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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    edited December 2011
    Lincoln is down again, about 6,300 sales for the month. A lot is riding on the new MKZ, which has now been delayed until late next year. Can it do what the CTS did for saving Cadillac? I have hopes, but it is needed now, not a year from now. We have already seen the revised MKS and MKT to be out this spring. Given how both designs are locked into bodies the marketplace has already largely rejected, they are unlikely to do any better than the recent MKX revision did. While I like the grill refinements, and the interiors are improved, Ford already knows that a new front clip does not always translate into increased sales. I do hope that they are not counting the MKS and MKT revisions as two of the seven new or substantially redesigned models previously mentioned. I also fear that the Navigator (still using a revised 1998 body design) will be counted among the seven, once they give it a new front clip and the Ecoboost six. Lincoln needs to begin leapfrogging, not this continual and piecemeal struggle to make faltering models more relevant.

    Who knows? Lincoln could still rise (but not with heavily revised current models only). The MKZ sounds like a clean sheet design. There is the proposed Lincoln Escape-based model, which if done well, could outsell the Cadillac SRX (as good as its sales have been, it has design problems that will only become more apparent with time). But nothing else new is proposed for the next year or two.

    Meanwhile, Chrysler has doubled it sales (and all four Chrysler Group brands are up), Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi sales continue to increase, and plebeian companies like Hyundai are horning in on the limited near luxury and luxury markets...plus all cars are just getting better, year by year.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    Lincoln still has the tag of being nothing more than a more expensive Ford. As well as it should be until it proves that Lincoln products are one of a kind in the Ford Motor Company family . Lincoln lacks an air of exclusivity and that is its problem. Ford seems to reverting back to Form so I really have little hope for Lincoln. Case in Point: Ford has announced that the 2015 Mustang will be based on the present platform but will add a IRS that was originally designed to be on the Mustang now in production. Ford just does not want to invest in new or better platforms to keep up with its competition. Expect All Ford's present platforms to gradually improved for the next twenty years . Similar to what Ford did to the Panther platforms.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    There is not going to be a fwd BMW one series. The new model that will be fwd is a sub series that is going to be about 5 inches shorter than the one series. It is to do battle with Audi's A1 series.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    Audi shares platforms with VW and is FWD/AWD (albeit with north-south engines) and nobody complains that they aren't luxury vehicles.

    Ford doesn't have to fix Lincoln overnight because the mainstream brand is very profitable.

    They start by taking the current platforms and giving them 100% unique sheetmetal so they won't be mistaken for a Ford; give them unique powertrains and luxury features to compete with the other luxury brands. Use AWD and ecoboost for high performance. And extend this to multiple vehicles (7).

    Once they do that AND they've improved the dealership experience AND they've had time to sort out their global RWD vehicles, I believe you'll see some RWD lincoln performance vehicles.

    There are rumblings of a mustang and/or Falcon based RWD vehicle being available soon along with some type of hybrid performance model but no confirmation yet.

    This is a long term rebuilding plan as opposed to a quick fix. The MKZ will be the best indication of the future direction.

    The MKS is a lame duck. The D4 car platform (including Taurus) is supposed to be replaced by a longer, possibly wider large car platform built off CD4 (MKZ, Fusion). D4 will most likely stay for CUVs only.

    Patience.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,820
    There is not going to be a fwd BMW one series. The new model that will be fwd is a sub series that is going to be about 5 inches shorter than the one series. It is to do battle with Audi's A1 series.

    My understanding is that BMW is going to really muddy the waters. In 2014, they will introduce the 1 series GT - a FWD five door crossover/coupe in the same vein as the 5 series GT. The current RWD 2 door coupe and convertible will carry one as part of the 1 series. IIRC, the long term plan is to have a full line of FWD/X Drive 1 series with the RWD becoming the 2 series.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,820
    There is the proposed Lincoln Escape-based model, which if done well, could outsell the Cadillac SRX (as good as its sales have been, it has design problems that will only become more apparent with time).

    What problems are those??

    IMHO, the new Escape/Kuga would be too small to compete against the SRX. What Lincoln needs is a better MKX to compete with Cadillac.

    The most important thing in this segment for most buyers is styling. Cadillac is kicking it with art & science.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    Mr. Wolff has been given a free hand to revamp Lincoln, starting with a new version of its midsize MKZ sedan to be revealed at the Detroit auto show in January. Viewed recently at the company’s design studio, the car has a sleek, tapered silhouette, a retractable glass roof and a center console that rises like a ramp off the floor directly into the instrument panel. Even the traditional vertical lines of the grille have been turned horizontally.

    “He is pushing them in a totally different direction,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with the research firm IHS Automotive, who got a sneak preview. “I almost fell over when I saw it.”


    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/business/ford-seeks-to-glamorize-lincoln-vehic- les.html?_r=3&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1322800312-GSNxz5G7sd8O7DSUKSm5ug&pagewanted=- all
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    Audi and VW share the transverse engines on there less exclusive vehicles. Audi does not share platforms on its premium models. I believe that Audi is going rwd with awd on its 2015 models and also Acura has again began to plan for a rwd flagship for the near future. Also, Ford and Chevy can have a luxury model also. But a Lincoln should offer the highest standard of engineering and performance along with luxury that a premium mark is suppose to have. Lincoln should be more than just a better interior and body styles and gadgets that are completely different from a Ford but still share the same Ford platform. So just because there is lipstick on a pig does not change the fact that it still is a pig. AUDI is the name of the company . As I have written before BMW, Auto union or Audi, VW and Daimler Benz don't have individual car brands as we do so they differentiate there vehicles by series # as GM would differentiate Chevy , Buick and then Cadillac. I have read in Motor Trend that there is a serious discussion that in the next three years that Lincoln may be discontinued unless it can pay for itself. Right now, Cadillac has taken the steer by the horns and has planed to invest half a billion dollars on its Flagship Sedan that is due to be on the market in 2016 . Ford does not have that kind of money to do something like that for Lincoln . In hindsight, Ford should have taken the gov't up on its offer to bail them out that way they would have had some funds to follow GM.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    Every vehicle at Ford has to turn a profit - not just Lincoln, so that's old news. They're not revamping Lincoln for fun.

    Lexus survives on ES and RX sales - not LS or GS sales.

    I think Lincoln does deserve and will eventually get a RWD platform - but they don't need one to turn the brand around and be a solid player in the luxury game.

    E.g. - what if the new MKZ comes with AWD with a more constant rear torque split and 400 hp with electronic suspension control, a retractable glass roof and all the new doo-dads PLUS drop-dead styling? Are you going to say it can't be successful because it shares a platform?
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    Lexus is going to have platforms exclusive to Lexus in the next three years.Yes, I am saying that it does not matter if these doodahs can be put or equipped on a lesser vehicle. The only thing that cannot be put on a lesser vehicle is a well engineered platform that puts Lincoln into a class of its own. A platform where if it were to be put on a Ford body the Ford would cost as much as a Lincoln. That is what I mean.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    But Lexus is successful TODAY with mainly the RX and ES - both of which are FWD/AWD based on a Toyota platform. Are you saying that hasn't worked for Lexus at all over the last few years?

    LS, GS and IS sales are very small by comparison.

    And what makes a platform? In the case of the MKZ the only thing it ends up sharing with the Fusion and Mondeo may be the floor pan.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    But that is only if one is looking for sales. If Lexus were only looking for sale than it would not have the LS. With Lexus buyers the high end Lexus is what every buyer of Toyota based Lexus strive for. Lincoln does not have that model. And these Lexus Toyotas don't have the baggage as being seen as higher priced Toyotas which I believe that they are.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    edited December 2011
    I just knew my comments would get this moribund thread going again. People have such strong feelings about these things.

    BTW, there is no conceptual difference between Buick (or Ford) having three sizes of sedans (Lacrosse, Regal, Verano), and Mercedes, BMW and Audi having three sizes. Buick of course is not in their league...more like Acura or Chrysler (which is missing a credible compact). Even though Lincoln only has a midsize (MKZ) and "full-size" (barely...MKS), they likely need a sedan above the MKS in size and price to complete their sedan line. It would be a long time, if ever, for the marketplace to accept the Audi formula in the Lincoln line. Cadillac is heading in that direction though, with the forthcoming ATS to be added in below the CTS.

    The Kuga platform could potentially provide Lincoln with a vehicle that might compete better with the SRX than the MKX does. The SRX is narrower than the MKX, and it does not have impressive interior room, given its dimensions. As for the SRX, it is styled well, but sight lines are pretty bad. A friend of mine was looking to trade his MKX, and test drove the SRX among others. Although he has owned more GM vehicles than anything else, he only drove it a block before knowing it did not have the refined feel he was looking for. He bought an Audi Q5 instead.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    But that is only if one is looking for sales.

    Silly Lincoln - how could they possibly be looking for sales?

    Listen - I understand what YOU want but Lincoln can't really afford to do a one-off low volume supercar right now. Maybe in 3-4 years when they fix everything else.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    Are Lincolns selling now with their shared Ford platforms. The MKS does not look like a Taurus. the MKS is a sales bust. Another thing, if Lincoln platforms that are shared with Ford have their floor pans as the only thing in common that would still mean that the platforms torsional rigidity is the same as the Ford model. And it is the frames torsional rigidity that determines how well a car handles and rides. The Lincoln should have a really stiff frame on par with Mercedes, BMW, Infinities and Cadillac's CTS . I don't believe that Lincoln needs a super car just one that can handle as well as as a similar priced Bmw , Mercedes, Cadillac and Infinitie. The super car could come later when Lincoln proves that it is not a Ford in Lincoln sheet metal. You know, when people with means want to own a Lincoln again.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Silly Lincoln - how could they possibly be looking for sales? Good one, Allen! Your wit is intact--along with some insider knowledge, and a cheerleader's stance for a company you have long admired.

    Now, as for recent sales, if only in the last 10-12 years they had been fortunate enough to employ anyone with some clout, who actually had a clue where the luxury market was headed...
  • roym1roym1 Posts: 1
    akirby, I am now at 224,000+ miles on my 2002 LS. Still runs great. First followed your comments on that forum and now here. Always appreciate your realistic but positive take on issues. For whatever role you had in the LS - thanks. I have loved it. Hope the new MKZ can rise to the hope the LS embodied.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    Again , is Lincoln a profitable arm of Ford now? If not, then it should be discontinued don't you think or is it that sales are not everything? As for the new MKZ ,it will still be a fwd with its awd based on An improved Haldex system. Still not even close to being as advanced as the awd system used on the premium Audis; it is more akin to the unit that has been used on Acura for the past 4 years. And now Lincoln has it.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    is that we should all just wait and see what the MKZ actually brings before making judgements.

    I think it's going to surprise a lot of people.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Ford will make a mistake if they go down to only one brand. No large successful car company has been able to do it that way in recent times. Honda has lost ground, not only because of some recent drab designs, but also because they only have one other brand, Acura, and that is only doing a bit better than Lincoln at this point.

    Ford has been outselling Chevrolet now for several years, but Chevy still makes huge sales regardless. Camaro continues to outsell Mustang, and the Cruze has managed to find a bigger audience, even though it is not as good as the Focus. Even as Ford is about to introduce a new Fusion, a new, well-reviewed Malibu will be right across the street. Add to that solid growth in Buick, Cadillac and GMC, and GM as it recovers, slowly grows much bigger than FoMoCo. Ford now realizes its biggest threat is not Toyota, but once again, GM. Time has passed and the temporary advantage Ford had by not accepting any bailout becomes overshadowed by such relatively small things as the irritating MyFord Touch, and the jerky Focus dual clutch transmission.

    Things change fast in this industry, but a particular make has a long road in a stiff headwind when almost the entire product line must be remade in order to be competitive. Ford needs a profitable, luxury brand for the long haul. They unfortunately went from having way too many to manage well, to having for all intents and purposes none. Lincoln must be re-built, or buy another brand that will fill that role.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    Why should Ford worry about GM? GM outsold them by 20K or so units in November with 4 brands vs. 2. But who is making more profit? I'll take steady or growing market share and higher profits over sales volume any day.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Simmer down, Allen. It is Ford, not me, who now sees GM as the bigger threat. And realistically, they are. They have a huge head start in what is now the world's biggest car market too. It's dog eat dog. And now Chrysler is re-entering the over 100K/mo club. Exciting times!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    It will be refreshing to actually have a next gen Lincoln vehicle to discuss.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,262
    edited December 2011
    . . .to actually have a next gen Lincoln vehicle to discuss.

    Maybe the vaporware period is nearing an end.

    Who knows, maybe within 15 years of when the last RWD vehicle was introduced by Lincoln, another will be.

    Or not.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Nobody seems to notice (or admit it) that the SRX is an Equinox with angles. It's great looking, but Lincoln is panned for the MKX being a tarted up Edge, yet.....Cadillac gets a pass. I'm not a fan of the MKX at all, but I wouldn't buy the SRX either. Cimarron comes to mind. A backward step for Cadillac, IMO.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree with your comments about Ford needing Lincoln. There is no argument about that, and they must continue to rebuild it, and PDQ as well.

    I disagree about your denigration of the MyFord/LincolnTouch. I have one in my 2012 Explorer. Sure, it took a couple of days to get used to it, but I'm 58, and did so easily and quickly. Once I did, I find it brilliant, easy to work and so much less irritating than an I-drive like BMW, Acura and now Mercedes is using. No scrolling, all touch screen. Makes me wonder if it's simply beyond the intelligence of the average driver (my bet actually), or if people just don't take the time to familiarize themselves with it's miriad possibilities and features. HVAC and Sound is still operable by buttons on the wheel, as well as the dash. Navigation is accessible through Touch, but it always is, unless you need to scroll and push like Chrysler does, ridiculous. And Bluetooth is amazingly easy to use and program. Easier than any other car I have had, including my Lexus.

    Seriously, I don't get it. Or, maybe I do.....
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    My daughter totalled her 2012 Focus last week (no serious injuries) and we got a deal on a new one that my dealer had sold to an older couple (didn't say how old) a week before. They brought it back with 120 miles on it and said we don't want it. Of course all they could do was trade it in and give them a really good deal on a new one without MFT. So now I am a MFT owner. It did lock up Sunday morning requiring a reboot, but from a functionality, usability, responsiveness standpoint it's GREAT so far. It's intuitive - each corner of the screen does something different. Hardest part was figuring out the radio station presets and HD Radio.

    I also put my daughter's entire iTunes library on a 8 gb usb stick with iTunes Export freeware - works great and no need to plug/unplug the iphone.

    Of course I noticed the owner's guide in the glovebox had never been opened and I'm sure they didn't spend more than a few minutes trying to figure it out but you can't blame Ford for that.

    The new MFT version does seem to be even simpler to use, FWIW.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,820
    edited December 2011
    Nobody seems to notice (or admit it) that the SRX is an Equinox with angles. It's great looking, but Lincoln is panned for the MKX being a tarted up Edge, yet.....Cadillac gets a pass. I'm not a fan of the MKX at all, but I wouldn't buy the SRX either. Cimarron comes to mind. A backward step for Cadillac, IMO.

    There's a big difference there - Cadillac took the time to make the SRX look different than the Equinox. Put them side by side and they don't share much in terms of body panels.

    The MKX isn't anything more than a rebadge with minor fascia changes. It's more obvious when you walk into a combined Lincoln/Ford dealer.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,820
    I also put my daughter's entire iTunes library on a 8 gb usb stick with iTunes Export freeware - works great and no need to plug/unplug the iphone.

    Why bother? Why not just stream the iPhone over the bluetooth and have the most up to date library?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,691
    You don't get voice control with bluetooth streaming and no access by artist, playlist, track, etc. With bluetooth you can only do play/pause/next/previous track.

    With this setup she can browse the library just like on the iPod app on the iPhone or use voice control (which is the idea).

    Only takes a few minutes to update the usb stick to add a song.
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