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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    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've related this before so the regulars can skip it. The LS was a great idea and a pretty good car (I bought one 6 months after it debuted) but it never had a viable business case. The Jag platform and engines were very expensive (just look at all the aluminum in the suspension). The business case was to sell it in Europe and do 100K/year total. That was never realistic. Plus PAG did not want Lincoln infringing on Jaguar so Lincoln never got the supercharged version of the Jag V8. Had they been able to shoehorn the 4.6L V8 in there on the assembly line that would have kept the costs down and allowed a higher performance version.

    I firmly believe that Mulally would have built a great global RWD sedan platform that would have been even better had he been hired a few years sooner or the economy had not collapsed. I think they are getting there with a global mustang and parts sharing with the Aussies but it's still just too expensive with limited short term payoff to do a true global RWD platform. But I do think it's coming - eventually.


    I think having Lincoln be primarily RWD, as Lexus is, would have helped Lincoln regain its luxury standing.


    Lexus is only primarily RWD if you count models. If you count sales it's a different story.

    October sales:

    RX 6,928
    GX+LX 1,275

    ES 5,971 CT+HS 1,202 Total FWD 7,173
    IS+GS+LS+LFA Total RWD 4,474

    If you were starting over would you rather have 2 vehicles that sell 13K per month or 6 different ones that only sell 6K per month?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    Hmm, hadn't thought of that. Interesting, though.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    edited November 2012
    I agree with each of your points.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    edited November 2012
    Good points! However, I think the main problem with most Lexus RWD models is with a so-so execution rather than the strategy.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,964
    As an aside, for the life of me I don't understand why Ford discontinued the Lincoln LS.

    It also didn't achieve the goal of bringing in younger buyers. According to one dealer I spoke with, sales were still skewing older. Gladys would come in after George died to trade in the Town Car when it was 3 years old but she wanted something smaller. They would try to sell her on a Sable but she would insist on another Lincoln because that's what George always bought every 3 years. So she would leave with an LS.

    But on a positive note, there were plenty of great 3 YO, V6 LS's available used.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    "It also didn't achieve the goal of bringing in younger buyers."

    From a styling standpoint, it was probably a mistake to the LS to position the LS as a low cost, American made alternative to the 5-Series. Part of the reason Gladys' children didn't buy the LS was that it looked unexciting.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,964
    Part of the reason Gladys' children didn't buy the LS was that it looked unexciting.

    IMHO, it was an inoffensive design - much like the 5 series it mimicked.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    However, all Allen's comments about the LS plan being well-taken, its understated looks were actually not unattractive at the time and have aged well. The interior, however, was cheap looking. It certainly was less anonymous-to-forgettable than the initial MKS and MKZ designs. It easily looked at least as "exciting" as the Lexus ES of that time. It was a good first effort, deservedly winning car of the year in 2000.

    The LS actually sold well initially, almost by itself in 2000 selling as many units as all of Lincoln does now. Sales remained above 30K until 2004, when after five years on the market, one would reasonably expect some significant updates. But inept executives did not see that level of sales as worthwhile maintaining an investment in (oh how things have changed). They could not figure out how to improve and update it for a reasonable cost, nor did they understand at the time how important it was to figure out some way to do so. Had Ford actually had a better idea for Jaguar than they did, both marques would have benefitted. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    Twelve years later, and despite well-received rear drive concepts like the 2002 Continental and the later MKR, no suitable replacement is yet on the horizon. However, like Allen, I believe the current team really gets it now, and we will see a RWD Lincoln one day again.

    Meanwhile, FWD/AWD architecture can and will be improved. Look at Audi for example. They have shown that there is no reason why the engine has to be installed in front of the front wheels as is done with most plebeian FWD vehicles. Even the 2014 Mazda6 has moved away from that "FWD look." Further, there is no reason why the AWD cannot be biased toward the rear. Better balance and handling are obvious results.

    Plus, keeping some FWD-based AWD vehicles in a lineup is just good sense. Those who are used to driving in snow for months of the year often prefer them to the seldom used advantages that RWD provides a luxury car driver.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    By 2004 the LS was already dead internally. Even at 50K units there simply wasn't a business case to be had to keep making it. And the interior was cheap - it was my least favorite part of the vehicle which is why i added a wood dash kit to part of mine which helped a little.

    Had Mulally been in charge back then I think Lincoln would be entirely different today. But he wasn't and it isn't.

    But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't a train.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Again, agree with all your points. I do want to add though that Lincoln's "business case" prowess has been off the beam for a long time. Business cases only work well when those who make them are not inept. The business case for every MK model so far has been of the garbage in garbage out variety. I trust that Mulally has stopped that nonsense.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    All the posts about the Lincoln LS made me curious, so I checked Craigslist to see what they're going for. I was surprised by how low the asking prices are. Take a look, if you're curious, and let us know what you think
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    They've been dirt cheap since they were discontinued. Great bargain if you don't mind replacing a few parts.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    What are the most vulnerable parts, and how expensive are they?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    "The MKZ is the car that will set the tone for all cars to come," said Rich Kreder, vehicle integration manager.

    The new MKZ should outsell the one it replaces, Sullivan said. The hard part is improving the dealer experience and the culture change to attract younger affluent buyers."

    Lincoln to launch MKZ with a major marketing push next month (Detroit Free Press)

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    COPs (coil on plugs) and the hydraulic cooling fan (00-02 only) are expensive and/or difficult. Some trannys have to be rebuilt but that's not widespread.

    Other common cheaper failures are window regulators and seat heater elements.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    Thanks. These potentially problematic items should be factored into the buying decision, but they don't seem like deal breakers, considering LS prices.

    In terms of the car itself, the LS seems like a better car than the Cadillac Catera. Maybe much better.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    Way better from a driving standpoint (and looks IMO). As long as you know what to expect you won't be disappointed.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    This was like comparing the MKZ pre-2013 to the CTS, only the other way around. The LS was vastly superior to the Catera. The Catera was almost laughable, but Cadillac had nothing else at the time to go up against the LS.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    The daffy duck commercials didn't help much.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    edited November 2012
    The daffy duck commercials. . .

    Nice touch to not capitalize the two Ds. The commercials did include a duck and, to many viewers, they were daffy.

    I thought they were okay, which is probably part of why I was willing to go all-in on the LS. Maybe a U.S. manufacturer can make a competitive sedan that doesn't drive like a boat, or maybe not. It didn't drive like a boat, but it sure as hell turned out to be non-competitive -- cost over sell doesn't work most times.

    Live and learn.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    I actually thought it was daffy but now I see it was "ziggy". Still stupid.

    Remember the LS commercial? Wood. Leather. Adrenaline.

    Still one of the neatest commercials ever IMO.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NUh-JnrMO4
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,565
    Another story disecting Ford's effort to revitalize Lincoln.

    "We are not going to make a big box with a cappuccino machine," Farley notes, "our ambition is to produce something very personal, because emerging customers are more reflective and interested in authenticity, rather than showing off how much they have."

    Ford on quest to revive Lincoln (Detroit News)

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    edited November 2012
    That could be interpreted in numerous ways. Elegant language, but just what does it mean?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    It just means they aren't building a new Town Car and they'll be concentrating on small to mid-sized vehicles first. Nothing more.
  • toomanyfumestoomanyfumes S.E. Wisconsin Posts: 904
    I bought an '05 LS in 2008. V6, 44K, nice shape, not many options from a dealer for 11K. It was a good car, changed a few ignition coils, the DCCV (heater control valve) and a few other things. Metallic red and I got some '06 Sport rims off of Ebay that looked sharp on that car. I just traded for a 2012 Mustang, and didn't lose too much on it.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    It sounded very clearly they are shifting away from big. Wanting to target a bigger market share. But share they will rather than have a bit of exclusivity. Sounds a bit bad for brand name.
    Petrol forces the product a bit, but still lots of room to design an end product, around many new features. Reliability determines life in the end.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,305
    You did very well with the LS. Congratulations on the Mustang.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    The on-line auto press (TTAC, Autoblog, Motor Trend, Car & Driver, etc.) is now test driving and reporting on the 2014 Subaru Forester, a brand new version of this popular little ute, available early next year. Yet, NO ONE has thus far driven the 2013 MKZ, which is still purported to be available this fall. Talk about embargoes...or something.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,740
    Ford always embargoes test drives until closer to the actual product launch. There were some Fusion launch problems that could have delayed the MKZ also but I haven't heard any reports about that.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Of the 2013 MKS, CR sez "The Lincoln MKS offers plenty of features and has a quiet cabin with excellent fit and finish. But the car is hampered by its cramped driving position, ungainly handling, uncomposed ride, and limited visibility. With an overall road-test score of 60, the MKS is the lowest-Rated luxury sedan in class." I know Lincoln is working on a replacement, which should be here in a year or so.
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