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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,742
    Everyone always says that - but, old people have money, and they make more old people every day.

    The problem is most of the old people they are making today have driven Japanese and European cars for the last 30 years. Why would they buy a Town Car today instead of an E Class or 5 Series? The ride on those have softened up over the years - just like the old people they make today.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,742
    I can hardly be considered a geezer and I'd prefer a Town Car over any of Lincoln's current offereings.

    You're an aberration though.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,666
    The problem is most Town Car and Crown Vic/Grand Marquis buyers bought them used, not new. Ford doesn't make any money off used vehicles.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    > Geezers are a niche - someone ought to market to them.

    Tricky though since we don't want to be identified at oldsters. I think that's why lots of us in the over 60 crowd like xDs and Souls.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    Town Cars and Grand Marquises are AWESOME BARGAINS used. You get a lotta car for little money! I certainly don't like any of Lincoln's current offerings and buying used doesn't even make them more attractive. I don't want them at any price. There are far better cars both new and used. I'll take a new or used Chrysler 300 over anything Lincoln has to offer.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Yes, there will be an endless supply of geezers. However, the geezers who prefer Town Cars and Buick LeSabres and Lucernes are dying off rapidly. Those coming behind them never liked those types of cars and will still prefer upgraded versions of cars they drove when middle-aged.

    The Panther architecture had its meriits, but dynamically and technologically has been left far behind. Even some basic equipment on current mid-size cars is not there. Plus, the structure is very creaky, not the stuff that luxury feels like. Interior finishing sucks. It had its time.

    Buick has already moved on. Lucernes are gone, not to be replaced. The coming flagship Riveria sedan is nothing like a Lucerne. All Buick models have become more relevant and even youthful. They are selling well in the US again, but their biggest and most important market is China, where they are not seen as an old man's car at all. (Mind you, I say all this as an old man.)

    Lincoln is going to have to throw a lot more money into the ring in order to be a player again some time. Cadillac has already found how expensive it can be to claw one's way back from mediocre. But they are doing it, and it will likely pay off, as Cadillacs are not perceived as dolled-up Chevys, and premium cars see huge profits compared to what is made on a mainstream brand.

    I think it would be great if Lincoln could eventually field a roomy RWD sedan with a bit of handling prowess. It would be more space efficient than the yachts of old with their useless exaggerated front and rear overhangs, but it could still be stately. Everything the MKS (tall, bulbous, not expensive looking, and not particularly roomy, given its height) is not.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    "Both Ms. Krebs and Mr. Phillippi said that most Lincoln customers would probably never know the automaker hadn’t delivered the MKZ on time, but that reinventing the Lincoln brand would require a continuing effort.

    “They have to be in it for the long haul,” Ms. Krebs said. “They’ve been just totally in the doldrums. Luxury sales are up, and Lincoln is down.”

    A Troubled Introduction for a Crucial New Model (New York Times)

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,141
    Personally, from what I've seen it appears Lincoln's problem boils down to they're making Buick's at Cadillac prices.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Well said, berri.

    For Lincoln to succeed in the way that is intended, they actually have to essentially make Buicks at Cadillac prices, but which are nonetheless perceived to be Cadillacs.

    One reason premium vehicles are so profitable, is that they are usually no more than a little bit more refined than the class below them, but still command a significant price jump.

    A loaded Fusion Titanium for example has all the equipment and most of the refinement of a premium car. It's price necessarily also has to bump up against premium territory. To get the extra thousands of dollars of price jump for a true premium car, the perception of additional worth has to somehow be there.

    There is no such significant perceptual difference between a top of the line Taurus and a Lincoln MKS. Lincoln added a few twiddles and twaddles, plus a significant price jump, to a car that arguably is not as good looking as a Taurus and feels no more refined, and yet thought that this would work: selling a Buick at a Cadillac price.

    The new team seems to have gotten the memo now...there is little point to an MKS, unless people begin to perceive it as a Lincoln and not a Mercury or Ford with lipstick. Front and rear clip re-styles don't begin to address that. Let's see what they can do.

    I still don't think they can do much of anything to address perceptual change without gobs of money invested. But then I am not in charge, nor that smart to definitely know how to turn around a moribund brand.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    "[T]he 2013 MKZ is a hopeful indication that Lincolns of the future will be stylistically removed from their Ford relatives. The MKZ is based on the Ford Fusion, but the cars share no body panels. Informal man-on-the-street consensus is that the MKZ looks great. But so does the Fusion and that, to me, points to the MKZ’s biggest problem: despite the distinctive bodywork, there remains a built-in sibling rivalry with Ford.

    What Lincoln needs is at least one car to call its own, one model that you can’t find on the Ford side of the lot — say, stretch the Mustang platform into a four-door coupe and give it a 400-horsepower EcoBoost V-6. Until a car like that arrives, the question attached to any Lincoln will be very simple: is this car different enough from its Ford twin?"

    The Secret Ingredient Is Ford Fusion (NY Times)

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    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: 15,120
    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: 3,666
    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: 3,666
    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...
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