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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree with you, gregg. Check my carspace - you'll see I've been driving a lot of Fords most of my life. I liked my Fords the best of what I've owned. Today though, I have so many issues with the way the company has been systematically ruined, and the product they're putting out, trucks excepted, I am losing my passion for the brand. That Fusion, which seems to be a good car, should be a Taurus, the car that changed the world once upon a time. I still remember the first time I sat in an 86 Taurus. The feel of the sculpted supportive seats, the ergonomically perfect dash and door panels. The quality feel of the switchgear and handles. The firm, tactile ride and quiet cabin. For the time, the car was even pretty quick. It was the perfect sedan at the time, and frankly I'm not sure it's ever been surpassed. Certainly, Ford has never replicated it. And they thrifted and decontented the Taurus every year until the 96 redesign, which eliminated the high seating position and low cowl, destroyed the character of the car with the catfish look and oval to death design. The car ran ok, but was so ugly, I'd never own one. Now, the 500. Nauseating on the outside, the inside is a great design. The seating position is good, but the el-cheapo dash just kills it for me. And LIncoln, don't even get me started. The Brand that once took me away from Cadillac, now has me driving a Lexus, and looking at Cadillac......
  • In a memo to all Ford Employees, William C. Ford Jr. stated, 09-02-06: "We have aligned Ford-Mercury-Lincoln product development much more closely with Mazda and Volvo to achieve greater efficiency and produce more exciting vehicles. We have achieved similar success with Ford of Europe and P.A.G...." And MR. Ford adds: "Over the past few months I have made it my business to become more passionately involved in the detailed operations of our business..." In his bromide on 'Leadership' he stated: "These should not be days of 'fear', as one headline put it recently...". The memo outlines the strategy emphasizing the 'Way Forward' plan, Global Structure, and Leadership are the key factors that the 'team' is now focused upon.

    Lincoln sales dropped 2.2% for the year to 82,132, and down 9.5% for August at 8,979. Town Car sales down 16.6% for the year as the model winds down at 26,989; LS crashing 48.8% with its discontinuation at 7,922; Zephyr the only bright spot selling 21,938 cars for the first eight months of 2006. 35,000 cars in its first year is not unrealistic for Zephyr. Jaguar sales continued its precipitous drop, minus 30.4% for the year at 15,350 with only the XK increasing 106.5% for August selling 393 cars, and 69.2% for the year at 3,043. Come the end of this month, Lincoln will have very few cars to talk about at the Paris Show...Mark Z & S being the only thing remaining...as Wixom will close far sooner than next spring. If you don't want a remaindered TC/LS, you have no choice but to pay more for a new "Z", or buy what is left of Zephyr stock. It's getting harder to buy a car called a Lincoln....and MR. Ford seems to have ensured that holds as what is left of Ford Motor automobiles are being merged toghether into a single car line with minor variation between the brands.

    With the competition moving very fast, and Mr. Nasser putting his chips on the table, one wonders what details will be left for Mr. Ford to "pay attention to" by the time the dust clears. Fear is not the word I think I would use to characterise what is now happening at the Blue Oval. Mustang sales shot upwards 64%---one speculates that people might be getting nervous that Ford will move to bankruptcy and begin to curtail production of cars they want, so they are buying them now rather than later.

    Mr. Ford pushed Wolfgang Reitzle out the door four years ago July 1, 2002, and he was the last publicly acknowledged Ford Executive that had a plan to invest in Lincoln..."I think the strategy is a convincinvg oneand this principle is independent of the people proposing it...the Lincoln brand is not sharp enough and is not consistent enough..." PAG his bailiwick, and when his Lincoln plan was rejected, and its offices moved back to Detroit, he left going to Lindt AG in Germany, which just merged with BOC to become the largest natural gas supplier in Europe. Landing Mr. Fields his job, from which he as quickly promoted again---bringing him to Detroit to hold sway over Lincoln. Now the whole of PAG may well be gone...and still no plan for Lincoln has been announced, much less hinted at, other than ubuqitious comments about 'luxury for the blue-jeans set., beyond 'merging' platforms together. At the end of the day there will just be different flavors of the same platforms...unique cars at Lincoln will be gone, as is the chance for them seemingly dimming---if we take MR. Ford at his word.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Ford Motor Company; The Car Connection, Mike Davis interview with W. Reitzle, April 12, 2001; WSJ)
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    1) 15 Billion barrels or more just discovered in Gulf of Mexico! Rev up your SUVs.

    2) Bill Ford just stepped down. Ex-Boeing chief taking over. Maybe Ford/L/M will take flight after all?
  • Wow, good article.
    Sadly that pretty much sums up the situation.
  • "Wow" is right. It is a good article. It nails FoMoCo management.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It takes a lot to send a guy who bleeds Ford Blue out the door, but Bill Jr. finally did it to me....He's clueless, Nasser fired all the "car guys" because they were white, I guess, and so what you have left, is Accounting. Make a hellova car don't they?
  • "It's the best car in the world"---Alan Mulally said of his Lexus 430. "It's being keyed right now..." Bill Ford Jr. said at the press conference introducing Mulally at the new CEO of Ford Motor to Bill Ford's 'promotion' at Executive Chairman. No different than the arrangement in Germany whereby Bernd Pischetsreider reports to Dr. Piech at VWAG.

    Hopefully Mr. Mulally will not prove to be the 'Roy Hurley' of Ford Motor---Hurley representing the 'Management' Curtiss-Wright brought to Studebaker-Packard in 1958 that led to the demise of the company. "The reaons he called was not to restructure, not to get rid of stuff, not to sell it off...He called because he wanted to make the finest cars in the world." Mulally said yesterday at his appointment of CEO of Ford Motor.

    "I think the U.S. can compete...there's no reason why we can't be the best in the world..." He added.

    Mr. Mulally must now buy a Ford Motor product. If he is smart, he will arrive in a new Lincoln when he drives into the Glass House when he starts his tennure October 1. Though there are fewer competitors within the aero industry, the stakes are higher. He may know nothing about cars, but by making tough choices saving Boeing and bringing the 777/787 and checkmating AirBus, means that the various brands now might have a chance as resuscitation at Ford. Palace Politics aside, being that WCF Jr. could not convince another auto executive to run the company, this might be the best bet.

    Jaguar and Astons will go...Land Rover might form the last triad of Mr. Nasser's new company. Ford and Mulally can use that money to regain what they lost.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, FT, Ford Motor Company, Detroit Free Press)
  • has lots on Ford's management change today as well as a serious look at what needs to be done immediately with Lincoln. Ford news in both the 'Rants' and 'On the table' sections found at the link below are good reading.

    Seems like Ulrich Bez is putting together an employee buyout of Aston Martin. He wants to continue managing A-M as well as being a major shareholder.

    http://www.autoextremist.com/index.shtml
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,077
    ...if Mr. Mulally really thinks the Lexus LS430 is the best car in the world, perhaps he should try to get Lincoln up to that status. I would love to see a Lincoln with 1961-65 styling with a Lexus quality interior and workmanship.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Amen, lemko. One thing is for sure, this is the last chance for Ford. Either Mulally will made dynamic, sweeping, (draconian?) changes and resurrect the company, or it will die unceremoniously as the last dynasty of American Business.

    I agree with Lemko though - Finally we have a guy who doesn't think the Town Car is the benchmark for quality in the Luxury segment! They desperate need that input!

    Driving an LS430 myself these days (only because Lincoln doesn't make a large Luxury sedan anymore), I can say from experience that it's not the best looking Luxury Sedan around, inside or out, but functionally, tactilly, kinetically, it is. If Ford can even get close to that level of tangible quality you can feel, and make it look great, Lincoln could get me back.
  • Ford and Mulally can use that money to regain what they lost.

    I hope so, but that depends on just how much Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin are worth on the open market.

    The Forbes article above estimated Ford has $10B tied up in Jaguar and $5B in Land Rover. Would percentage of that $15B would any company pay Ford in cash for the two brands today? It might be in the 15-20% range: Jag might bring $1.5-2B and Land Rover not more than $1B.

    Aston Martin may sell for a good price if the employees do buy it out as Ulrich Bez, the manager, is suggesting.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,077
    $10 to S15 billion would make for a REALLY AWESOME Lincoln! GM only spent about $3 billion on Cadillac and look what happened. If Ford invests that $15 billion into Lincoln and works some magic, it might knock Lexus off its perch. Wow, imagine a classic Continental-styled Town Car with Lexus+ build quality. This would be one Caddy owner who might throw his key in the big jar, (remember the '80s Lincoln ads?).
  • I think $3B or at the most $4B is what Jaguar and Land Rover combined would bring if sold today.

    The $15B figure is what Ford has invested in the two brands since buying them, not what they are worth on the market.

    Even $3-4B would be a wonderful boost to Lincoln, though.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "Even $3-4B would be a wonderful boost to Lincoln, though."

    Yes, it would, IF that's where they deployed it. But there's not even an implication that it would be spent on Lincoln. Nobody at Ford really seems to give a rip about Lincoln. Certainly, Bill JR didn't. If Mulally gets a Town Car for his company car, he'll flip after driving an LS430. Even the new Navigator has been ruined now. Probably the least objectional vehicle Lincoln has to offer now, would be the Mark LT. Never thought I'd say that.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    douglasr: Mr. Mulally must now buy a Ford Motor product. If he is smart, he will arrive in a new Lincoln when he drives into the Glass House when he starts his tennure October 1.

    No...he must keep that Lexus, and tell the product planners to use it as the benchmark for quality and refinenment as the next generation of Lincolns is being developed.

    He should, however, keep a 1940 Lincoln Continental, 1961 Lincoln Continental sedan and convertible and 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III in the styling studio to inspire stylists as they work on that next generation of Lincolns.

    douglasr: He may know nothing about cars, but by making tough choices saving Boeing and bringing the 777/787 and checkmating AirBus, means that the various brands now might have a chance as resuscitation at Ford. Palace Politics aside, being that WCF Jr. could not convince another auto executive to run the company, this might be the best bet.

    This may not be a popular suggestion, but one of those "tough choices" should be dumping Mercury and figuring out a way to save the dealers and Lincoln.

    The auto market is too competitive to waste resources on badge engineered versions of other cars. Most people under the age of 50 don't even care that Mercury still exists.

    In reality, Mazda and Volvo today fill the niche that Mercury should fill, but doesn't, because Ford can't - and won't - spend the necessary money to give it a distinct identity.
  • Who wouldn't?!? The sad thing is, an American marque can do it, if they have the will.

    On a side note, I was watching Green Acres the other night and noted that the Douglas family drove a convertible 1961 or so Lincoln. Sweet looking car.
  • Just imagine the lineup Lincoln would have today if Ford had given half the money wasted on PAG to the Lincoln division!

    As Mr. Longfellow said..

    'Of all sad words of tongue or pen
    The saddest are these - "It might have been".'
  • I bet he will drive Jaguar. Jaguar provides kind of rescue for Ford folks who do not want to be seen driving domestic vehicle. As owner of Mercury I can confirm that you feel a lot of pressure from friends to drive European or Japanese car, or at least Hyundai if you do not have money regardless how good American branded car may be.

    If Ford gets rid of British marques it will be left without luxury brand, like Honda. Nissan, Toyota, GM, VW – all have well established luxury marques. With all respect you cannot seriously consider Lincoln or Acura as a luxury marque.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, Oliver got a new Lincoln Convertible every year. It was quite the "farm vehicle".....Went with his Alpaca sweater.....
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