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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,310
    edited October 5
    berri said:

    I wonder if Nissan's Infinity makes any money?

    An excellent question. So far as I know, only the Infinitys are RWD. I think all of the more pedestrian Nissan's are FWD.

    Go figure.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    They're RWD now but only the Q50 and QX60 are above 1000 units per month. They're also global models and share a lot of the platform components between models.

    Lincoln can do RWD too but not on models like the MKC. Not necessary and too expensive by comparison. They'll need too share the platform with multiple models and a few Fords too. And sell them globally.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,939
    The RX is built on the Highlander chassis. But Toyota packs value into the Lexus, and lots of improvements. Obviously it's enough that people will fork up the extra $$$.

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    And if Ford does the same thing they'll be just as successful with those types of vehicles. The new MKX should mirror the MKC as far as features, style and differentiation. There is still room above that for higher performance CUVs and SUVs (Aviator, Navigator) on different platforms if necessary.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,939
    Judging from airport traffic, the Navigator is certainly popular as livery vehicles.

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Current rumor is the new Lincoln Aviator will be a RWD crossover.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423

    Yes, I saw that rumor in TTAC.they also said that the new Taurus did not test well in clinics and that it may be dead in the water.

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    I heard no new Taurus too but no explanation whether that meant it continued on the current platform (at least for police duty I'm sure) or it would be replaced. There are rumors of RWD sedans for Lincoln and Ford presumably based on the new Aviator platform but no concrete info. Another poster on another forum heard that Explorer and Aviator would go to a RWD CUV platform independently from TTAC. Otherwise I wouldn't believe anything TTAC says about Ford especially about having inside sources given their current relationship with Ford.

    Ford is certainly keeping all this tight to the vest whatever they're planning. Full sized sedans are a dwindling market for sure so they wouldn't be losing much if they ditched it altogether for more exciting products elsewhere in the lineup.

    There is supposed to be a Taurus on CD4 to be sold in China. I think China is going to be providing the added volume to make a lot of things more viable than they would have been before. We'll see. I'm still cautiously optimistic about Lincoln's future direction but I'm as tired as anyone of waiting around for it.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Right now CUVs are the hot sellers. One day they may go the way of coupes, minivans and large SUVs in that their market share may dwindle. It will be many years before that happens, so Lincoln's focus on CUVs will serve them better than trying to save the MKS by updating it. There are SO many luxury sedans in the market that a new one isn't going to get a lot of purchase...unless it is truly innovative and outstanding in its niche, like the Tesla S.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Look at the MKC vs. the Escape. There are no similarities at all. They even widened the wheel track by an inch or two. Same for the interior. Even the most jaded reviewers admit it's basically a new vehicle with none of the leftover Ford bits like before. That's what you can expect going forward. Even the current MKZ was done before the new direction so MKC is the only one you can go by (and the new MKX which is due out next year).

    CUVs are the hot ticket right now and can also command premium prices. When you're selling Navigators and Escalades for $75K there is a lot of room for a $60K CUV.

    I heard Explorers are going for $50K. That leave more room for more expensive platforms (but not bespoke single vehicle platforms - that's still way too expensive. Something Cadillac apparently hasn't figured out).
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    "That leave more room for more expensive platforms (but not bespoke single vehicle platforms - that's still way too expensive. Something Cadillac apparently hasn't figured out)."

    I'm sure GM isn't blind to platform sharing, since they did it for decades across brands for decades before GM's bankruptcy, and also since the bankruptcy. For example, the next Chevy Camaro will share Cadillac's ATS and CTS platform, as will the next Impala SS (or whatever the sedan that's currently imported from Australia will be called. Also, I've read that Buick may introduce a model using this platform.

    An important strategic difference between Cadillac and Lincoln is that several years ago, before the bankruptcy, Cadillac decided to convert most of its new platforms to RWD, to better compete with BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infiniti. The XTS sedan and SRX crossover are exceptions, since they still ride on GM's old, but updated, FWD platforms (similar to what Toyota does with its ES sedan and RX crossover). Interestingly, Chrysler and Dodge also converted their 300, Charger and Challenger to RWD several years ago. All offer AWD versions, of course.

    Lincoln, by contrast, has taken the Audi and Acura approach, by adapting mass-market Ford Division platforms to its luxury brand. Besides different styling, features, warranties and dealerships, Audi and, to a lesser extent Acura, differentiate their luxury brands from their mass-market VW and Honda brands by greater emphasis on AWD (Quattro and SH-AWD, respectively).

    It should be noted that Cadillac's newer RWD models have gotten better reviews than Lincoln's newer models. The question that remains unanswered is whether Lincoln will be able to succeed, as Audi has. Acura's crossovers and minivan are successful, but its sedans remain a work-in-progress. Thus far, Lincoln has been less successful than Acura, across model lines.

    If Cadillac's strategy is ultimately successful, China, and globalism in general, will play an important role, by making greater economies of scale possible.

    While Cadillac's RWD models have gotten excellent reviews from the automotive press, consumers haven't shown the same enthusiasm, if you go by sales. Most BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus buyers don't cross-shop Cadillac in the U.S. Cadillac lost its "standard of the world" image decades ago, but aims to eventually re-establish its reputation as the leading luxury brand. It'll be very difficult, but not impossible. Lincoln, which was once the #2 luxury brand, has been even less successful than Cadillac in the marketplace.

    Based on their current strategies, I think Cadillac will continue to outsell Lincoln. I don't know about profitability since, as far as I know, GM and Ford don't disclose profitability by brand.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    If you think about how much Cadillac has spent the last decade on new platforms (some being shared now) and what they're planning to do (the new Uber sedan is getting its own new platform e.g.) compared to current sales figures I don't see how Cadillac can possibly be profitable now. Don't forget ELR which currently has $20K discounts. They're spending money on things with limited ROI opportunities. And while technologically they may be making good vehicles, they're not selling. You can build a better BMW but you can't force BMW buyers to buy Cadillacs (or Lincolns). Cadillac is building an uber sedan that can't possibly sell more than a couple hundred per month (if that much) yet they don't have a single regular hybrid vehicle. ELR is a complete boondoggle. The lowly MKZ is outselling both the ATS and CTS last time I checked and it's on a much cheaper platform.

    You have to know your market. It appears Lincoln is ready to enter the $50K+ market and probably with some RWD/higher performance offerings but they started with higher volume cheaper vehicles like the MKC and I'm sure they will use a shared platform with multiple vehicles reducing development costs whereas Cadillac seems to want to start with a dedicated platform and extend it later. Which might be ok if GM's margins were huge and they were flush with cash and they weren't coming out of a recent bankruptcy. I think they're mortgaging the farm on these new products that don't appear to have a really good business case for long term profitability.

    Lincoln's plan isn't as sexy but it's way more sound financially speaking. Ford says Lincoln is profitable today which isn't hard to believe considering the amount of platform sharing and higher ATPs.

    I think the answer is somewhere between where Lincoln and Cadillac are today and most of the growth will come from the Asian brands not the German brands.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332


    "...the new Uber sedan is getting its own new platform...ELR is a complete boondoggle. The lowly MKZ is outselling both the ATS and CTS last time I checked and it's on a much cheaper platform."

    You make a good point regarding ROI, but let's remember that the strategic decisions that we're discussing here weren't made by Mary Barra. let's give this new CEO a chance to prove herself. Also, with GM's continuing success in China the RWD platforms may yet turn out to be a wise long-term ROI strategic deecision.

    Are you sure the uber sedan will have it's own platform? I read that it'll share the ATS/CTS platform, but you can't always believe what you read.

    I agree that the ELR is a flop. It's gotten decent reviews, but it's overpriced, even after the cost cut.

    It's interesting that the MKZ is outselling the ATS and CTS combined.

    Maybe Lincoln will find a way to utilize the new Mustang platform. It would make sense.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,348
    akirby said:

    The lowly MKZ is outselling both the ATS and CTS last time I checked and it's on a much cheaper platform.

    Sales stats YTD thru September (source: goodcarbadcar.net):

    Lincoln MKZ 26,769
    Cadillac CTS 22,921
    Cadillac ATS 22,535

    So individually the Lincoln outsells each; taken together, it comes up well short.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    You implied above, Allen, that MKZ was outselling ATS and CTS combined. Obviously, hpmctorque got that impression from what you wrote earlier. Thank you for clarifying in your last message.

    Yes, MKZ slightly outsells individual ATS or CTS this year so far, but so what? In September, Cadillac sold 2239 ATSs and 2282 CTSs (which are more expensive than MKZs), while Lincoln sold 2176 MKZs. Obviously both Cadillacs are selling at least as well as MKZ and there are TWO of them. So this at least doubles Cadillac sales compared to Lincoln.

    In 2013, Cadillac sold 38,319 ATSs and 32,343 CTSs. MKZ sold 32,361 units in 2013. Yea, MKZ. A better showing than the previous generation, but this is a difficult market with tons of excellent cars in it.

    Now let's talk XTS v. MKS. September: XTS sold 1979. Not so good. MKS sold 457. Laughable.

    We could also compare Escalade v. Navigator sales. No comparison. Or SRX v. MKX.

    The point is, Cadillac, like Lincoln, is trying to come back from a huge fall in the luxury arena. Meanwhile, new and good luxury models are being added worldwide so quickly that even when admittedly excellent products like the ATS and CTS barely keep pace. You already see and acknowledge that "old Lincoln" designed the MKZ. And it didn't follow it up with three more products within a year like the competition now does. Choices are perhaps far too many, but Audi, Mercedes and BMW found success by offering many more models than anyone else.

    Cadillac may not succeed (although they have a leg up in the market that really matters now: China), but they are giving it the old college try. If they build momentum in Asia, it does not matter if sales are not that spectacular in the US. This is why Buick is still around. It is hot in China.

    Lincoln, as you agree, has been slow slow slow for years. The best news so far is the CUV proposed off the next Ford Explorer, which will be RWD. I have hopes for Lincoln now. But I have no need to denigrate what Cadillac is doing at the same time. Except for the ELR. Geez. What a stupid effing thing. If they were going to charge that much for it, they either needed to make it a four door, or better yet, a four door jacked up a couple inches and called a CUV.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,939
    edited October 10
    Perhaps China will be Cadillac's Valhalla? Maybe Lincoln can join them? China's GDP is now larger than the USA.

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    I never said "combined" so I'm not sure why that was assumed. My point was simply that Cadillac is spending billions trying to be BMW and it's not resulting in more sales. They replaced one successful vehicle with 2 on a new platform and still have the same amount of sales. What did they accomplish? And now they want to build an even bigger and more expensive sedan that will sell in miniscule numbers on a NEW platform? How does that even remotely make business sense?

    It's easy to overlook the business aspect if you like the vehicles. And the vehicles themselves are fine. I just don't think they're being smart about where they're spending their money these days and in the long run it's going to hurt them.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    As an example - if they had not done anything to the CTS - it would be selling 5K per month on a paid for platform. One car to make, no new platform costs and 5K sales per month. Instead they built a new platform and then built not one but two new vehicles on that platform and for all that investment they now have - drum roll - 5K sales. And why did they do that? Because they want to be BMW and BMW has both a 3 and a 5 series. But BMW buyers don't buy Cadillacs (or Lincolns).
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Sorry, but the old CTS was not going to sell 5,000 a month. Cars need to be extensively updated and renewed regularly to keep sales in this competitive world. For all that investment, they are building not only sales (remember that they are still trouncing Lincoln), but a world reputation. They are poised to do well in China, and remember, that is where the growth is. Besides that, the CTS has moved upmarket, which generally means fewer sales for any vehicle, but bigger profits on each one.

    Lincoln has dithered for years and years trying to do a luxury brand without investing gobs of money. If Cadillac had taken Lincoln's route, I'd bet a great deal of money they would have Lincoln level sales now. This is an environment where every manufacturer has to claw their way to any new sales conquests against established brands. Look at the Audi Q3. It is just introduced and already trouncing the sales of the MKC, a vehicle that is at least as good. (Of course Ford needs to stop putting 6 speed transmissions in everything when the other luxury brands have 7, or more usually 8 or 9 now.)

    You have argued for years that Cadillac is using a poor business plan. I respectfully disagree. Cadillac's fortunes and reputation had fallen as far as Lincoln's, and it has taken them many years and lots of investment to earn back their respect. That they have now done. Cadillac may not recover to be the "Standard of the World," but they do understand that the competition is a moving target moving very fast. Sales are not as good as they would like, but usually 2 to 3 times what Lincoln moves. Plus, no one is heaping any accolades upon Lincoln vehicles after all these years of changing tactics.

    Even the well received MKC is merely competitive with a lot of fine vehicles in that category (GLA, NX, Q3, etc). MKC isalso borrowing some sales from MKX, as happens with any brand. Should they combine the two? I think not.

    Don't attack Cadillac for doing things that improve its reputation, keep sales from sliding further, and increase its chances of domination in China. Let's hope the tight-lipped Lincoln team is now going their own way, with some real surprises in store. A RWD/AWD CUV could really give it a leg up.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,310
    Nicely put.

    My brief love affair with Lincoln is long since history. It's interesting to watch from afar.

    I'll never own another American-built vehicle.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    So as long as they build cars you like it doesn't matter whether they're actually making money or not or whether they can stay in business long term? Got it.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    No, that is not what I said. At all. I don't wish to buy a Cadillac, but I do wish to acknowledge their effort. You will not get my point.

    You think you know what will keep Cadillac in business long term better than they do. You have no inside information, only a strongly held opinion.

    Cadillac already manufactures the XTS and ATS in China, with the CTS to start soon. Which Lincolns are manufactured there? China slaps big tariffs on imported cars.

    I have no idea if Cadillac's plan will work out long-term. You don't either. But the companies doing the best in the luxury arena are pouring huge sums into new models all the time. Luxury sales are profitable. Audi is a cash cow for VW.

    Meanwhile, you think Cadillac would be better off with an aging and less expensive previous generation CTS, rather than pushing ahead with model range expansion and moving upmarket. It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit.

    Of course some brands aren't going to survive in this changing world. Lincoln has proven that cautious gets you nowhere fast. China consumers have a lot of say in how this will go down.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    You know what happens when you aim high and miss? You lose billions and you go bankrupt or you put your parent company in a bad financial position. Sound familiar?

    New platforms are expensive. New platforms for one vehicle that cannot possibly sell more than a few hundred vehicles per month can only be justified with exorbitant prices which Cadillac buyers have not shown they're willing to pay. Look at the XLR. Look at what happened to CTS sales when the price went up. There are certain brands that can charge $100K+. Cadillac and Lincoln aren't among them. Ford understands that. It's not a wise investment of money or resources.

    Look at the ELR. How much did it cost to develop that one-off vehicle? How much did they make on that boondoggle?

    Cadillac could do well in the $40K - $80K market with the right products and platforms. Crossovers are hot right now and they only have one? Lincoln is planning to have 3 all built on shared platforms. Lincoln has one hybrid now and will probably have them on multiple models under the "green label" initiative. Why? Because they sell like hotcakes. Cadillac decides to do the ELR. Which one makes money?

    Please explain the advantage of replacing a single vehicle selling 5K/month with 2 new vehicles on a new platform that together only sell 5K/month? Why would you build a new platform for a $100K+ uber sedan with potential sales of 200/month max instead of adding another crossover that could be sold for $50K-$60K and be built on an existing platform and could sell thousands per month? Why would you build ELR that nobody wants instead of adding a hybrid option to ATS, SRX or CTS?

    China will add a lot of volume for both Caddy and Lincoln but I don't think it's that much different from the rest of the world.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423

    You trot out the same argument every time. You ignore when I counter your points and keep repeating what you said before. Ok, an old CTS that couldn't possibly sell 5K month would sell 5K amonth because you say it would. Selling 2500 ATSs at previous CTS prices plus 2500 CTSs at higher prices than before is not better than sticking with one model that is fading? Ok, you are right.

    Sure.go on about the ELR. That proves you dont even read much of what I write,  because I beat you to that one.

    And if you think Cadillac will ignore the CUV market, think again. 

    I have hope for Lincoln now. I have almost none that you will ever agree to disagree or concede a single point. So once again, I am out of here and you can have at the last words. Heck I could probably write them for you.

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    CTS sales:

    2007 57,029
    2008 58,774
    2009 38,817
    2010 45,656
    2011 55,042
    2012 46,979
    2013 32,343

    ATS sales:

    2012 7,008
    2013 38,319

    CTS sales were fine until the ATS showed up and took away sales. 55K in 2011. No reason to think it would have dropped if the ATS had not arrived especially with a refresh.

    And let's say Cadillac is making slightly more gross profit on ATS plus CTS than they were with the old CTS alone. How much do you think it cost them to develop that new platform and then develop 2 brand new vehicles off that platform? A new vehicle can cost $1B. A new platform can cost 6 times that much. Even if you mitigate the platform costs by sharing it with Chevy you're still looking at $4B minimum for ATS and CTS.

    At an average gross profit of $5K for 60k vehicles per year that's only $2.4B profit over 8 years. By that time you have to re-invest even more in new vehicles and a platform update.

    You just lost $1.6B. But that's ok because the media loves it, right?

    That's the problem with building new platforms and multiple vehicles without significant volume increases.

    What do you think the math would look like for an uber sedan that can't possibly sell more than 200 vehicles per month?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,891
    "The combination of ads and parodies appears to be helping consideration of the Lincoln brand, said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for Edmunds.com. Lincoln brand consideration on Edmunds.com for the week ended Sept. 21 was 1.6 percent, up from 1.2 percent the previous week, representing a roughly 31 percent lift in consideration.

    The shopping traffic was the highest it has been all year, Caldwell said.

    She said that the segments poked more fun of McConaughey than Lincoln, so they didn't come across as disparaging the brand."

    Lincoln ad spoofs elevate brand's exposure (autonews.com)

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,747
    Ford has had a few duds as spokespersons but they've also hit a few home runs with Mike Rowe and Denis Leary. I think MM will be the 3rd.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,348
    Before Mercury went away, I loved their ads with Jill Wagner. A few years ago Cadillac used Kate Walsh and that was a good ad also, but they never carried on with it.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,966
    That Ellen edition commercial was pretty funny. I had read that it was out there, but I hadn't seen it.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,891
    The Ellen thing was supposed to be a spoof but now you have me wondering if the spoofers were paid by Lincoln to help the "real" ad get traction.

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

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