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Ford Will Ask Lincoln Dealers to Upgrade Showrooms

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Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. will ask its Lincoln dealers to upgrade their showrooms and improve customer treatment to help invigorate the brand that ranks eighth among luxury car lines in the U.S.

The 1,187 Lincoln dealers have been called to Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, on Oct. 4 to discuss the brand’s future, said Christian Bokich, a company spokesman. This is the first meeting of Ford’s Lincoln dealers in more than two years, he said. Ford is discontinuing its mid-level Mercury line at the end of the year, which most Lincoln dealers also sold.

“This is a real business discussion, it’s not a pep rally,” Bokich said. “This is a discussion about the initiatives Lincoln will take and what will be expected of the Lincoln dealers since Mercury is no longer on the horizon.”

The new expectations will include improving customer service and renovating showrooms as Ford introduces seven new or improved Lincoln models in the next four years, Bokich said. The new models include a small car, which dealers won’t be shown, Bokich said.

Lincoln’s U.S. sales have risen 4.7 percent this year, while sales of Ford-brand cars and trucks have gained 20 percent, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Total U.S. light vehicles have increased 8.4 percent this year, Autodata said.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus, the top-selling luxury line in the U.S., sold 145,490 cars and trucks this year through August, compared with 55,776 for Lincoln.

Reuters reported earlier that Lincoln dealers would be meeting.

To contact the reporter on this story: Keith Naughton in Detroit at knaughton3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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