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Ford summons dealers to discuss Lincoln´s future


Ford Motor Co.  plans to host a meeting for its Lincoln dealers in early October to discuss its plans for re-energizing a brand that has long trailed luxury market competitors such as Cadillac and Mercedes.

The meeting set for Oct. 4 at Ford headquarters comes as the automaker prepares to phase out its Mercury brand and continues negotiations with dealers on compensation for dropping the brand.

"It will be a Lincoln update. It´s more about giving dealers a look how Ford will now work with Lincoln as an exclusive, luxury brand," Ford spokesman Christian Bokich said of the planned dealer meeting.

Of the roughly 1,700 Mercury dealerships, most are paired with Ford or Ford and Lincoln. But as of the end of July there were about 264 Lincoln-Mercury dealerships.

Many of those dealers have depended on Mercury for the bulk of their sales and some see an uncertain future when they are reliant only on Lincoln.

Mercury dealers have been in ongoing discussions with Ford over compensation. Some dealers have been offered payouts of $300,000 to $400,000 each in a bid by Ford to avoid a drawn-out legal battle, a person familiar with the discussions has said.

Bokich said it would not be clear how many Lincoln dealers would emerge as stand-alone sales points for the brand until after the Oct. 4 meeting.

He declined to comment on compensation being offered to Mercury franchise holders, saying those negotiations were ongoing.

Source: http://www.autonews.com/

Posted on Friday, September 10, 2010 @ 15:32:10 LKT

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