Lincoln is telling its dealers to invest in upgrades to sell electric cars or bail out of the brand now.
Details of the policy, which appears similar to what parent Ford is doing with its dealers, were first reported by Automotive News (subscription required), but were confirmed to Motor Authority by Lincoln spokesperson Anika Salceda-Wycoco.
Lincoln is offering its dealers the option to enroll in one of two tiers based on their market size. Dealers in the top 130 markets will be expected to invest just under $900,000 on upgrades to sell EVs; all other dealers will be expected to spend just under $500,000.
Lincoln L100 Concept
Some of that money will go to charging infrastructure, including both DC fast-charging stations and Level 2 AC stations. The amount of charging stations will be determined by the dealership tier.
Dealers will also have to agree to non-negotiable pricing, a single point of contact for customers, and a greater online presence for sales and service.
Those dealers that accept these terms can enroll starting this month. The enrollment period runs through December 15. After that date, dealers won't have another opportunity to return to the Lincoln brand until a second enrollment period opens in 2026.
2023 Lincoln Corsair
Dealers that opt out of either enrollment period will have to stop selling Lincolns when the brand shifts to EVs. Lincoln will unveil its first EV later this year, expected to be an all-electric version of the Aviator. Four more will reportedly follow by 2026, including an electric Navigator, on the way to an all-EV lineup by 2026.
Elements of Lincoln's dealer plan, such as non-negotiable pricing, tier-based EV investments, and enrollment periods, carry over from the plan recently discussed by parent Ford's Model E electric business unit. Lincoln's showrooms and service centers will remain separate from Model E stores.
General Motors offered buyouts to Cadillac dealers that didn't want to get onboard with that brand's EV shift, without about one-third opting to give up their franchises rather than sell EVs, which would also require some level of added investment. GM is offering Buick dealers buyouts as well, with both brands expected to be all-electric by the end of the decade.