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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,990
    Could be a happy December. Forget the motorcycle. :D

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree with most of that. I also believe the brand is not irreparably damaged - they are not as disrespected as Cadillac was in the 80s and early 90s, which recovered quite nicely. Lincoln just needs good product, great dealers, and good advertising - they can come back fast and strong.

    My design input? AWD available or even standard on all models.
    The EcoBoost should be standard, making all of them, "Hot Rod Lincolns".
    The dealers MUST get it - so far mine still has no clue what quality service is.
    Quality of cars must be extraordinary.
    Should easily last 10 years and 150,000 miles without breaking a sweat.
    Warranty should exceed Ford line. At least 6/70.

    These attributes would greatly differentiate Lincoln from Ford, give them street cred, and enhance their perceived value tremendously, and shouldn't break the bank either.
  • Am I seeing things but in all of the photos of these models the styling of each looks very similar to each other. I hear that Ford is cd4 multi vehicle platform for both Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Still can't buy a Lincoln in U. K. with RHD and probably never will be able to. But I guess we have the same as a Lincoln with the Mondeo.

    Why share a cheaper platform with a prestige Lincoln? I hope Ford is not headed the way British Leyland went.British Leyland started to cut corners on Jaguar so it could stay in business.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    With a few exceptions Lincolns have always shared platforms with Ford. At least now they're using 100% unique sheetmetal and interiors and other features instead of just a new front and rear clip.

    The very successful Lexus ES350 shares a platform with the Camry but you hardly ever hear anyone mention it. Truly a double standard.

    There are plans to take Lincoln global but as you say you've already got the Mondeo which is closer to the MKZ than the Fusion.
  • unitedkingdomunitedkingdom Posts: 9
    edited October 2012
    But not all of Lexus models share Toyota platforms now do they?Name me one other Lexus besides The ES350 that does?The only Lexus that is popular here is the ISF series and nothing of that series is shared with Toyota. Unless Lincoln can produce a model uniquely its own ,it is not a prestige brand now is it? It not in the Same class as Mercedes or BMW and even Cadillac. Another thing, the Lincoln as does the Fusion/Mondeo takes some styling cues from Audi. When all are seen from side views there are styling similarities between all of them.

    There are rumors here that Ford is going cease production of the Mondeo in Europe to import the inferior road manner American Fusion and slap a Mondeo name on it. We here don't want sloppily handling and riding American autos whose interiors consist of cheaply looking hard plastic.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,045
    As for platforms, remember that a platform is simply the base of the vehicle. Platforms are designed for manufacturing effectiveness and are often stretched/shortened, made wider or narrower, et al. What is fixed on the platform are things like welding points, pick up points for the assembly line and windshield rake. The bits hanging off of the platform are what determine the character of the car.

    There are rumors here that Ford is going cease production of the Mondeo in Europe to import the inferior road manner American Fusion and slap a Mondeo name on it. We here don't want sloppily handling and riding American autos.

    I believe I saw the same article as you did with the potential closing of the plant in Genk. Keep in mind that the upcoming Fusion and Mondeo will be the same vehicle. Yes it will be tuned differently for different markets but it's not different that what other automakers do. The quality coming out of any plant shouldn't be any different. As an aside, as the owner of a 1 year old American made Ford I have yet to have any issues. It's been back to the dealer once for normal service.
  • Alright but the fly in the ointment is is that all share the same floor pan and it's the floor pan that will determine the torsional rigidity of the platform. The platform could be mildly tweaked for different applications but in the end the shortcomings of the car will become noticeable because of the shared platform's floor pan.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,045
    Alright but the fly in the ointment is is that all share the same floor pan and it's the floor pan that will determine the torsional rigidity of the platform.

    Absolutely true. But 99% would not be able to discern any difference so IMHO, it's moot.

    If anything, we Americans will be getting a better vehicle now that's it directly related to the Mondeo instead of the Mazda 6 - which many say is a very good handling vehicle.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    The new Mondeo will be just as good if not better than the old one. Not sure why you're worried about that. It was jointly developed with FOE. Torsional rigidity will be better, not worse.

    As for Lexus - in the U.S. only the ES and RX (FWD based CUV) sell in volume. The GS, IS and LS are niche players.

    There is nothing wrong with platform sharing if the platform is good to begin with and there is enough differentiation.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Figures are out, and those most relevant to Lincoln are such:

    BMW 26,451; Mercedes 25,644; Chrysler (brand, not the company) 22,222; Lexus 19,850; Buick 13,384; Cadillac 13,505; Acura 12,163; Audi 11,708; Infiniti 8,757; and Lincoln 5,154. Lincoln did manage to outsell Volvo. But the Chevy Sonic model sold more units than the entire Lincoln brand.

    This illustrates some things. Yes, we all know the Lincoln brand has fallen, and the MKS, MKT and MKX haven't done anything significant to stop that slide. That's not the point. Rather, there is a lot of good competition out there...a lot of good brands and models. To pick up sales enough to justify continuing a brand like Lincoln indefinitely, other brands and models will have to at some point give up sales. That's not easily done when the others already have well-received models that are updated regularly.

    Audi sales dropped from about 75,000 in 1985 to about 12,000 by 1991 (1,000 units a month average), due to a bogus sudden unintended acceleration rap. It took them 15 years to get back to 1985 sales levels. Now they are recording record sales here (and even more so in the rest of the world), but the effort they had to put into this rebuild has been phenomenal. They have one of the widest ranges of vehicles available, and most of their models receive good reviews. They are now the most reliable European manufacturer, and they are #8 overall in new car reliability. All those years and work have gotten them to sales of about 12,000/month in the US. That's really good, but still less than half the sales of BMW and Mercedes.

    As we know, Lincoln is about to release the new MKZ. By itself, it will push sales numbers up a bit, but by itself will not turn things around. Nor is it very likely that the 6 other refreshed or completely new models coming in the next couple years (that includes the 13 MKS and MKT refreshes, and an Ecoboost for the Navigator) will make big inroads. None of the above nameplates have any less new iron coming. They know there is no resting these days, as all cars have gotten to be so good.

    I continue to wish Lincoln well. I hope that some day they will have a vehicle that I want over all others. Ford like GM has learned some hard lessons. They are hanging onto their sales rate for the Ford brand, but they haven't shown any success with a new Lincoln, probably since the 2000 LS. In 1990 Lincoln sold 233,000 Lincolns (over 19,000 per month). Lincoln total sales last year were about 85,000. This year will be probably be less. If the MKZ can stop the sales slide, that would be great. Lincoln now says it is aiming for volume, not a flagship. But building back will take a long time, and not allow much tolerance for error.
  • Lincoln is dead. Front drive, re-badged and slightly reskinned Fords can't compete in the luxury segment. Real luxury car buyers want a good handling rear drive car that's different from the bread and butter brands. Lincoln needs a bold, exciting product. With the retro Mustang such a success, maybe a remake of the 1961 Continental with a Coyote V8 and suicide doors. Simple, elegant, good handling and fast.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Gregg - you forgot about the next new Lincoln after the MKZ - the small crossover. This will be the first new model penned 100% by Wolf and the new dedicated Lincoln design team. That will tell us how serious Ford is about making Lincoln unique. And since the SRX and RX sell so well there's no reason to think this one won't provided the design is great.

    I can't argue with Lincoln's current sales drought - it stinks. However, Ford isn't willing to throw huge cash on the hood just to get sales volume and that will help long term even if it hurts right now.

    Front drive, re-badged and slightly reskinned Fords can't compete in the luxury segment.

    Well it's a good thing that's not what Lincoln is planning to do.

    Real luxury car buyers want a good handling rear drive car that's different from the bread and butter brands. Lincoln needs a bold, exciting product.

    If you're talking $75K luxury vehicles - yes. But not if you're talking about $40K - $60K vehicles. The Lexus ES and RX and the Caddy SRX are among the best selling luxury vehicles and they're all FWD.

    The goal is to be profitable - not to win magazine awards.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    edited November 2012
    And to your point, let's remember that Acura and Audi use FWD architecture extensively too.

    Maybe Lincoln will borrow the '14 Mustang platform for a luxury coupe and convertible.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Ford is seriously considering a sedan based on the upcoming Mustang architecture.

    And, Allen when you say, And since the SRX and RX sell so well there's no reason to think this one won't provided the design is great, I think you missed my point. Since the luxury market, like most markets, is limited, Lincoln has to steal sales from others in order to sell well. That is not easy to do when you are late to the party, and your competition is pretty much as good, and as updated, as you are. It can be done, as Audi and Cadillac and others who have fallen from grace have shown, but it usually takes a long time to build back, and good product is only part of it.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    I don't think anyone including Lincoln expects them to be #1 in 2 years. They just need to make steady progress and make some profit as they go. And the best way to make volume and profits is to go after the volume segments first.

    Looks like the ATS and XTS debuts cannibalized CTS sales. CTS was down 40% to 2344 last month.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    edited November 2012
    The cannibalization is normal, as long as the new models result in total incremental sales and increased market share for the brand.

    I believe Cadillac will introduce a slightly larger CRS next year. It will be based on the ATS platform, and compete against the 5-Series and E-Class.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    I agree that increased market share overall is good but they spent a lot of money on 2 different platforms for those new models. They need a bigger jump to make that investment pay off.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    I think we'll know better how Cadillac is faring after they introduce the next CTS, which I believe will be a 2014 model.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    edited November 2012
    Yes, the CTS is at the end of its product cycle, and the 2014 will soon arrive. That Cadillac is increasing sales at all is a very good thing in this market for the same reasons I previously stated. You don't think that the 2013 MKZ (poke the bear: if it ever gets here :P ) won't cannibalize already meager MKS sales? It is almost as roomy, and arguably better looking.

    Again, this is cut-throat stuff. Mercedes and BMW did not get to be on top here by sitting on their heels. Because I am old, I remember well when BMW started to move upmarket while not abandoning the lower end of luxury.

    Mercedes has done the same over time. Right now, Mercedes sells 19 separate model lines in the US, with plans to introduce 11 additional (not replacement) models in the next couple years. Now, of course they are much better equipped to do this, because for one thing, their reputation is intact, and they now have a proven track record for selling several profitable models in the $90,000 to $150,000 range, where Cadillac, Acura and Lincoln cannot reasonably go at this time.

    Even so, several of their new models will be entry level luxury. If Mercedes and BMW (or Lexus or Acura or Infiniti) offer a model competitive with a new Lincoln, Lincoln will be at a competitive disadvantage for awhile by having an unproven name.

    You don't think that anyone expects Lincoln to be #1 in two years? That goes without saying. To at least be back in the race in two years and lapping at the heels of Infiniti and Acura would be awesome, but it will be tough to even reach that level of sales. Even if Lincoln continues to be underwritten by the Ford brand for many years more, it could still take a generation before Lincoln bests Audi or Cadillac again.

    Unless BMW and Mercedes pull some truly stupid moves (it could happen), Lincoln is unlikely to ever attain their stature. That's ok. Being a solid force to steal significant Cadillac sales would be enough.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    You don't think that the 2013 MKZ (poke the bear: if it ever gets here ) won't cannibalize already meager MKS sales?

    Absolutely. The difference is the MKZ is built from an existing platform while Caddy used new platforms for the ATS and XTS. Caddy needs more incremental sales to cover the platform costs.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    I read that the ATS platform will be used for the next generation Camaro, and possibly a future Buick model. The total of these whould solve the volume matter. Also, a future generation of the Chevy SS sedan may replace the Holden platform with the ATS platform, but that's speculative at this point.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Cadillac created the ATS, not to create a halo car, but to get into a volume area as Lincoln intends to do. The new CTS coming in a few months shares architecture, albeit stretched, with the ATS. The XTS shares a platform with both Buick and Chevrolet (see 2013 Impala). And Cadillac is already selling more than double the number that Lincoln does. Those are luxury models remember...where the profit per unit is higher. That's why Ford wants Lincoln. That's why VW worked so hard to build up Audi. VW now makes about as much profit with Audi's much lower volume as it does with the entire VW brand.
  • I just cannot believe the remarks posted on this blog site. Most of the posters here believe that giving Lincoln a different body style with some exclusive- for the first few years- electronic do das really does put Lincoln with its American Ford Fusion/Mondeo platform on par with BMW , Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Vauxhaull, and Cadillac V series. Do any of you know what a prestige mark is? Only the unenlightened and misinformed person would buy any Lincoln when one can get the same vehicle in a lower priced Ford.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    edited November 2012
    I disagree, unitedkingdom. I don't think most posters believe that "giving Lincoln a different body style with some exclusive- for the first few years- electronic do das really does put Lincoln with its American Ford Fusion/Mondeo platform on par with BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Vauxhaull, and Cadillac V series."

    However, Lincoln has to start somewhere if it is to survive. What they have been doing for the last dozen years or more is not defensible. Going forward, they know they have to do more than different styling and some exclusive electronics. But they are starting from the ashpile they have created.

    Plus, while you may know better, there are lots of people who prefer a more exclusive brand, even if it does not deliver substantially more than the mainstream nameplate on which it is based. That is true with many products, not just automobiles. That is why the Lexus ES (Camry or now Avalon) has been such a success for Toyota. The Infiniti JX and QX are closely based on Nissans. Audi and Acura share some architecture with certain VW and Honda models. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that the TT has underpinnings shared with the Golf and Beetle does not stop people from paying much greater sums for the Audi. It is a proven way to get sales, and sales are something Lincoln does not have. The MKZ is based on the Mondeo, but the Mondeo is a good design and a good starting off point.

    Perhaps all those buyers are unenlightened and misinformed. Many brands must say thank goodness for such buyers or the new Honda Civic would have tanked. If some U & M buyers pick up the MKZ (which is more differentiated from its Ford counterpart than any Lincoln has been in years), it helps Lincoln get back into the market abd earn some revenue. It buys time while better designs are forthcoming.

    Again, I think that Lincoln has to set its sights on stealing sales from the likes of Acura and Infiniti until they begin to approach parity with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. They can compete with Acura for example with well-designed, shared platforms. They can build slowly in a very competitive market, but what they cannot do without additional resources is design and market fully exclusive designs right now or in two years time. That is an unfortunate reality.

    Meanwhile, if some buyers do think the new MKZ is on par with some of the brands you mention, so much the better for Lincoln right now. The inept executives have proven their uselessness, and if Lincoln survives, you will actually see some prestige product from them in the next few years.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    I agree with you. However, I wonder whether Ford Motor Co. can survive, long term, with just the Ford brand. It seems to me that Ford Motor Co. needs a luxury brand, but if not Lincoln, then what?
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,316
    edited November 2012
    is that various people cared enough to make 3792 posts related to the brand.

    It's a start.

    It's been more than a half-generation since Lincoln did anything really interesting and I'm guessing that it'll be most of the balance before they do it again. Anyone who remembers that Lincoln used to amount to anything will be dead or in the waiting room by the time anything worthwhile happens. At that point the brand will be starting with a clean slate, much like Hundai did a couple of years ago. Well, isn't that special.

    Where I work they preach (but don't practice) the concept that being nimble and quick is what wins the battle and the war. I guess something that takes 5-8 years qualifies as nimble somewhere, but not in today's economy.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Ford is doing great on its own right now so I'm not sure why you think Ford needs Lincoln to survive. If anything Lincoln is a cost center right now not a profit center. They could kill it tomorrow and Ford would be fine.

    Lincoln needs volume vehicles not niche halo vehicles. They need much better dealer service which they're also working on. This is a marathon, not a sprint and Ford can af-ford to wait a few years for all the pieces to fall into place.

    Anyone who understands business plans can see what Ford is doing with Lincoln. It may not be sexy and it may take longer than people want but it will pay off with profits much sooner and be more foundationally solid going forward.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,342
    I hear you, right now things are okay for Ford and, in the short term, Lincoln is more a more of a negative than a positive for the company. The reason I suspect that Ford Motor Co will be handicapped without a luxury brand, in the long run, has to do with margins and market volatility. That is, profit margins tend to be greater on luxury cars than on mass market ones, and luxury brand volume is less sensitive in times of economic downturns. For these reasons, If Ford is unable to turn Lincoln around, it's my guess that the company will either buy a luxury brand or merge with another automaker. The best possibility for Ford, however, is to eventually restore Lincoln's position as a major luxury brand.

    As an aside, for the life of me I don't understand why Ford discontinued the Lincoln LS. I believe that was a mistake. Granted, the LS wasn't a great car, but discontinuing rather than improving it sent the message that Ford was giving up on differentiating Lincoln from its mass market brand. I think having Lincoln be primarily RWD, as Lexus is, would have helped Lincoln regain its luxury standing. The next Mustang platform could provide Lincoln with an opportunity to add some much needed excitement to the brand.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,209
    I believe Lincoln's current lineup would make for some very nice Mercuries, but as Lincolns, they leave much to be desired. As it is, Lincoln is now what Mercury was - gussied-up Fords.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Yes, you make the point well. Ford will need a viable luxury brand in the long run, just as every other company seems to agree. Even Hyundai and Kia are beginning to offer luxury models, and that effort will morph into a luxury brand at some point. Ford is fine now as Ford only short-term (in fact would be better off without Lincoln) but as Ford only their recent growth is now close to stalling, even while many other brands are showing doubl digit increases. It wouldn't take much for some other brands to steal some of that market share Ford has won back. Ford especially needs a luxury brand in Europe. BMW is weathering the downturn there much better than Ford and Opel and Vauxhall and Fiat.
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