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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Just to get this out of the way - recall what happened to the last US automaker who formed an 'Alliance' with Renault. I am speaking of course of the perenially-troubled AMC which was driven into bankruptcy and a firesale to Chrysler after trying to service the pathetically unreliable Renault designed vehicles they were selling.
    Follow-up point - the great Lee Iacocca promised not to close the oldest working auto factory in the country when he purchased AMC. That was their plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He reneged on his promise in less than 2 years.
    Final point - with all the retro pony cars: Mustang, Camaro, Challenger ... being reintroduced these days, this loss of AMC means we'll never see a retro Javelin, my personal favorite along with the Cougar. And it looks to me like the entity that made the original Cougar, Mercury, does not exist anymore either. Perhaps the woman-oriented Mercury car company will introduce the updated version of the Cougar called, say, the Pussycat.
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Follow up to Doug and my post yesterday. Natch you all know I don't really know what I'm talking about. Vis-a-vis what I saw yesterday and last year I mean:>) I don't know the whys and wherefores of these mktg studies, what 'they' are trying to learn, what is the possible destiny of the cars they show and ask opinions about. I can only speculate based on my limited knowledge and what I see.
    My speculation from what I saw yesterday is ... I erased the para I had written. I just dont think it's fair of me to speculate too much based on 2 hours of mktg research. All I can say is that I didn't see anything related to larger cars. Everything was related to present and future versions of existing cars. I guess I will say that I was not too impressed with the ideas presented. Thats all.
    One thing they are definitely trying to learn is how much differentiation they need to put into the looks of their cars to 'fool' the public into thinking they're looking at an all new model, rather than a slightly reskinned version of the same car.
    Signing off as the mostly happy owner of 2 Lincolns, an 01 and an 04 who does not see anything in Lincolns future that entices me in the least. I also am extremely disappointed that once again an AMerican car company started down the road to building world class cars to compete with the best from Europe and Japan and then just dropped the ball and went off in another direction. WHY can't Ford/Lincoln FOCUS on the target and keep their eye on the ball? Is it the way American companies must answer to the stockholders on a quarterly basis? Is it the stranglehold placed on cash flow by the burdensome contracts with the UAW? Is it the outrageous salaries etc paid to execs who have no loyalty to the company when all is said and done? Is it the revolving door of execs in charge of Lincoln over the past 5 years? Should a parts manager, Hazel, have been put in charge of Lincoln? WHat did he accomplish? Why is so much money spent on concept cars (Continental, Mark X hardtop convertible, etc) when execs announce that there's no way these cars will ever be built on the same day they introdce the cars? How much money is paid to marketing research firms to find out what % of folks like grille treatment A better than B?
    6 or so years ago when I found Edmunds and the Lincoln LS was being introduced there was an air of total excitement on the LS board. Auto buyers were anxiously awaiting their new LSes, some, like me, were waiting a year and ordering, others were drooling over this American sedan that was the best thing ever to come out of Detroit to take on the likes of BMW. No, the LS was not perfect out of the gate but it was a great start. CR called it the "best American sedan they ever tested". We all thought that the car would only get better and Lincoln seemed interested in what the enthusiasts had to say about the car. Well, 03 rolled around and there were some definite improvements, more HP via VVT, better interior design esp console, and a few other nits, but even more importantly Lincoln gave up on trying to build a BMW fighter because they dropped the option of a 5 speed manual tranny instead of doing what many had hoped which was put a beefier tranny in and offer it with the V8. This was the moment that Lincoln dropped the ball. Who made the call? I dunno. But Lincoln is now going down a different road. Back to the rolling couch I guess. Did they lose too many blue-hairs because of LS instead of Continental? All I can say is it's a shame. Now the Lincoln boards here on Edmunds have no excitement. An occasional person will ask about the Zephyr, but the Z is no enthusiast car and is about as exciting as ... well as a Milan. Nice looking but boring in the tradition of the Monarch and Versailles.
    My wife, who was instrumental in us getting a 5 speed LS has no further use for Lincoln. She is pushing us in the direction of Infiniti, a company which is building BMW fighters and powerful, exciting cars which can be had with manual transmissions. About as American as sushi, but maybe it's time I give up on Americanism as much as it has given up on me. Its the new world order now. American cars are made in Mexico and Japanese cars are made in Ohio. The UAW is sucking the lifeblood out of American car companies and voting Democratic, which sucks the lifeblood out of the taxpayer. I cant be bothered caring about them any longer. My next car decision will not be partially influenced by "is it made in America, will it benefit American workers, etc" as my last few decisions have been. Rather it will be solely based on is it the best vehicle in it's class for what I want it to do? Will it hold it's value well? Is it reliable? Does the manufacturer appear to have a consistent view of what their cars are and what they will be? At this point, it does not seem likely that Lincoln will be in the mix.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    "My wife, who was instrumental in us getting a 5 speed LS has no further use for Lincoln. She is pushing us in the direction of Infiniti, a company which is building BMW fighters and powerful, exciting cars which can be had with manual transmissions."

    And who makes Infiniti? - Nissan-Renault.

    No one is talking about the Renault LeCar or AMC Alliance- Don't obfuscate the discussion unless you want to discuss the Versailles too.

    But tell me who seems to understand the modern version of luxury for people under 70)- Lincoln or Infiniti?

    Which dealership would you want to own?
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Obfuscate the discussion? I mention AMC and I'm obfuscating? Get real.

    Oh and Renault has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Infiniti. Mon dieu.

    And I already answered your question - read my post. And take a hike.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    Wow, someone's cranky this morning.

    --Infiniti is Nissan and Carlos Ghosn is running Nissan and Renault. And Ford has no LEADER.


    --AMC went out of business because other then the Renaults, they were only selling updated versions of the Gremlin and Hornet as the Spirit and Eagle.

    The company died in the late 70's and the Renault deal was nothing more than artificial life support until the organs could be harvested for transplant (Jeep)

    --Focus groups are for frightened bureaucrats who are scared to make decisions on their own. If you give a focus group what makes them comfortable, your product is timid, dumbed down and obsolete upon introduction. (see: Ford 500)


    Here's the lesson to summarize the last 200 posts on this topic:

    Leaders don't ask what people want, They tell them.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Ford... You know the best selling Ford car, company wide right now? Not Fusion, not Mustang. It is the hoary old Taurus. Even though it is ONLY sold now via fleet business, it still sells enough units each month to almost equal Fusion and 500 sales combined. Now that's sad. This company is clearly directionless. Looks as though they could have done much better with car sales if they had simply called the Fusion "Taurus."

    I think that portends what renaming Lincoln models will do for sales: nothing.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    "A confusing name and boring styling won't resuscitate Ford's Luxury Brand" Automobile Magazine writes of Mk S, adding: "If you really want a design hit, don't copy the Japanese---take some risks, have you noticed what's going on at Cadillac?"

    AM reviews all the upcoming show cars, and probable production vehicles in their latest issue, and Lincoln does not fair well at all. While Aston's Rapide gets nothing but high marks: "If anything, the four-door treatment enhances the presence and beauty of the coupe's form language..." The new presaged Jaguars get similar treatment. Lincoln is all but forgotten amidst the breadth-taking list of new cars coming soon.

    LS---yes two of my friends bought them new, one with a five speed, which they still own. (A family that owns five, count-'em: five Lincolns from Continentals to Town Cars, including a Mark Viii) ...will not buy another..."They've left me no place to go.") One purchase made by my friend's wife, who is an engineer, and insisted on the five speed, and was horrified to find out she could not replace her LS with another one similarly equipped. Off to Jaguar or BMW she will go: "Zephyr is too boring looking...." My other friend, bought an LS for his 75 year old mother...which she dutifully drove until quality problems crept in becoming annoying---not enough to keep the car off the road, but niggling problems which the dealership went out of their to fix more than once---off the Benz dealership that car went.

    Only 340 plus days remain for Wixom, and the fate of Lincoln. Where will it roll when they can't capture up-market customers who have long bought and own the brand? What reaction will Bill Ford have if Carlos Ghosn is successful in his back-handed take-over of GM's Board? What will they do with Lincoln then? Even Toyota is trying to checkmate Mr. Ghosn, according to Business Week, by offering an 'Alliance' with GM!!! How will Bill Ford resist entreaties from Ghosn if his bid for GM fails? If anything, such a successful tie-up in the marketplace controlling 25% or more of global production should SHOCK Ford Motor into taking Lincoln and making the brand its iconographic forward thinking, company talismen---using it as a beacon for all of Ford Motor.

    And Ford Motor must act to counter growing skeptism, investor queasiness with Ford Motor stock at $6.22, its dividend cut, and capture the imagination of the public---whetting their appetites so that they are willing to wait for future product, than be captured by competitors first. The bold moves have to start happening now: commenting on the future of Lincoln is the best place to start---followed by Mercury. With Camaro and Challenger soon to hit the tarmac, a Cougar should prance infront of them---beating GM and DCX to the marketplace.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, Automotive News, Business Week, Automobile Magazine August 2006)
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    50 Years ago today, Dick Teague working under Bill Schmidt at East Grand Boulevard finished the final clay models for the 1957 Packard's, based from the Predictor Show Car. James J. Nance loved the Predictor, and had given impetus for the Balboa, and the Grey Wolf Showcars that had preceeeded this last full scale Detroit Designed Packard. Packard had built several cars from the show cars...and was hoping Predictor would save the company---having Ghia build the car for $70,000 in 90 days---appearing on the February 1956 issue of Car Life, only four months before the end of Packard production June 15, 1956 at East Grand. "While futuristic in the sense that it features many advanced styling and engineering innovations, the Packard Predictor is not a dream car..." Bill Schmidt commented during its unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show in 1956. Packard sales collapsed during the spring of 1956 killing any hope for Packard and Predictor.

    Mr. Horbury may well be in the same position as Dick Teague and Bill Schmidt were at Packard that fateful year. With Mr. Horbury squeezing out designs based on a very limited budget and package requirements from other platforms. Lincoln might be "seeing what sticks" because the designers are desperate to hit a niche receptive to the public that they can market to the higher eschelons at the company to save Lincoln: the designers pushing from below to prevent disaster from overtaking Lincoln. This would explain the variation in design themes being test marketed around the country, and given the remarks of HJ, what they are trying to do. One imagines that for Lincoln now---with no 2008 tooling in place for Town Car---that McNamara Moment has come back to the fore: "I'll cancel it...you've got one more chance." McNamara told a stunned George Walker and Eugene Bordinat in June 1958. Consequently designers worked around the clock in July 1958 to enlarge the T-Bird into a Lincoln Continental.

    This is what must be the truth for the Mark S---Horbury, Thomas, and their sculpturers and modellers working round the clock between Irvine, California, Dearborn, and London, to take a future Volvo/Ford 500 platform and make it into a viable Lincoln representing a freshened design. As much as we might not like the idea, Mr. Horbury is having a "Dick Teague" Moment---not unlike Mr. Teague working in a closed factory building trying to finish the 1957 prototype Detroit-Packard called "Black Bess". The designers could be sequestered in an almost empty corner of Wixom doing the same---or certainly so come next June.

    As much as "we" may or may not like Mark S, given the potential alliance of GM-Nissan-Renault, Lincoln may have to take anything that it can get from the Ford Motor Finance Committee to preserve the name. Given Moody's further cut of Ford Motor stock/bonds to junque status this last week, its potential $2Bn loss for Q2 means that Ford Motor's $25Bn cash pile will lose a quarter of its value by the end of the year...half of which they will need for operational expenses. It may very well be that Lincoln---ALL of Lincoln---is getting but a mere $1.5Bn for all of its product lines for development this year. If true, that means they can only develop one and only one car for 2008-9.

    When the lites go out at Wixom, like Dick Teague at East Grand Boulevard in the summer of '56, Mr. Horbury and his designers might be the only ones left at "Lincoln" next summer of '07!

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Car Design News; Hemmings Classic Car May 2006; Packard 1942-1962, ibid, Dawes; Automobile Quarterly Day by Day)
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    The 1961 Continental was an instant classic and was a complete breath of fresh air- unlike anything else.

    I was in the toy car aisle at Target- There are early 60's Continental toys from How Wheels and about 3 other brands-- Strangely, I didn't see any toy Zephyrs. But there were about 20 versions of the Chrysler 300.

    The timid, focus group designed MKS is just sad. Who can say that America needs a car that looks as if a 5 year old Aurora, a Passat, Infiniti and a Buick La Crosse were put in a blender and then run through a strainer.

    It's a recipe for disaster and typical of what happens at any bloated company with no leadership - When committees, bureaucracies and focus groups have more control than your visionaries, your fate is sealed.
  • Ford acts to rev up stalled turnaround

    Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

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    Ford Motor Co.

    Ford's generous warranty could boost sales and lift resale values, some analysts say. See full image
    Warranties at a glance
    While some warranties may vary within a company, here's a quick look at what warranties automakers are offering.
    DaimlerChrysler AG
    Drivetrain: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Roadside service: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Ford Motor Co.
    Drivetrain: From 5 years/60,000 miles to 6 years/70,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles to 4 years/50,000 miles
    Roadside service: Up to 6 years/70,000 miles
    General Motors Corp.
    Drivetrain: From 3 years/36,000 miles to 5 years/60,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles to 4 years/50,000 miles
    Roadside service: Up to 4 years/50,000 miles
    Honda Motor Co.
    Drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Roadside service: Not offered
    Nissan Motor Co.
    Drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Roadside service: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Toyota Motor Corp.
    Drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles
    Basic: 3 years/36,000 miles
    Roadside service: Not offered
    Source: Edmunds.com

    Ford is increasing the warranty on all of its 2007 Ford and Mercury vehicles to five years or 60,000 miles. In addition, Ford will offer free roadside assistance for the entire warranty period. How important are these benefits when you're shopping for a car?
    Click here to vote


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    Ford Motor Co., struggling to gain traction with its North American turnaround effort, announced a series of moves Thursday aimed at cutting costs and boosting sales.

    Ford's Board of Directors voted to cut the company's quarterly dividend in half, from 10 cents to 5 cents a share, beginning in the third quarter. The dividend is now at its lowest point since Ford eliminated payments altogether in 1982 and mirrors a 50 percent dividend reduction at General Motors Corp. in February.

    Ford's directors also cut their own $200,000-a-year compensation by half. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford Jr. said the moves were necessary to maintain strong liquidity.

    Also Thursday, Ford announced that it is extending the standard powertrain warranty on all Ford and Mercury vehicles from three years or 36,000 miles to five years or 60,000 miles. Lincoln's four-year or 50,000-mile standard powertrain warranty is being extended to six years or 70,000 miles. In addition, Ford said it will offer free roadside assistance for the entire warranty period and allow customers to transfer their warranties if they sell their car or truck before the warranty expires.

    That makes Ford's warranty package the most generous of any full-line automaker -- a fact it hopes will bring more customers into Ford dealerships, which have seen retail sales drop 9 percent so far this year.

    "The headwinds we faced at the beginning of 2006 have only become stronger, as consistently higher gasoline prices in the U.S. have caused consumer purchase preferences to shift away from SUVs and large trucks to smaller cars and crossover vehicles," Bill Ford said in a statement issued after Thursday's board meeting. "While this shift plays positively to our new vehicle offerings, we must still get our costs in line in response to segment adjustments and higher commodity prices that are affecting the company."

    But Wall Street said the decision to cut dividends signals bad news ahead as Ford prepares to release its second-quarter financial results next week.

    "This certainly suggests that second-quarter earnings are going to be uglier than expected," said Bradley Rubin, vice president of credit research at BNP Paribas in New York. "People are finally realizing at Ford that this turnaround is a little more difficult than they anticipated."

    Ford shares closed down 32 cents Thursday to $6.56, a 4.6 percent decline.

    "The dividend cut telegraphs the board's mounting concern about the company's performance," said John Casesa of New York's Casesa Shapiro Group LLC. "It's a very pessimistic signal."

    The dividend cut is expected to save Ford about $375 million annually.

    "Strong liquidity is an important enabler of our ongoing turnaround efforts and this action will make an important contribution," Bill Ford said.

    But credit analysts said the move will not change the company's balance sheet enough to boost Ford's weak credit ratings, which have already fallen into junk-bond territory.

    "The cash savings are relatively marginal," said Robert Schulz, who follows the company for Standard & Poor's in New York.

    Craig Hutson, an analyst with Gimme Credit, said he expects Ford's ratings to sink even deeper.

    "It is a sign that the company is acting to shore up its liquidity amid greater headwinds in the industry than it originally anticipated," he said. "A dividend cut is never good news."

    But Ford's decision to extend warranties may be good news, at least for consumers.

    The five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty being offered on Ford and Mercury cars and trucks is substantially better than the three-year or 36,000-mile warranty offered on all of DaimlerChrysler AG's domestic nameplates and most of General Motors Corp.'s brands. More importantly, it matches the warranties offered by Ford's leading Japanese rivals: Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., neither of which includes roadside assistance as part of their standard packages.

    "Ford is setting its own path," said Cisco Codina, head of North American marketing, sales and service for Ford. "All of this is part of our strategy to become America's car company."

    The new warranties, which are effective today, will be applied retroactively to customers who have already purchased 2007 cars and trucks. Moreover, the company said it will offer extended warranties to customers who buy 2006 models. The new warranties apply to all Ford, Mercury and Lincoln vehicles, except for those like Ford's diesel pickups and hybrid SUVs that already featured more attractive terms.

    "It definitely gives consumers another reason to look at Ford," said Mike Jackson, an analyst with CSM Worldwide in Farmington Hills.

    Boosting warranties addresses one of Ford's biggest product problems -- the resale value of its vehicles. However, the move could increase the company's warranty costs substantially.

    Ford's second quarter warranty data shows that 2006 model year per-unit warranty costs are 24 percent less than those for 2005 model vehicles.

    "I'm glad that we're leading instead of following," said Kenny Shreve, owner of Kenny Shreve Ford Mercury in McLeansboro, Ill.

    "I feel better about Ford today than I have in years."
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "Leaders don't ask what people want, They tell them."

    I agree, scooter (don't faint). Consensus is the absence of leadership. (As one of those Greek guys said...).

    But, OAT, the Town Car is cancelled, for a good business reason. The DOT requires new standards for where fuel tanks are located - and the money required to refit the Town Car to accomodate the new regulation is substantial - Ford decided to use that money to develop another car rather than fix the aging Town Car. What about the other Panther Cars? Good question - they will die soon as well, but not as quickly as their plant isn't being closed (Wixom). They will go away however, when their time is up. And that's why.

    I am more and more concerned about the future of Ford, let alone Lincoln, which IMO, is a heartbeat away from assuming room temperature.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    The Q2 Results have tipped the hand at the Blue Oval.

    Ford Motor lost $162Mn for Q2 in 2006, with Ford Motor Credit offsetting the $806Mn loss in North America. Average selling price per vehicle was $22,781, representing a $955 per vehicle loss on 834,000 vehicles sold. This is diametrically opposed to their stunning profits in the tiny South American market, where the average selling price per vehicle was $15,110 and Ford made a profit of $1,055 per vehicle representing a $95Mn profit on 90,000 vehicles sold. Europe showed some signs of improvement under Richard Parry Jones, making a $228 per vehicle profit on 459,000 sales with an average selling price of $16,122 per car. PAG, however, lost another $162Mn, a stunning $835 per vehicle loss despite an average selling price of $40,625.

    Ford Motor's market share is now down to 16.7% with PAG making up another 1.1% share, leaving Ford Motor at the midst of the summer with 17.8% of the U.S. Market. It's 1927 all over again! Ford-Europe continues to hold at 10.2% where PAG holds twice the market share at 2.2%. Outside the U.S. Ford Motor made a $238Mn profit, including Mazda.

    At the current rate, North American Operations will have lost a stunning $3.188Bn for 2006, or roughly $3,382 all toll per vehicle on sales on 3.38Mn---if the trend continues. The fall season, of course, more robust than the spring and summer, should skewer the results. Yet even Ford Motor admits it will not make a profit in North America in 2006. More than one third of that cost represents health-care and jobs-bank reallocations.

    While one admits that Ford is being blunt about its projected losses, Ford still sits on a cash reserve of $23.6Bn with $42Bn in Revenues for the quarter, with a company wide selling price of $24,249 per vehicle, and a loss of less than $75 per vehicle sold---the "total" posted after tax corporate loss of $162Mn for the quarter. Ford Financing made $372 for every car sold offsetting deeper losses. For every dollar Ford Motor lost during Q2 selling a vehicle, it made back $5 loaning you the money to buy it.

    The best face one can place upon it, is that as a whole Ford Motor is approaching a "break-even" point for Q3/Q4 if sales improve. Yet the fact that Ford loses so much money per vehicle within our own nation puts further impetus for Ford to fix its product lines, starting with Lincoln---which explains how Zephyr ended up in Mexico. Therein we see the battle being fought between Fields, Horbury, and the Ford Motor Finance Committee and Mr. Ford. If NVB is correct, and gas tank regulations killed the Town Car in America...but not its sister ships in Canada, then it makes sense to move production until the new car is ready, to St. Thomas. It would buy Lincoln the needed two more years before its replacement is ready. "Why would they want to kill the Town Car..." a wealthy friend of mine asked me after hearing about it on 'Click & Clack'! But Ford through CAW President Buzz Hargrove, has already put an end to that reality.

    Now...a plausible explaination exists why Ford has been tardy is doing something about its top-range Lincoln---but Ford knew before-hand about it, and planning should have begun in 2003 for the 2008 Town Car. The arguments to and fro about Lincoln must have been heated ones. Given $3.50-$4 a gallon for gas in America, and more in Europe*, it is no wonder that Ford UK CEO Richard Parry-Jones increased Ford Motor's investments in fuel economy engineering to $1.8Bn in Europe, while scapping some existing programs. You can bet Mr. Fields has done the same, creating a greater problem for future Lincolns.

    Hopefully Ford Motor will NOT form an 'alliance' with Toyota should GM mistakenly proceed with Nissan-Renault. More likely is that Mr. Ford will court Mr. Ghosn again, should Mr. Kerkorian's gambit to improve his Estate Value fail. At the end of the day, Lincoln should become the talismen for Ford Motor to indicate where it wants to go as a company, both in terms of engineering, and style, but also answering the looming economic and fuel crisis at hand. PAG is not making money, and healthy demand still exist for Town Car. As such, Mr. Fields, and certainly Mr. Ford must indicate where they will take Lincoln before Wixom closes, some 330 days from now. Lincoln must become the lone leader within Ford, for as Lincoln goes, so goes the nation.

    DouglasR

    *Europeans pay about two to three times more than we do for a comparable 'gallon' of gas, VAT and 20% taxation included. It regularly cost me the equivalent of $105 to fill my tank when I drove in Europe, and I got "used" to it after a while---with gas being priced by litres! The average European spent about $40 to fill their tank then, and now about $65-70---the relative price roughly the same we now pay. Our 'tanks' are often two to three times larger. As a European friend then pointed out to me: "For me, our gas is cheaper, we drive farther than you do on one tank of gas...you fill up twice or more to my one tank!"---responding to my tart remark: "Yes, but we still have cheap gas, at a $1.25" I didn't add, that I was not shoe-horned into a smaller car.

    (Source: Ford Motor Company)
  • Ford Motor lost $162Mn for Q2 in 2006, with Ford Motor Credit offsetting the $806Mn loss in North America. Average selling price per vehicle was $22,781, representing a $955 per vehicle loss on 834,000 vehicles sold.... At the current rate, North American Operations will have lost a stunning $3.188Bn for 2006, or roughly $3,382 all toll per vehicle on sales on 3.38Mn---if the trend continues.

    How much of this is attributable to one-time (hopefully) restructuring costs, buyouts, etc? I'd like to see how FoMoCo is doing factoring out extraordinary accounting charges. To me the important thing is will they be able to turn a profit based on operating costs.
  • I may have found part of the answer to my question in the Detroit News Online, here:

    Ford Will Speed Up Restructuring After 2Q Loss
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    Here's an intersting story about the car biz, it used Lincoln in a few examples:
    Detroit Ignores it's Dealers
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Man, that's a heavy article! Should I feel guilty if I try to negotiate my next purchase?

    Of course, Chevy and Ford's dealer networks are 3 and 4 times as large as those of Toyota and Honda, and ToyHon do just fine. Maybe it is time to trim a little of the fat.

    What I really don't get is why ANYONE would want a Lincoln-Mercury franchise today. No product, no brand awareness, no advertising, and after all that you get squeezed by the manufacturer for profits, and possibly forced to accept into your inventory cars you know you can't sell or don't want!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    William C. Ford Jr. is faced with shrinking his company to fit the collapsed market share he now holds, less than 18%...had he hung on to the traditional market share held by Ford Motor before he arrived, Ford Motor Company would now be the #1 U.S. Manufacturer again, having surpassed GM's 24.1% share---thereby making good use of the Nasser acquisitions.

    Now the time is ripe for bold action. Helmut Panke, sadly, must take mandatory retirement the very next day after his 60th birthday on September 1. Bill Ford needs his experience...having guided a masterful expansion of BMW AG during his tennure, while maintaining much of their profit per vehicle. Mr. Ford should hire him immediately---lest he go to GM or even DaimlerChrysler. PAG Group has fallen behind in its attempts to become profitable this year, and may well post a loss---having thereby put a cloud over Mr. Fields former division. Mr. Panke's experience in the industry should not be lost---he has a good five years ahead of him before he really needs to retire.

    The plus side is that Mr. Ford's move would be seen both on the 'street' as a shrewd and necessary move considering that domestic brands no longer hold the majority share of the market (June results with 53.7% of the market going to 'foreign' labels), and bolster Ford's stock position. Mr. Panke could well advise Ford Motor to 'fix' their median marques and middle position, and step-up their efforts to improve their car lines. No one doubts Ford's ability to make trucks and SUV's, yet having the advice of a BMW man might well make consumers think about considering future Ford's, and get them into the showrooms. Certainly, after having successfully revitalised Rolls-Royce and vanquishing Maybach, Mr. Panke knows a thing or two about luxury cars: especially since BMW outsells Mercedes in America and Germany.

    The down-side is that bringing in 'an outsider' would make his job a difficult one without the full faith and confidence of the Ford Family. Mr. Fields could keep his job, but he would have to report to Mr. Panke and defer to him. The last BMW executive to serve at Ford, Wolfgang Reitzle rubbed the Ford Family the wrong way, and he was shunted aside, and later resigned. Mr. Panke would have to overcome the animus thus created by the departure of Reitzle. Many would critisize Ford for bringing in a German executive to run the company, or portions of it: many would say that Ford had "lost the battle" and was merely surrendering to the inevitability of foreign market domination. (But then we made able use of Mr. Werner von Braun to get to the Moon, so why not Mr. Panke to vanquish Lexus and Cadillac?) Many would also praise him for recognising the very same reality.

    At the end of the day the plusses would outwiegh the negative reaction. "Dr. Z's" commercials making it that much easier for Ford to consider such a move: Ford must remain true to its products, since it is the sum total of the team creating them that matters. After-all, it was Chris Bangle, the American designer, that has brought BMW away from, in Mr. Panke's words, "making three types of cars, same saugage, different length",---and successfully vanquishing its competition.

    Mr. Panke could do the same for Ford Motor, and at the end of the day, perhaps save Lincoln from a seemingly inevitable downscaling and demise in the market-place. Who would doubt that if Lincoln were guided by a BMW man, that many people would consider the brand...? Nor does not automatically mean that Lincoln would surrender their traditional base---just add a dash of zest to the line. Mr. Panke in the least, would want to take Lincoln and Jaguar and continue to 'go after' his longtime rival Mercedes-Benz---not to mention those other brands.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: BMW AG, Automtove News, WSJ)
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    That is exactly the kind of move Lincoln needs to make.

    Using styling cues from the 61-67 would not be out of line: IMO the longer wheelbase 65-67 models looke a little nicer.

    And don't forget a 4-door convertible! These were the personal cars of of JFK, LBJ and many others among the rich and famous.

    LBJ even drove his Lincoln 4 door convertible around his Texas ranch.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Yes, a remake of the '61 would hit a nerve with the public. Lincoln has tried that twice in the last several years: both with the Four-door show car done under the aegis of Wolfgang Reitzle, and also the Mark X convertible based from the Thunderbird that was shown two years ago. And then there is the Mark IX Show Car...all three of which boasted '61 styling cues. None were built, or approved for production. The most Lincoln received from those show cars was a revamped dash-board in cars and trucks.

    Therein lies the problem: Mr. Horbury is looking for an entirely new design voice or look for Lincoln---he wants to cut his own cloth in steel for Lincoln---ergo the Mark S. Mr. Fields clearly does not understand Lincoln, but he is more concerned about productivity and capacity utilisation than anything else. It is all too obvious that any Lincoln evocative of the 1960's designs would sell well...just look at 300 for an example.

    Ford Motor is spending $5.3Mn per day on operations and new products. $1.6Bn in Q2 for new cars, $7Bn this year alone. Yet there is no doubt that Ford's ship is running in rough shoals, even Bill Ford said last week that he would "consider a negotiation or alliance" with another manufacturer, much like what GM is now doing with Nissan-Renault. Lincoln is left out in the cold. A lengthened Ford 500 is about the most we can now expect from Mr. Horbury as Ford Motor revamps its 'Way Forward' plan within the next 60 days. Ford Motor is effectively shrinking itself to fit its now reduced market share: precisely what James J. Nance did at Packard in 1954.

    Unless there remains a surprise behind the curtain, when that last Town Car rolls out of Wixom, it will be a sad day for Lincoln, and for America. A revived '1961' style Lincoln should have been introduced five years ago: precisely the plan MR. Reitzle had proposed, and it was cheap at the price: $1.6Bn...as Lincoln goes so goes the nation.

    DouglasR.

    (Sources: Ford Motor Company, WSJ, FT)
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    as Lincoln goes so goes the nation

    Maybe 'as goes Lincoln, so goes Ford'

    It won't affect the nation. Luxury car sales of other brands have grown fast over the last decade or so.

    When a product line disappears its space is quickly filled by competitors.

    Packard faded away but there were still lots of luxury cars to choose from. It will be the same if Lincoln is left out to die.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    They should build it. I'd probably buy it. An upscale S-80 sounds excellent to me. Why shouldn't Lincoln come up with a new "look". It worked for Cadillac.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    It's MKS, not MarkS.

    A new look is a fine idea. However, one that is so derivative of the premium Japanese stuff out there may not be the best "new" way to go. Both Cadillac and Chrysler created polarizing styles that were not reminiscent of Acura/Lexus/Infinity/VW Passat/BMW 5 Series, etc. Lincoln should look like an American car. How do you define that? I don't know. You know it when you see it.

    The Buick Lucerne is an example of the approach Lincoln apparently intends to take. It is modern, safe, attractive enough, and somewhat derivative. It hasn't created any splash in the market, like Chrysler and Cadillac did. Love it or hate it seems to generate more sales than pretty anonymity.

    The Japanese can toy with less exciting looks because the reputations of their premium brands (reliability, stellar re-sale, and high level of toys and gizmos). Lincoln unfortunately has low residual values, regardless of how reliability and quality have improved.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ...why worry whether or not the brand survives? The market will indeed fill the void. People will shift increasingly to other cars if they perceive Lincoln to be a dying brand---because no one wants to be the guy driving the '60 Edsel on his block.

    The net result will be that all but Cadillac will remain of our once dominant luxury marques---Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Deusenberg, Marmon, among others have all fallen by the wayside. The American auto industry will be marginalised...and a larger proportion of 'foreign' labels will control the market. The decisions about where, how, and how many people are employed within the industry in this country will not be made in America. If we are weak within our own nation it will adversely affect sales overseas---where profits are strongest at the current time. By marginalising brands like Lincoln, eventually they will marginalise and limit their ability to respond to the market without creating wholly new brands---further weakening their position.

    One in ten jobs in America are tied to the auto industry, one in seven in Germany, one in six in Great Britain. Unless new industries rise to take their place in terms of prominance, the loss of leadership and market position by American firms will have long term, perhaps serious, consequences for our economy, not the least of which is our ability to respond to a national emergency requiring the use of all our economic might. If long term ownership and manufacturing shifts outside America into foreign hands, even within our own nation, capital will flow out of America rather than into it; our ability to maintain the dollar as the reserve currency of the world will be adversely affected, along with our living standard. We will always fight for our ideals, but are we willing to defend our economic position?

    The sky hasn't fallen yet, but Ford Motor without Lincoln, a marginalised Lincoln, will be hard-pressed even to regain the share it has lost in the last six years since Mr. Ford assumed the Chairmanship of the company. "What-me-worry?" will take on a new meaning... Mr. Ford already said that he would consider "negotiation" with another firm in the same manner as Nissan Renault (July 22-06). Sergio Marchione of Fiat has not ruled that out either, so a Ford-Fiat tie-up might happen. In both cases, GM and Ford, public confidence in both firms will be shaken, and increase the market position of the competitors they never thought could challenge them. American directed dominance of the auto market will wane---leaving fewer choices for the consumer. ...Pontiac's might become rebodied Nissan's, and rather than a Volvo, Lincoln's might become a rebodied Alfa-Romeo!

    ...and some might say that GM and Ford have had their day, that by merging or forming an alliance with foreign firms rather than purchase them to survive, that the foreign firms have won the day. Some will say that DaimlerChrysler sets the pattern for the future of auto manufacturing in this country: foreign investment and merger revitalising tried and true American (for that matter other foreign brands) If Daimler can do it for Chrysler, and BMW can do it for Rolls-Royce, VWAG for Bentley, then why can't both GM and specifically Ford do it within their own family?

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Detroit Free Press; Edmunds Online)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    "It's MKS, not MarkS."

    Actually, I have now seen several magazine articles that made a point of saying it is Mark S, not MKS. Clearly, there is confusion over this naming structure. I hate models named with letters, and I can't figure out why the carmakers think it is so glorious.

    But having models people are not even sure of the name of is not a good way for Lincoln to find its way into the future.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    They gave up on their re-education plan and have abandoned the effort to instruct us how to pronounce the name to their liking.
    It's MKS. Not Mark S

    Or, as I prefer, "Mc-S" as in McNuggets or McMuffin.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "The Buick Lucerne is an example of the approach Lincoln apparently intends to take."

    For the record, MarkS, MKS, or McS, I HATE the Lucerne, and if that's the only idea Lincoln has, I'm staying with Lexus.

    With Lexus, I can get all the boring, uninspiring styling inside and outside that I need, and a great car too. :confuse:
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ....48 years ago today, July 27, 1958 the final touches were being put on the full scale clay models for the '61 Lincoln...McNamara arriving unanounced to see the final work before the presentation...and what he saw gave him the confidence to bring HF II into the design studio with George Walker...telling him that the Engle Clay had to become the new Lincoln or they might as well discontinue the car.

    If Lincoln's fate it to be hitched to the Ford 500 for now, built in Chicago, with perhaps a reprieve for Town Car in St. Thomas...then the ball truly is in Mr. Horbury's hands. If there is to be a viable Lincoln to match Cadillac---with Cadillac revamping its ad campaign to capture even more new buyers---then what-ever-he-can-do on the Volvo chassis and the Ford chassis will have to carry the flag. Until such time as Ford Motor ends its doll-drums and returned to a healthy cash flow allowing expansion of Lincoln. GM posted a $450 per car profit for the quarter after special items---buying out workers---so it is possible for Ford to reach the same goal if GM can.

    And it is entirely possible with Fiat returning to America with Alfa-Romeo that a Ford-Fiat alliance may be in the offing. Sergio Marchione, CEO of Fiat was told that "he was smoking something illegal" when he announced he would bring Fiat back to profitability and reach a 4% return. Well...he's nearly done that. So if beleaugered Fiat can make it back into the black and be brave enough to consider coming back to America---then so too can Mr. Horbury bring back Lincoln despite Mr. Fields desire to keep Lincoln on the lower end of the scale.

    I just hope the back-room-boys at Dearborn and the studios at Irvine, and the far side of the Thames in London are working furiously to save Lincoln.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Conversations with Ford designer Jim Quinlin, 1973, Detroit; FT, WSJ)
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    What a brave move- Imagine giving the green light to the clean 61 Continental when the showrooms were filled with the over-the-top 1959 models. They knew fins had run their course.

    Doug- Despite the sadly ludicrous "Bold Moves" campaign, have you seen a single shred of evidence that anyone at Ford has the vision or cojones to pull such a move today?
    I'd love to hear your take on Lincoln's present and future, not the Eisenhower-era past.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,328
    Obviously, the gentleman is an historian, not a profit.
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