DEARBORN, Mich., June 21 (UPI) -- Ford Motor Co. said it was ready to commit $1 billion to develop new Lincoln luxury models through 2014, auto dealers said.
In meetings with dealers in recent weeks, Ford executives said they were not giving up on the company's luxury brand, which sold fewer than 35,000 vehicles January through May this year, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
Last year, Ford said it wanted to trim its Lincoln dealerships in major cities from about 500 to 325. Ford also asked dealerships to spend $1 million on upgrades to their showrooms, in anticipation of a renewed focus on Lincolns. But no new Lincolns have made it to market yet, the News said.
Some doubt the brand, which expects to sell about 80,000 vehicles this year, will survive. Ford ended its Mercury brand last year.
General Motors Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson recently said, "You might as well sprinkle holy water. It's over."
One dealership owner, Bob Tasca Jr., president of Tasca Automotive Group in Rhode Island said he was "very positive" about Ford's commitment to the brand.
"They have a ways to go, but you gotta believe it," he said.