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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    You're being generous, berri. They're making Mercuries at Cadillac prices. The current Lincolns would make nice Mercuries, but they are hardly worthy of the Lincoln moniker.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Another good analysis of the problem. Sure, Lexus offers the 350, based on the Toyota Avalon. But Lexus also offers exclusive models and has since its beginning.

    The Fusion and MKZ are like the Sonata and Optima--very well differentiated by body panels and interiors, but are they so differentiated that one commands a $8K price differential? It's a fair question.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Sort of, but my experience with an 11 Lacrosse CXS loaded, special order screamed LEMON in so many ways that Edsel was likely a silk purse.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    And that might be part of their problems. I had heard that sales were very good there for Lacrosse among rich who could be chauferred. And maybe that is the stupid design of seat memory. Stop vehicle, shut down, get out, open rear door and seat moves ahead into driving position making it difficult for driver to get back in without playing with buttons on side of seat while standing in traffic.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    They put me in a Town Car with 22,000 miles the last time my MKS was in. I had driven a few from previous body design and this one did not measure up. Suspension felt very loose like a small boat moving slowly on a mild chop of waves. Much more like Mercury or Ford than Town Car or is there suspension just that lousy. I'm starting to see such issues in MKS with less than 30,000 miles, plus play in steering input, and braking altering line of travel.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Careful what you wish for, a 300, my Dad had one. Horrible seats, felt like you were sitting on the frame after a few thousand miles.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I'm beginning to feel that anything with a Detroit handle is garbage. Buick, I was in several nearly new Lacrosse and Regal, all of them issues. As to quiet ride, the Malibu was much quieter. And it too is famous for steering and braking issues. The MKS, although I'm starting with deep concerns of it, was the best of any of that Detroit stuff.
    Reliability is still king in my book and there is absolutely no reason not to expect that these days via testing and knowledge of previous design. Instead they have taken the planned obsolescense and money in parts/repairs route these days. What happened to "Quality is job one?" May I suggest unions and attitude.
    You want to do differences on the cheap? Try this. All dies for making parts have a wear factor. Replacements cost money. Use stamping out steel body parts for example. Assume wear starts around 1000 pieces. Those first ones are Lincoln, the next 10,000 are Ford. That is a small inexpensive, maybe even money saving, change.
    Stamp all Lincoln parts out of slightly heavier, better quality metal. Or plastic, or whatever component you are making. Lincoln gets the top run of parts, Fords are seconds. At least Lincoln price might match quality.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    I hope those dies are more durable than that! I used to stamp out sheet metal parts for commercial ovens and ranges over 25 years ago. We'd wear our dies out in less than a week it they could only withstand 1,000 stampings.

    As for me, I've had phenomenal success with domestic offerings, especially Buick. My first car was a 1968 Buick Special Deluxe that was still running in 1992. My wife's 8 year-old LaCrosse is still going strong despite several accidents.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,673
    Are you old? Are you a geezer? Are you washed up, discarded by your kids and ready to die? Then we have a car for you. Buy a new Town Car or Grand Marquis, and get a free 2 year Bumper to Bumper warranty...heck, since you won't live another 3 or 4 years, why pay for a warranty that will outlast you? Yes, for the next 30 days, get into a new Town Car that rides almost as smoothly as that hearse you will soon be occupying! Don't wait! Buy now! You may be leaving us soon, but we have salespeople with kids in college! Come one, come all, and bring your teeth with you so we can understand you when you speak! Soft cookies for those who forget their teeth, customer service is Job 1!!!!!

    I like it...
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,673
    I keep reading that GM (mostly Buick) has been selling well in China...is that really true???...all I have ever heard (having never been to China, but I kinda like the music) is that they live on bicycles, and that their roads are like the paths taken by our settlers with their Conestoga wagons...in other words, even if they buy the cars, do they have multi-lane roads to drive them???

    With 1.3 billion people, do they have the room for these major highways???...do they have the money to buy these cars if they make $2/day making iPhones???...doesn't this all sound fishy to you???...one day they barely get buy on a ball of rice, maybe owning a rickshaw and a bicycle for a one lane dirt road, next day they are driving Lucernes down the freeway, buring up gasoline like there is no tomorrow...

    This is NOT a racist statement, this is what we have been taught for years...it took us many years for high-speed highways to be built, with a population from 100 to 200 million (back then, now 320 million), and we invented the car and gasoline...where are their service stations, the car dealers, the tire shops, etc???

    I simply do not understand how they "moved aside" 1.3 billion people and built an autobahn used by people driving Buicks...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,713
    Buicks were the preferred car of old Chinese royalty. It's seen as a traditional high end brand there.

    Huge population, huge corrupt public sector / obedient party member "middle class" and lots of sweatshop zillionaires with both public sector graft and party connections. Maybe a small part of the population, but 2% of 1.3 billion is a big market. Also a huge landmass, plenty of room for roads, and quick to build when safety and environmental issues are meaningless and labor is expendable.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    I think part of GM's strategy is to ultimately build many of their vehicles in China for export elsewhere, including the US. The problem may become that they will end up behind the proverbial eight ball again as Chinese economic changes are driving up costs there causing many other manufacturer's to look to go elsewhere in the next 5 or 10 years. GM has also formed strong technical links with a Chinese automotive manufacturer who will probably end up stealing their info and then using the corrupt Chinese government and phony legal system to steal the info and screw them over. Bottom line: US taxpayer bailout dollars being used to eventually move jobs overseas while GM mismanagement may be resurfacing???
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    4,012 - best sales month ever, outselling the enthusiast's darling ATS (I know, I know - some of it could be pent up demand that goes away in a month or two). Still a good start.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    edited May 2013
    Heck, the Chinese have built whole cities that are currently unoccupied:

    Mega Ghost Cities
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,814
    I keep reading that GM (mostly Buick) has been selling well in China...is that really true???

    Yep - the top selling model in 2011 was the Buick Excelle - a version of the Cruze with over 250K units sold. The Chevy Cruze was #3 with 220K sold. Foreign brands represent 9 of the top 10 models. Car sales in China topped over 18 million - the highest in the world.

    is that they live on bicycles, and that their roads are like the paths taken by our settlers with their Conestoga wagons...in other words, even if they buy the cars, do they have multi-lane roads to drive them???

    You are using old stereotypes of China. Depending on how it's calculated, cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin are in the top ten most populated cities in the world. They are urban with an urban lifestyle with an upwardly increase in wealth and spending power. Just like in America in the 20's, people are leaving the rural areas for better jobs in the cities.

    ...it took us many years for high-speed highways to be built, with a population from 100 to 200 million (back then, now 320 million)...

    We didn't have a government willing to spend whatever it takes to build the infrastructure to bring the nation from 3rd world to 1st world overnight. One can travel across China on highways. In fact Shanghai alone has 31 highways per wiki. Greater Shanghai has four ring roads.

    ...we invented the car and gasoline...where are their service stations, the car dealers, the tire shops, etc???

    Actually, we didn't invent the car - we just popularized it. As for the support system, it's located where ours is - along side the hundreds of thousands of miles of roads.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,814
    I think part of GM's strategy is to ultimately build many of their vehicles in China for export elsewhere, including the US.

    I see it more of GM investing in China like Toyota and Honda did in the United States 20 years ago. Build plants in the largest market in the world to support that market.

    Some day you will see more Chinese built vehicles sold in North America - Honda already sells a Chinese made Fit in Canada. But you will also see cars built in Germany, Korea, South Africa, India, et al. We live in a global market.

    But the cost of manufacturing in China is already going up. I was speaking with an business contact who told me his company was bringing production back from China to the US because the cost of labor and shipping was eroding the cost savings.

    GM has also formed strong technical links with a Chinese automotive manufacturer who will probably end up stealing their info and then using the corrupt Chinese government and phony legal system to steal the info and screw them over.

    GM has been building cars in China for almost 20 years. Yes, the Chinese are very good at copying. Yet they have been unable to copy well enough to design their own car that can compete outside of China.

    Bottom line: US taxpayer bailout dollars being used to eventually move jobs overseas while GM mismanagement may be resurfacing???

    Should they invest in plants outside the largest market in the world making cars that are too expensive to sell in that market? IMHO, that's not good business. I'm a for real GM shareholder and understand the need to be in that market. I would prefer that the Chinese innovation culture was more like ours but one has to deal with the climate that's current.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,189
    My concern with GM in China is that they may be going too far "all in" compared to most other auto firms investing there. When you are dealing with the moral and ethical challenges in China, I can't help thinking GM is going to end up with short term gain, long term pain. Most companies are playing it over there like a poker game, but GM seems to be more like putting a bunch of money into lotto tickets. China could reform and if that happens, then GM would be the big winner - but I've got my doubts. This is a country that actively supports North Korea and Iran which is probably a reflection of it's own corruption.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,713
    edited May 2013
    Too bad ideas like ethics don't really play into the business mindset, especially when dealing with our most favored "partner".

    China could reform, but it will take a bloodbath to make it happen.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Apparently you have not been to China recently. Although there are large swaths of countryside still undeveloped, the cities are well developed. Multi lane roads there are common. The new Shanghai makes many other cities book primitive by comparison. And GM sales three times as many Buicks in China as it does in the US.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Some pent-up demand, as you point out, has to be there, given all the hype and orders followed by the months long delay in getting sufficient cars to dealerships. Yes, let's see if Lincoln can sustain 4K sales of MKZ a month. Let's see if they can build on it, because that is still less than 50K a year, a level Lincoln used to see necessary to maintain a model (before the bottom fell out and realism took over).

    BTW, I don't think comparing MKZ and ATS sales means much. They are in different categories, the ATS being much smaller and aimed at a different audience. Further, ATS is a size class Cadillac has not tried to sell since the ill-fated Cimarron decades ago, and there is no pent-up demand for it, as it has been on sale since the second half of last year.

    Actually, neither are the CTS and MKZ exactly direct competitors, though closer than MKZ and ATS. The current lame duck CTS is six model years old, and the new one is almost here. It will remain RWD and will be bigger than the MKZ.

    MKZ does have to straddle some of the greater variety of Cadillacs until Lincoln has more new models on offer. The current MKS, MKT, MKX and Navi are all placeholders until new iron steps in, as none of these models can expect to increase their market share in their current forms. When it arrives, the MKC should bump overall Lincoln sales up. If they ever design an MKR sedan for real, that could also bump up Lincoln reputation.

    At some point, Lincoln will have to become a name in other markets, like Buick and Cadillac have already begun to be. After all, it is a world car market now, and the Ford brand is riding it. (So is Chevrolet.) Looking at sales in the US no longer tells the real story. Ford and GM are both bloody messes in western Europe, but are doing very well with sales in parts of Asia. Asia is where it is at right now, and Lincoln ain't there.
  • akratzerakratzer Posts: 4
    Ford execs need to look hard at Cadillac and BMW. Rear wheel drive is a traditional luxury car feature. And V8 engines are nice too. Lincoln needs to try something bold. What would make me buy a Lincoln would be a retro styled mid size sedan powered by the 5 litre Coyote engine. Perhaps even center opening (suicide) doors which would recall the '61 Continental and today's Rolls-Royce. And a classic sedan shape can have a good cd. Look at the success of the retro styled Mustang and Dodge Challenger. I'd buy a rwd, V8 Continental in a heartbeat. I've owned a '62, '63, and a '65 Continental. I loved them. They were just too big and heavy for today's market.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    That might be a niche model, but for volume, V8s don't cut it anymore. BMW, Mercedes, even Jag and Land Rover are utilizing them less. Lincoln has to go where there are many customers.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 109
    I received a direct mail offer from a Lincoln dealer in the San Diego area to purchase a new Lincoln at value pricing that Lincoln is presently offering on all models including the newly designed MKZ. That's on the mailer.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Yes, incentives are being used on the MKZ, which makes sense, given its botched introduction, and how late it is already in the 2013 model year. Had they been able to label it a 2014, things might have been different. But as it is, they are generating sales now.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    The only reason ATS sales are being compared to MKZ sales is to respond to the folks who think Cadillac's strategy is far superior to the current Lincoln strategy because they're building performance vehicles that appeal to enthusiasts as opposed to more luxury oriented vehicles like Lincoln and Lexus.

    I think MKZ sales will level out around 3500/month which is a nice improvement over the old one and a step in the right direction. I don't really expect it to hit 50K/yr until it gets a styling refresh to bring it fully inline with Max's styling direction and it gets more Lincoln exclusive drivetrains and features and the dealer experience changes start showing up.

    MKC will be the real test with 100% Max styling and hopefully new features. I expect it to match SRX sales and will help a lot with Lincoln volume and profits.

    The new CTS will be larger and more expensive and that doesn't usually translate to more sales (maybe more profit per unit though).

    The question is whether the ATS/CTS strategy is going to result in increased sales or if it's just going to split Caddy's previous CTS sales between 2 vehicles on 2 platforms.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    That is the question, but so far, Cadillac sales have been growing, a good sign for them. The CTS is in sore need of an update and will have one this year. The ATS is getting a coupe version which will attract a few more customers as well.

    I don't think anyone criticizes BMW for having a 3 series and a 5 series, or Mercedes having a C Class and E Class (and now CLA Class), or Audi having an A4 and an A6 (and soon A3 sedan), not to mention the small and medium Infinitys, the small and mid-size Lexus RWD models, the small and mid-size Acuras, and so on and so on. Jaguar is adding a sedan below the XF. Moving downmarket just a tad, Buick has enhanced its sales somewhat by having both the Verano and the Regal.

    Yes, in having more models, one sometimes does cannibalize some sales of the other. But if overall sales and market share (and showroom traffic) increase, it is often worth the trade-offs, or most companies would not be doing it. Profit after all is why they are in business, and making the best products gives one a better chance at good overall profits.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    "The question is whether the ATS/CTS strategy is going to result in increased sales or if it's just going to split Caddy's previous CTS sales between 2 vehicles on 2 platforms."

    The first and current CTS generations used their own dedicated platforms, but the 2014 CTS will share its platform with the ATS.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    Well that certainly helps. I knew they were sharing the platforms with Chevy but I thought it was 2 different platforms. Maybe GM is starting to get it.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Cadillac is temporarily sharing a platform with the 2014 Impala and the XTS. They also share the Escalade platform with Chevy, not unlike most every company that still makes a body on frame full-size SUV. The SRX however is not the same as the Equinox (which shares its architecture with the GMC Terrain). The CTS, CTS coupe, CTS wagon, ATS and coming large car (which will be the flagship, and probably the death knell for the XTS) share nothing with Chevy.

    Maybe GM is starting to get it? Get what? Ford's solution to re-making Lincoln?

    GM has spent a ton of money on Cadillac. To go back to dressed up Chevys at this point would make no sense. They have re-built some market share--not an easy task in this VERY competitive and crowded market. They have re-established some credibility. They now have a market in China and a beginning one elsewhere.

    This fight is not going to get any easier at all. Platform sharing can work, if the engineering and details are done with great care. So can FWD/AWD.

    But the market continues to demand greater exclusivity. That is one reason why VW uses completely different architecture for the Passat and CC and A4 (the A4 is engineered with the engine further back, like a RWD design). It could be coincidence of course, but Audi sales have grown remarkably since Audis have stopped looking like mainstream FWD models.

    Making excuses for Lincoln will not help them. This brand needs to pull out some stops, whether they share all platforms with Ford or not. I doubt that there is any cheap way anymore to gain purchase in a field of luxury brands that is light years better than it was just 10 years ago. Starting to get it? Let's see if Lincoln is starting to get it first.

    The MKZ will sell, as there is a market for Avalons and ES350s and Azeras. But these are not the cars that are garnering accolades and building the reputations of their brands. Lexus can cater to this crowd and make big bucks, because after all, they are Lexus, and in addition to the 350, they have many exclusive models as well.

    There is not much of a market remaining anymore for cars like the Taurus and Impala and and Lacrosse and XTS. As that market shrinks slowly, the slack is being taken up by mid-sizers, small CUVs and compact cars. GM sees the writing and that is why there will be a RWD full-size Cadillac and a RWD Buick Regal. I fear a re-designed MKS, even if not so tall and ungainly looking, will still not attain lots of sales, because FWD large cars in general are losing ground.

    The MKC will be coming into one of the market's current sweet spots. If it can catch a break, it may outsell the older SRX. But where are the innovative ideas that create market categories...past examples of Ford being many: Thunderbird (4 seater, and later 4 door), Mustang, Explorer, the Mark coupes, Navigator? The MKT debacle was about as bad a botch as the ovoidly weird 96 Taurus and the Edsel.

    Focus groups will often lead you astray. I've been in a few, and I cannot imagine how that data garners such importance, when studies show that people will say and do things in these conditions that do not translate at all to their behavior in the real world.

    The Taurus should stand as a ready and constant reminder to Ford how easy it is to botch a better idea. Or how easy it is to go from top to bottom because you think you understand what is going on when you really don't have a clue. They have managed to claw back some respectability to the Taurus name after so many years of mucking it up. But it is still stop-gap, and Ford knows the current Taurus could easily be a better machine than it it is.

    Transfer that to Lincoln. The MKZ will satisfy many customers but it will not change Lincoln's reputation. Subsequent iterations and products will have to do that. Maybe Lincoln is starting to get it?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,690
    edited May 2013
    I guess you missed that the ATS platform will also be used for the Camaro and another Chevy car in addition to the CTS. Can you imagine the outcry if Ford tries to use the Mustang platform for a Lincoln flagship? Some will forgive it as long as it's RWD but others will say that Lincoln is an also-ran because it's not using bespoke platforms.

    You're putting too much importance on "reputation". The only thing Lincoln needs is good luxury vehicles that are nothing like Fords.

    And no - it doesn't make any difference if they start with a Caddy or a Chevy - platform sharing is platform sharing.
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