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Lincoln National Dealer Council Chairman Discusses Brand’s 2017 Potential

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Lincoln Navigator Concept

Chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council Luis Somoano tells Automotive News that while 2016 represented the Lincoln brand’s biggest step forward since the recession, 2017 will likely represent an even bigger step forward.

Speaking with Auto News Staff Reporter Michael Martinez, Somoano, 53, spoke about the kind of customer who tends to purchase the new 2017 Continental, the interest in and challenges presented by the Navigator Concept, and what he feels are the biggest white spaces in Lincoln’s lineup.

With regards to customers interested in the relaunched Continental, Somoano observes “a lot of new middle-age buyers, between 40-55” as well as “people that owned luxury cars before, like the German makes, even Japanese makes and Cadillac, too.”

Of the Navigator Concept, Somoano says that the buzz it garnered presents a surprising challenge in that casual consumers believe that it is a vehicle they can come in and buy off of the lot.

“People are coming and wondering when the car is coming out. I have a lot of customers with the current Navigator who are waiting for the new Navigator. That creates some challenge to the sell-down of the Navigator we have right now,” said Somano. “[The next-generation Navigator] is probably going to be the most important product we’ve released in my time with Lincoln. I’m looking forward to it and a lot of customers are looking forward to it.”

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As far as shoring up Lincoln’s current lineup, Somoano did not offer specific examples, but he did not that there is a “need to react depending on what the competition does. Lincoln realizes that’s something we need to keep pushing and pushing. We know that if we can add a couple more cars to the lineup, we can sell more cars. They know it, too, and we’re working together to have a great future for both the factory and us.”

Additionally, he estimates that Black Label vehicles account for upwards of 8% of his sales but are considerably more profitable, that the ad campaign featuring Matthew McConaughey has been a godsend in terms of interest, and that the brand’s biggest challenge in 2017 will be continuing to pull in conquest sales.

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News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)