Ford’s luxury brand says it’s satisfied with its success in China, but is going to moderate its dealer network growth in 2017. The news comes just as Lincoln successfully doubles its dealership network in 2016 to 65 stores in China, exceeding original expectations.
Because of the accelerated growth last year, Lincoln apparently wants to cool off on dealership growth this year according to Lincoln President Kumar Galhotra.
“The growth in the network won’t be as aggressive,” he told Automotive News. “We’re being very prudent. We don’t want to end up overdealering certain cities, so we have a very specific plan, city by city, but we won’t be doubling the network this year.”
Ford has not disclosed how many Lincoln stores the company would prefer to have in China.
Lincoln is likely walking a fine line at the moment with Lincoln in China. The brand currently imports its entire lineup to China from North America, meaning each product is burdened with a 25-percent import tariff from the Chinese government. This likely puts pricing pressure on Lincoln’s products versus rivals who product product locally.
Galhotra told Automotive News that Ford has options to produce Lincoln products in China if the scale is there to justify it. He declined to say what level of scale Ford needs to start rolling Lincolns off assembly lines in China.
Another variable Lincoln is likely closely watching is the relationship between the Trump Administration and Chinese government. If a trade war between the two nations looms, importing Lincolns to China may become more difficult.