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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 35,491
    edited January 5
    If that's a real H-D helmet, it needs leather, studs, and a $1200 price tag. In my area anyway, they mostly seem to sell to flamboyant older guys who still think 1972 biker movies are cool, and a few younger guys who think a vibrating bike and some questionable facial hair make them look tough. Many are the accountants during the week - suburban rebel on the weekend types, so they might carry a laptop :)

    My friend has probably been described as a lunatic, maybe it's a demographic Lincoln can chase. I know what his next car won't be. He's fascinated by the MKZ pano roof, and doesn't mind the premium over a loaded Fusion - but the lease rates the last time he looked weren't terribly competitive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 47,559
    Well that's the brilliance of Harley marketing--they turned mediocrity into gold.

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    Caddy is dropping CTS prices up to $3K and making $2200 worth of options standard at no extra cost due to poor sales and high inventory levels. ATS is down 33%. CTS down 7%. XTS off 50%. Way too much inventory.

    But hey, how about those BMW killers?
  • berriberri Posts: 4,694
    I think both Cadillac and Lincoln need to figure out how to improve their depreciation rates if they are going to be strong luxury competitors. That Cadillac example is just another example of what over pricing can do to a model and it's brand's reputation.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,694
    edited January 14
    So I'm looking at Detroit auto show stuff and see the upcoming revised MKX crossover. Lots of MKC styling cues. Then I read while it will be a 2016, it won't have the all new and supposedly much improved version 3 Ford My Touch/Synch coming out for 2016 models. What the heck? How can you seriously claim you are out to make Lincoln a real luxury line again, and then cut corners like this? It just doesn't make sense. I can already hear the "it's just another Ford Edge" talk if cost cutting like this is going to keep taking place. Looks like a nice vehicle, but more dumb management decisions. Maybe the new system won't be ready yet. But then, don't release a new luxury model if it's not ready yet - just hurts the car's image upon launch.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    They're not cutting any corners. Sync 3 just isn't ready yet. There is also a good chance that there will be a Lincoln specific version with more features that they'll unveil later.

    Do you really think they should delay the launch of a brand new vehicle with a brand new engine just because the new version of an infotainment system isn't ready yet? How does that make any sense?

    Isn't the 2.7LEB with 330 hp and 370+ lb/ft of torque more important and more relevant?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,432
    The MKX has already been delayed. Now they are talking next fall before sales begin. Let's not hold it up any longer, just to get some newer electronics. Too bad they won't have a better transmission to begin with. Six speeds are old school in that class now. Caddy will have their new SRX soon after. Let a new fight begin...

    Ford made a big splash at NAIAS with the GT (WOW!!!), the 2017 Raptor and 350GTR. I wonder though if more effort could have been put into bringing more mainstream models to market sooner. Lincoln is doing well with the MKC and MKZ, but badly needs more products. No one should even buy the MKS, given how it is so outclassed by the competition, and the MKT hardly even counts as a model with its slow sales. Maybe Lincoln will pull some surprises in the next year or two, like Ford did with the awesone awesome awesome GT, and Buick with its Avenir concept (an extraordinarily beautiful large car).

    Here's hoping. I must say it is refreshing to see some unexpected product proposals. Ford kept rumors of another GT under tight wraps until just a few months ago, and no drawings or photos were leaked. I kinda like that.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 44,964
    edited January 14
    akirby said:

    Do you really think they should delay the launch of a brand new vehicle with a brand new engine just because the new version of an infotainment system isn't ready yet?

    Isn't the 2.7LEB with 330 hp and 370+ lb/ft of torque more important and more relevant?

    I dunno, there's a lot of people who really don't care about all that HP and torque. They are on the phone all day and want the voice activation (plus voice activated music), the concierge functions and the nav. The swipe screen like their iPad is important to some too.

    Anymore, not having a USB port is a deal killer for me.

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

  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,432
    I agree. Not having a USB port is stupid. So many models have had that for years. No need to delay a launch in order to work in something so ubiquitous and necessary.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 44,964
    edited January 14
    That was my generic USB rant - surely the MKX has (at least) one of those?

    (Whew, yeah, it has at least one and a slot. Thought I was going to have to sell my Ford stock for a minute there. :) A Sync3 delay I can sort of understand but there's a lot of demand for tech now).

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    MFT has 2 usb ports and a SD card slot that can also be used for music or pictures if you don't have Nav. Sync 3 is the same.

    The point was that MFT was and is still just fine as an infotainment system now that they've stabilized it. I believe it has all the features that the competition has and maybe more. It certainly doesn't put them at a disadvantage against the competition yet. And I do still think we'll see something better from Lincoln within the next year.

    If Lincoln is doing everything wrong and Caddy is doing everything right, why are Lincoln sales up and Caddy sales down? And why are they cutting CTS prices?

    What good does it do to have great products like ATS and CTS if you can't sell them in sufficient volume or at target prices?

    When Lincoln does roll out great new products they'll have an upgraded dealer experience, black label customizations, high end Revel audio and other exclusive features that Caddy won't have.

    And since Lincoln has been profitable for several years now, there is no hurry.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 44,964
    edited January 14
    That reminds me - haven't heard any real gripping about management Ford since Mark Fields replaced Mulally last summer. I think that's a good thing.

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

  • berriberri Posts: 4,694
    I think Cadillac has several problems. First and foremost, you aren't going to sell them at German pricing. GM got too aggressive. Most of the Cadillac's kind of look very similar and that look is starting to get long in the tooth. Finally, do Cadillac drivers really want a European suspension, or are they looking more for a classic American luxury ride? I know it's in to think Euro, but I have to think that if you are looking for that, you'll probably just buy European unless there is a huge price discount by going Cadillac. Lexus may be making a similar poor judgment. Lexus sold very well when they were similar to American luxury cruisers. I think some of the new Lincoln products are styling more American these days, and that might just be a smart idea while Cadillac and Lexus seem to pursue faux German.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    That is exactly the problem. They're building nice vehicles but they are vehicles that their dealers can't sell for the prices they need to charge. Also one of the reasons for a big inventory backup is that Cadillac was paying their dealers cash for ordering more vehicles (not for actually selling them, just for ordering them). What a recipe for disaster. When the dealers complained Johan basically said that they aren't getting the bigger (meaning longer time frames - 5 years or more) picture of where he wants to take the brand. Unfortunately Johan doesn't get the current picture that dealers can't sell the current products the way they need to and most of the other new products recently announced will just make it worse instead of better.

    Timex can't sell $5K watches and Cadillac can't sell BMWs at BMW prices yet. Neither can Lincoln but they understand that and are going after what they can sell and make a profit. It may not be sexy but one allows you to stay in business and the other doesn't.

    Cadillac should be spending money helping dealers upgrade their facilities and experience and building vehicles that their buyers want instead of alienating their buyers going for conquest sales that aren't there.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,967
    I thought this was a discussion about what Ford needs to do with Lincoln. Stop worrying about Cadillac, guys.

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    But all we've heard the last 3 years is how Caddy is doing it right and Lincoln is failing. This shows the complete opposite. What Lincoln needs to do is anything but what Caddy is doing.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,967
    I really don't want to get into this discussion but let's look at some facts. YTD sales thru December courtesy of goodcarbadcar.net:

    Cadillac CTS 31,115
    Cadillac ATS 29,890
    Cadilac XTS 24,335
    Cadillax SRX 53,578
    Cadillac Escalade 30,552
    Total: 170,750

    Lincoln MKZ 34,009
    Lincoln MKS 8,160
    Lincoln MKC 13,077
    Lincoln MKX 23,995
    Lincoln MKT 4,800
    Lincoln Navigator 10,433
    Total: 94.474

    Both brands are making some good to excellent vehicles now but they have taken different approaches - Lincoln by building off thinly-disguised Ford vehicles, while Cadillac has done that in a couple of cases (XTS and Escalade) while using unique platforms for others. It is a different strategy that may allow them to sell at higher price points. It takes time to build a brand back up. Both may succeed. Results will only be known over the long term. For my needs, I prefer what Cadillac has to offer right now. But the overall market will decide over time. You probably can't go wrong with either.

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    Cadillac also had the highest incentives for 2014 and they've recently had to cut CTS prices. If you're losing money then higher volume just helps you go bankrupt faster. Lincolns may be "thinly disguised Fords" but they're turning a profit by keeping volumes in check and keeping ATPs high and incentives lower. Cadillac is ignoring the folks who want to buy their vehicles and trying to sell cars to folks who would never set foot in a Cadillac (or Lincoln) dealership and they're failing miserably. Adding more even higher priced vehicles is only going to make it worse. Crossovers will help but that should have been the first move.

    It's understandable that people like Caddy's vehicles and therefore try to rationalize their business model as opposed to Lincoln's, but in the end it's about being profitable and Caddy has a bigger road ahead of them than Lincoln does.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,967
    I seriously doubt that Lincoln is turning a profit at 94,000 vehicles a year even though their development costs are probably low. They could probably improve those results if they were to drop 2 or 3 vehicles that do not sell worth a lick like the MKS and MKT.

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    Ford has said specifically that Lincoln was profitable at least 3 years ago. The reason is simple - they're spending very little on vehicle development using shared Ford platforms and they're keeping ATPs relatively high maximizing profits on less volume. They could increase sales by adding incentives and/or reducing prices but that wouldn't help profits.

    Lincoln is also putting a lot of effort into upgrading dealerships and dealer experiences which Caddy also needs desperately. And Black Label customized designs. Luxury buyers want this stuff more than they want RWD.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,967
    akirby said:

    Ford has said specifically that Lincoln was profitable at least 3 years ago.

    They were probably selling a lot of Town Cars 3 years ago. Those were the standard for livery service. That business has been given away.

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

  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    I don't know why that's so hard to believe, given how little they've had to spend on platform development.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,432
    I don't know, Alan, why you are so defensive that you fail to see where those of us do recognize the strides that Lincoln has made. Instead, you put so much effort into bashing Cadillac and assume that we are all behind Cadillac's program. I tried to take a balanced approach here. I may be completely wrong and some of my opinions and I recognize that. I simply do not understand why you put so much energy into finding any nitpick with Lincoln  on this site and then telling us why that opinion is completely wrong. In addition, like an earlier poster, I am tired of this discussion always coming down to Cadillac vs Lincoln. I seriously doubt you know the real score about how much profitability Lincoln is seeing right now and whether Cadillac is profitable or not. Can we get beyond that? Thank you in advance.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    Sorry, but it irritates me when people praise one brand and bash another one (not you necessarily) based on how much they like or don't like the products without taking into account business practices that may or may not be sustainable.

    If nobody else brings it up then I won't either.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,206
    it irritates me when people praise one brand and bash another one based on how much they like or don't like the products without taking into account business practices that may or may not be sustainable.
    :o
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    If a company or brand builds vehicles that enthusiasts love but that they can't sell at sufficient volume or profit margin such that the company makes money then they go out of business and nobody can buy their vehicles.

    It's akin to praising a Pizza parlor who decides to sell pizzas for $1 each. It sounds great today but they'll be out of business in a month.

    Lincoln is building vehicles that are not sexy but which can be sold in reasonable volumes with high profit margins which will yield profits that will allow Lincoln to eventually add more niche vehicles that enthusiasts want.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 47,559
    I don't see Lincoln and Cadillac as having the same historical obstacles. Lincoln became anonymous; Cadillac became notorious.

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,694
    Interesting perspective!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,800
    Lincoln is rolling out their black label dealerships with 32 initial dealerships.

    Black Label customers are treated to an exceptionally comprehensive ownership package. A four-year/50,000-mile free-maintenance program is included—as is becoming the norm in luxury circles—but it goes beyond oil changes and other mundane work and covers wear items like shocks, belts and hoses, brake pads, wiper blades, and spark plugs. Owners may choose to drop off their Lincoln for service or have it picked up from their home or office; either way, a free loaner is provided and, in the case of the pickup service, left in place of the owner’s vehicle. Other perks include an annual full interior/exterior detail job, unlimited “anytime” car washes at any Lincoln dealer, and a “Culinary Collection” membership, which offers access to a curated list of restaurants nationwide.
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