Lincoln has rolled out an executive fleet pilot program with 50 of its dealers with several new fleet sales initiatives to accompany a refreshed vehicle lineup.
While dealers in five Lincoln sales regions will serve as the backbone of the Lincoln Executive Business Program, the brand has also appointed a fleet sales manager, increased its incentives on 2016 model-year vehicles and implemented a dealer incentive program for courtesy deliveries.
The program arrives at a time when Lincoln has introduced four new vehicles in four years, including the second-generation 2013-MY MKZ mid-size sedan, 2015-MY MKC compact SUV, second-generation 2016-MY MKX mid-size SUV, and 2017-MY Continental full-size sedan.
"This program will create a dealer network to focus and create the processes to serve the executive fleets and fleet customers," said Crucita Santiago Santana, Lincoln's executive and business sales manager. "We have great product coming out. Having the right product with the brand transformation we're going through, it's the right time for us to work with our dealer network for them to prospect for executive fleets."
As part of the program that began in November, 50 Lincoln dealers were chosen in the brand's five regions based in Dallas, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
Lincoln has assigned consultants who will visit these dealers help them better understand the fleet business and put a process in place that will make them "a good resource for executives and fleet management companies," Santiago Santana said. Lincoln has also begun offering an incentive per vehicle for courtesy deliveries.
For 2017-MY vehicles, Lincoln will offer a pickup and delivery service for executives who need service or repairs so they don't have to leave the office.
Lincoln has also begun making inroads with fleet management companies and corporations. Last year, Lincoln began a vehicle demo program that allows company executives a chance to test drive a Lincoln for several weeks. An internal survey showed a 30% increase in the driver giving the vehicle a "favorable" rating after driving it.
In the past six months, Lincoln vehicles have been added to 30 new selector lists, and in the past two months a West Coast pharmaceutical company has added almost 70 MKC or MKZ vehicles.
And Lincoln has raised fleet incentives for 2016-MY vehicles, while it continues to develop fleet incentives for the 2017-MY vehicles, including the Continental, which has been designed as more of a driver's car so it can reach executives, Santiago Santana said.
On Dec. 1, Lincoln increased incentives for its 2016-MY MKZ, Navigator, and MKC to $3,500, $3,500, and $2,500 respectively. The MKX incentive remains at $2,000. Companies must have an FIN (Ford Identification Number) code to gain eligibility. Ford assigns FIN codes to companies who buy at least five vehicles a year or have at least 15 vehicles in operation.
With Santiago Santana, Lincoln now has a manager dedicated to fleet sales. Santiago Santana took the new position in March of 2015, after working in Ford's Puerto Rico unit.