Lincoln dealers need to invest $900,000 on chargers and other upgrades if they want to sell the brand’s upcoming electric vehicles.
That’s more than quadruple what rival Cadillac is mandating from its dealers, Automotive News reports, with the requirement mainly covering the costs of installing EV chargers for public use as well as in-house sales and service needs. The news was brought to dealers this month by Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley and other executives at a meeting in Las Vegas.
The problem is most Lincoln dealers also have Ford brand stores, which are separately required to spend up to $1.2 million on upgrades to sell electric vehicles. This means that a dealer who sells both Ford and Lincoln EVs, even if it does so under one roof, might have to spend more than $2 million to sell EVs beyond 2023.
While Lincoln does not yet sell any battery-powered vehicles and isn’t expected to for several more years, executives say they need to prepare now to attract younger buyers, who are more open to luxury EVs, according to company research.
“We’ve got to keep evolving. We need to make sure over the next couple of years, as we’re preparing for that EV future, that we’re ready when those clients start to come into the market.”
Michael Sprague, North America director of Lincoln, for Automotive News:
While Ford is letting dealers pick from two different investment levels, Lincoln is dividing its network of 650 stores into two camps based on the size of their market. Dealerships in the top 130 markets must spend roughly $900,000 to install two DC fast chargers and seven Level 2 chargers, while stores in smaller markets must spend about $500,000 for one DC charger and four Level 2 chargers.
Lincoln has 252 stores in the top markets, which account for 90 percent of luxury sales, and approximately 400 stores in smaller markets. Regardless of their area, dealerships that make the necessary investments will be allowed to sell an unlimited number of EVs.
Lincoln dealers have until December 15 to make a decision on the EV certification program, which will run from late 2024 until 2026. Another enrollment period will open near the end of 2026 and start in 2027.
Dealers who choose not to opt in can maintain their franchise selling only gasoline models. As previously reported, Lincoln doesn’t plan to offer buyouts to dealers who don’t want to invest in EV chargers, unlike Cadillac and Buick.
Lincoln has pledged to launch three EVs globally by 2025 and add a fourth in 2026, with executives expecting almost 90 percent of Lincoln’s volume in North America to be fully electric by 2030.