Lincoln Motor Co. on Thursday unveiled its first three stores in China, with dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. The automaker will open five more stores in the country by the end of this year, with plans for 60 stores in 50 cities by 2016.
The openings also marked the official unveiling of The Lincoln Way, a customer service approach three years in the making and based on research across luxury retailing experiences from different sectors including hospitality.
“The launch of The Lincoln Way and our first Lincoln stores in China marks an important milestone for Lincoln’s reinvention as a global luxury automotive brand,” says Kumar Galhotra, president of Lincoln. “The Lincoln Way demonstrates how a storied brand with a nearly 100-year history is innovating for our Chinese customers while staying true to our roots of personal service. Our Lincoln customers will not only get the very best when it comes to product, but also when it comes to the entire ownership experience.”
Key elements of The Lincoln Way include a dedicated Lincoln team; a welcoming, home-like environment featuring a tea room; intuitive personalized technology; and complete sales and service transparency.
Each store will also include a personalization studio, featuring a 46-inch interactive LCD touch screen that projects a near life-size image of the vehicle. This allows customers, through controls on a nearby table, to visually explore models, colors, and features and configure the desired vehicle both inside and out before making a selection.
Lincoln guests are also able to make test-drive appointments of a specific model and available powertrain online or at any Lincoln dealership, with test-drive routes tailored to each guest’s personal needs.
“Our extensive study of the new luxury customer in China revealed a unique opportunity for Lincoln in the luxury auto market,” says Robert Parker, president of Lincoln China. “As a new brand entering the market in China, Lincoln has a great opportunity to differentiate itself by combining great products with a new way of purchasing and owning a luxury vehicle.”
The Lincoln stores in China will first offer MKC small premium utility vehicle and the MKZ midsize premium sedan. They will be followed by the Lincoln MKX, the Lincoln Navigator, and an all-new full-size luxury sedan, all released by 2016.
In related news, Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing chief, will switch positions with Stephen Odell, who leads the automaker’s European operations.