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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    Nah, my experience with corporate on a problem child Explorer was just as bad as with GM and a problem plagued Oldsmobile. Do those reps online in the GM forum really resolve anything? Not sure from reading that they do. I think the key is to pick your dealership carefully, not just by low price. They are the one who is going to make the difference because they buy the cars from Ford, GM, etc. in much greater volume than your individual purchase. Both of the company reps I dealt with above really were just BS artists blowing off the problem and hoping you just got tired and went away. After that I started paying more attention to customer feedback about dealers. A good dealer will help you out a lot more than some low level corporate suit in my opinion as long as you're not a jerk dealing with them.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    Ford has been doing that through Facebook for some time. I agree all mfrs should do a much better job with customer service. Maybe this is an area where Lincoln will try to separate itself.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,820
    edited December 2012
    I just recommended that a Honda owner contact the manufacturer with Twitter over on Answers. You never know what's really going to grab their attention. Earlier today there was a story about an older gentleman getting ripped off by an Acura dealer and his kids got satisfaction by contacting the AARP.

    The guy who made YouTube fame with his song about how United Airlines trashed his guitar started a "social media" gripe company recently.

    There has been a Ford rep around; ditto Subaru and BMW, Toyota and probably some others.

    Damage control Customer relations is an international effort these days.

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    It is odd how they managed to lose eight cubic feet of interior space compared to the Fusion. The MKZ roofline is not any more rakish or low than the Fusion's. At least not in appearance. And what's the point of cutting interior space if the roofline outline is not much different from most of the new mid-size sedans? It reminds me of the MKS. Although it is taller, longer and wider--and less gracefully drawn--than a rival (XTS), it has less interior space. Ford needs to work on that. It has been shown that great styling and good interior room can be combined. Lincoln is just not doing it yet.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    Definitely a mystery. I'll see if my insider has any info.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    Your message #3914 makes the most convincing and well expressed arguments on the FWD/RWD issue that I've read.

    As you may know, I've argued that Lincoln needs at least one RWD based platform to differentiate itself from Ford, and to effectively compete with Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. Infiniti is doing a decent job of competing against BMW. Acura hasn't done consistently well with its Honda derived vehicles, and Audi neutralizes the FWD/RWD architecture issue by heavily promoting its Quattro system. My point regarding your excellent post, however, is that it puts the FWD/RWD issue into clear perspective, and it has tempered my thinking on the course Lincoln should take. I now think that Lincoln could follow Audi's business model if it doesn't reintroduce a RWD platform.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Audi is going to spend 17 billion dollars in the next 3 years to overtake BMW. They are already #1 in Europe and China. Meanwhile, Mercedes is intent on being #1. This market is heating up. Lincoln does not have the resources anymore to be a substantial purveyor of luxury vehicles. Niche maybe, like Volvo. But even Volvo sells far more cars worldwide.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    A price war between upper end Euro makes will be interesting if it takes place here. I see Lexus holding their own in that case because of Toyota's deep pockets. The losers would probably be Lincoln and Buick, and to a lesser degree Cadillac perhaps. Buick has gotten pretty expensive, so near lux price war would probably really clobber them.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    I don't see this being a price war - I see it being a product war. Audi could conduct a price war right now without spending a dime. $17B is a lot of new products.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    A good dealer will help you out a lot more than some low level corporate suit in my opinion as long as you're not a jerk dealing with them.

    TOTALLY aqree with your entire paragraph, and even moreso, this last sentence above. The Company really doesn't care about you, the Dealer is their customer. The DEALER should care about you - you are THEIR customer, and they should want to keep you coming back. That won't happen if you don't get treated well there. I can tell you from my viewpoint and experience, I buy more from the dealer, than the car they carry. With a few exceptions, I can find a car I like, if I like the way I'm treated, especially in service, by the dealer. Some GM cars, being an exception. I wouldn't drive a Chevy from Carl Sewell if he changed the oil himself! (He's famous for his service in Dallas).
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    You also speak the truth. On these forums , you always see people saying that they will never buy a GM product, Ford product, Chrysler product, etc., again. What is really going on in most cases is that their dealer did not go the extra distance to fix the problem. All companies times have issued models with poor reliability. However, all of them are capable of building highly reliable products. No company should be written off until it is gone.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    http://www.automobilemag.com/features/collectible_classic/1212_collectible_class- ic_1961_1963_lincoln_continental/

    Lincoln needs to pull off another coup like the remade 1961 T-bird turned Continental. MKZ is a start, but not this sort of splash.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    However, Lincoln needs to amp up its luxury styling to really get noticed as a distinctive and desirable brand. This concept really does it:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/01/07/would-a-mustang-based-lincoln-look-like-this/-
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    Not feeling it. Looks like a SL500 with a Lincoln nose grafted on.

    I would prefer something along the lines of an Audi S5 or Jaguar XKR.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Both you mention are nice designs, but both can get away with being more conventional looking. Lincoln needs to get a look that rivals much more expensive cars...perhaps Rolls, Bentley, or the sinister looking Lexus concept of a few years ago...the name escapes me.

    Maybe this concept isn't it, but something truly dramatic would be a great start. Trying to compete with mainstream has not worked, and probably will not work, for Lincoln. The 1961 Continental looked like nothing else, and took design in a different direction. The 2013 MKZ is distinctive, but it is not going to turn heads for very long.

    BTW, that "grafted on" Lincoln nose is far more dramatic than any Lincoln nose proposed so far. So it is a start, if this motor company ever learns to get bold again.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited January 2013
    The '61 Continental is often mentioned as a breakthrough design, and it was. Even though it arguably looked more elegant than the Cadillac, it failed to sell in anywhere near the numbers that threatened Cadillac's dominance of the North America luxury car market (sorry, but I can't site comparative numbes). Maybe the reason the Conti didn't sell better was that it was too diferent. Or maybe it was because it was only offered in a 4-door sedan and convertible, and no 2-doors. The fact that it was very heavy, particlarly for its footprint, and fell considerably short of the Cadillacs in interior room and trunk space may have hurt sales.

    Does anyone know or have any ideas of why the '61- '69 Lincolns didn't grab more market share?
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    I remember as a kid that some Chicago newspaper articles talked about it being perceived as small by luxury buyers. But I think it improved on the sales volume of the prior huge beasts with those canted headlights and breezeway rear windows. Some internet sites put 61 production around 25K which is double the Imperial, but Cadillac was good for well over 100K. The Continental actually improved sales volume when it was squared off and enlarged a bit in the mid 60's to around 50K. But remember, GM significantly outsold Ford/Lincoln Mercury, so the big Caddy lead shouldn't be a surprise.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    Thanks for the information, berri.

    Comparatively good resale value was an advantage that Cadillac enjoyed over its rivals from 1946 through the 1960s, and maybe beyond. Also, I've heard that it didn't cost Cadillac owners any more to trade in their cars every two or three years than it did Oldsmobile or Buick owners to trade theirs.
  • Often the dealer is faced with a factory that is very stingy on reimbursement for repairs. If transmissions for a model fail regularly 10,000 miles after the warranty ends, but the manufacturer maintains a "see no evil" stance regarding the problem, very few dealers can eat the entire cost of multiple transmission repair/replacements.

    I've also read that dealers take note of which customers are regulars (meaning, they bring the car to the dealer for regular maintence and repairs), and treat those customers differently than someone who only shows up with a known, but out-of-warranty defect or problem.
  • keystonecarfankeystonecarfan Posts: 181
    edited January 2013
    Lincoln really reduced its model offerings for 1961. The car was only available as a four-door sedan or convertible.

    These were the years when two-door hardtops were very popular, especially in the luxury market. If I recall correctly, the two-door hardtop was Cadillac's best-selling body style during the 1960s. Lincoln left this market to Cadillac, and, to a lesser extent, the Imperial, and didn't enter it again until the 1966 model year.

    The Lincoln was also available in one expensive trim level, which corresponded with the "Fleetwood" series Cadillacs. There was no Lincoln equivalent of the Cadillac 62/Calais for several years after 1960.

    Robert McNamara wanted to shut down Lincoln after the debacle with the awful 1958 models. The 1961 Continental was Lincoln's last chance, so product planners didn't want to spend too much money on a variety of body styles, as McNamara demanded that Lincoln be profitable.

    He left the company for the Kennedy Administration soon after the 1961 Lincoln went on sale, but no one had any way of knowing that this would happen when these cars were being planned.

    It would be interesting to compare the demographics (age, income, education level) of Lincoln and Cadillac buyers during the 1960s. The Continental always seemed a bit more exclusive than its Cadillac competitors. During these years, a fair number of otherwise middle-class people were stretching to own a Cadillac (which shows the strength of its appeal, but ultimately cheapened its image). Was this happening with Lincoln, or did it draw its buyers more exclusively from the upper crust?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    The 61 Continental sold very well. You have to remember that Lincoln by that time was coming back from the dead, and so the level of sales that this one and only model achieved was impressive. Lincoln did a complete 180. These Continentals were expensive, and they were pre-driven and went through other rigorous testing before sale. They had the longest warranty for that time. Sales grew as the model increased in size later in the decade.
  • Sales of the 1961 Lincoln were up, but not by a huge amount, over the 1960 model year. It didn't help that 1961 was a recession year for car sales.

    Supposedly Ford's leadership was not entirely happy with the sales of the suicide-door Lincolns, even though the cars really did improve Lincoln's image.

    It would take the 1968 Continental Mark III to really boost Lincoln sales and profits.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,820

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  • unitedkingdomunitedkingdom Posts: 9
    edited January 2013
    It's really sad when the product has to rely on marketing and advertising gimmicks for its survival rather than the product's engineering excellence. Like President Obama said,"You, can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig." So all of you dreamers keep on dreaming that a tarted up Fusion or Mustang is going to convince the discerning buyer that Lincoln is something more than a boutique brand Ford. Buyers of premium vehicles today are intelligent and are not the buyers of yesteryear when coach roofs and opera windows ruled the taste of the American premium car buyer rather than performance, reliability, workmanship and engineering excellence that the premium buyer of today takes for granted in a premium vehicle. It seems that Lincoln is still catering to the velour seat and coach roof crowd rather than the intelligent modern consumer. It's sad that Lincoln will never be a global premium brand because of relying on panoramic glass roofs rather than premium car engineering.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    I hope it works but I'm not a fan of super bowl commercials in general as methods to improve sales. I think they're overpriced and do little to generate new customers. I think people remember the good ones as good commercials and not necessarily the product that was advertised. Maybe the crowdsourcing angle will appeal to younger potential buyers.

    I would prefer $7M to be spent on prime time shows which would equate to dozens of 60 minute ads instead of just one.

    If they're going to do it, at least make it really funny.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,279
    Like President Obama said,"You, can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig."

    Was that Obama, or was it Palin? I'm thinking it was Palin.

    Given the vast differences between the two people involved, I'm inclined to wonder if the other things you have to say include, well, let's just say equivalent differences between statement and reality.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,699
    edited January 2013
    Oh good grief - that is NOT the new MKC and it will not just have "a new front and rear". Mark my words - it will look nothing like the Escape inside or out and will have an entirely different drivetrain.

    The internet has opened up a whole new level of incompetent "journalists".
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,820
    Ford has their 2013 image gallery up for the Lincoln MKZ.

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  • We must be looking at different cars. I don't see any coach roofs, velour interiors or even opera windows on the new MKZ.

    You also apparently don't realize that it's no longer 1975 or even 1985. Regarding premium European cars, for example, "engineering excellence" has apparently devolved to "complication for its own sake," "poor results in various reliability surveys" and "nightmarish maintenance and repair costs when the vehicle is out of warranty."

    "Reliability" is not a word that most of us (well, those of us living in 2013) associate with European cars anymore.
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