Writer Amanda Christmann // Photography by Carl Schultz
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s time marches on, so has the way we live. Online ordering and same-day delivery have changed the way we shop, Zoom meetings have eliminated the need for office spaces, and mobile apps have replaced the need to stand in bank teller lines or even sit down at restaurants.
In all of our efficiency, we are lacking the one thing we need most: connection.
David and Jill Kimmerle haven’t lost sight of the important things — family, friends and community — and they’re betting that plenty of other people feel the same.
The Kimmerles, who are best known first for their charitable giving and second as the faces behind Sanderson Ford, are counting on the fact that personal experience will never be replaced, and they’re taking a cue from history.
100 Years Ago …
A little over a century ago, the Lincoln Motor Company was struggling. Launched during World War I as an airplane engine manufacturer, the company struggled to transition into peaceful times.
In late 1920, about a year after the war ended, Lincoln produced its first automobile — the Model L. Production was slow and profits trickled in even more slowly.
Henry Ford purchased Lincoln Motor Company for half of its $16 million value in 1922, and a now-familiar name, Edsel Ford, took over much of the management. His goal was to create a line of luxury vehicles to rival the biggest names of the time — Duesenberg, Marmon, Peerless, Packard and Pierce-Arrow, but he had a long way to go.
From its outset, the Model L was considered by many consumers to be too conservative — even outdated. It wasn’t the sleek and fast (relatively speaking) cars that Ford and Cadillac were producing, and it didn’t have the coachbuilt luxury that Duesenberg or Rolls-Royce had rolled out. It had yet to find its niche.
Edsel Ford rolled up his sleeves and made changes. He didn’t take the route other carmakers were going. Instead, he took a look at what no one else was doing and decided to forge his own path.
Other makers were lowering manufacturing costs in order to sell cars as cheaply as possible. Instead, Ford upgraded the Lincoln. He started by building a huge new factory and honed the manufacturing process for efficiency.
He spiffed up the design of the Model L and offered customers the same level of customization that made Duesenberg, Marmon, Peerless, Packard and Pierce-Arrow household names in luxury vehicles. They listened to their buyers and built relationships, and their efforts paid off.
Within one year, the company turned a profit. The next year, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge could be seen riding in his Lincoln Model L — the first state limousine to be used by a president.
By 1930, the Lincoln Motor Company had truly found its place at the top of American carmakers. It had found its own niche and would remain at the top for many years.
But time never stops and change is the only constant. In recent years, despite inarguably maintaining “nice” luxury vehicles, the Lincoln brand has struggled to emerge from its pedantic image and onto American roads.
Just four years ago, the company re-launched a beautiful new version of its Continental luxury sedan to a market that was moving away from cars and into bolder, bigger SUVs. Though the launch was well-executed and with the help of famous Hollywood actor Matthew McCaughey, the brand still struggled to find relevance with buyers.
This year, Lincoln execs made the tough decision to switch to an entirely SUV-based lineup. For sellers like the Valley’s Sanderson Lincoln and its CEO David Kimmerle, rolling with the changes has been a challenge; but like Edsel Ford did so long ago, he and wife Jill have done it their own way.
What Comes Around Goes Around
When local residents hear the name “Sanderson,” they think cars — but they also think community.
Sanderson Lincoln and Ford have become synonymous with good works. Countless organizations throughout Arizona that help children or veterans have benefited from the company’s $1 million per year charitable giving goal.
In addition, events like the Cave Creek Rodeo, polo matches, Restaurant Week, Fashion Week, and presentations at Musical Instrument Museum have been made possible due in part to the generosity of the Kimmerles.
In Carefree, the Kimmerles built Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion to bring people together, and the outdoor stage has hosted everything from theater to the annual Halloween festival.
Throughout the metro area, they’ve used their gifts and talents to promote the arts, enjoy friends and neighbors, and encourage the one-on-one interactions that have been lost to technology.
The Kimmerles believe that they’ve got more than cars to sell. They’ve got experiences to share, and a luxury line of vehicles that deserves a second look, listen and touch.
Over the last couple of years as Lincoln redefined their buyer and modified their message, the Kimmerles were less interested in following the flashy new showroom trend that’s taken over auto rows from Los Angeles to New York. They wanted to bring back the personal experience so many of us remember from days gone by.
“In the luxury lines, people are automatically going to BMW, Audi and Mercedes,” David says. “But now Lincoln is back with a beautiful luxury product. But who knows about Lincoln? When people are looking for a luxury brand, who says, ‘Let’s go to a Lincoln dealership?’”
To encourage the shift, and in the same spirit of innovation that carried Lincoln this far, they launched the nation’s first full-service Sanderson Lincoln Boutique at Scottsdale Quarter.
Located among trendy restaurants and fashionable clothing stores, shoppers can step inside the one-of-a-kind shop, enjoy a cup of coffee and experience what sitting in the lap of luxury truly feels like.
Sure, shoppers can see the company’s four models — including the flagship Navigator, which earned 2021’s MotorTrend #1 Luxury 3-Row SUV of the Year. And, of course, they can take one of those or an Aviator, Nautilus or Corsair for a spin.
But beyond that, they can check out what Lincoln is all about in a no-pressure, friendly kind of way that simply isn’t part of the culture at a modern car dealership.
“People walk by the boutique and say, ‘Let’s just see it,’” Jill says. “That’s what we want you to do. If you’re thinking about purchasing a luxury car, of course we want you to see Lincoln — but not in a pressured experience.”
In fact, even though the boutique is the first in the nation to actually sell cars, there are no salespeople in sight. Each and every one of the boutique’s employees was hired from the hospitality industry, and their focus is solely to share what Lincoln has to offer.
A Reflection of the Community
After more than 100 years of making and selling cars, Lincoln has a lot that makes it stand out.
The interior of the Sanderson Lincoln Boutique is a reflection of the community it serves. Visitors can browse art from local galleries, check out local events and updates on a video screen, and enjoy coffee, tea or infused water. They can even relax and enjoy the cool air in warm summer months, with no pressure to so much as peek inside the window of a new car.
Culinary events, author signings, high-end jewelry and designer premieres complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres are all in the plans for this fun concept shop. They’ll even bring the fun to your door with in-home cooking or designer demonstrations — all transported, of course, in a beautiful Lincoln.
For those who want to check out all Lincoln has to offer, they can touch, see, smell and hear all of the options firsthand. They can also piece together their dream vehicle on a virtual screen while sitting in comfortable chairs.
Whether or not a Lincoln will eventually end up in their driveway really isn’t the point. The Kimmerles are interested in reintroducing the Lincoln name into the luxury car-buying conversation.
For those who would rather check out a new car from the comfort of their own homes, Sanderson’s got that covered too. Customers can build a car virtually from their favorite chair and a Sanderson hospitality host will bring it right to their door for a test drive or to hand off the keys.
Sanderson Lincoln has earned the designation of Lincoln’s top Black Label dealer in the nation; and Black Label service really does surpass expectations. Lincoln staff meets customers where they are — at their homes or offices — for service calls, to program garage door openers and key codes, sync phones and gate openers, or to drop off loaner vehicles when needed. Anytime car washes and premium maintenance come standard with Black Label service.
Exclusive Black Label themes like Yacht Club, Chalet, Flight and Gala channel buyers’ personalities through mood boards of sorts, packaging premium custom top-end features in stylish and sensible combinations.
Even without Black Label additions, people are impressed and are taking another look at a name they may not have considered in the past.
For the Kimmerles, selling cars is part of the plan but is never the endgame. Ultimately, their desire to do something different and be something better is what has motivated their decision to launch the boutique and to be in the business they’re in — the people business.
And, in the tradition of the innovation that built the Lincoln brand, the Kimmerles are bucking the trend and forging their own path to success.
“It all goes together with who we are,” David says.
Sanderson Lincoln Boutique
at the Scottsdale Quarter
15345 N. Scottsdale Road, #140,