Nathaniel Sutton, president of Sutton Ford-Lincoln in Matteson, Ill,. remarked that he expects his Lincoln sales to leap 20 to 50 percent in 2015. During the meeting, Lincoln executives have discussed plans to enter China in 2014 and what they mean to US dealers.
"We want them to understand why it's important," Matt VanDyke, director global Lincoln marketing, sales and service, remarked, noting that China helps give Lincoln the scale to roll out product programs. Lincoln also has commenced a number of customer service programs like the Lincoln Concierge 24-hour online service that helps customers shop for cars.