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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    But the MKS is just a tarted-up Five Hundred, no? Sweeter tarts than the X or LT, but a tart nonetheless. And the MKR will be a tarted-up 4 door Mustang, n'est pas? Or even a tarted up Aussie Ford, eh Mate?

    I dunno. My Navigator is a nicely-tarted up Expedition, yeah. But I prefer the tarted-down Jaguar which is my LS. But that's in the past now. No more of that will be coming.

    I should know this, but what do the CTS and STS share platforms with? Anyone know?
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    to come up with a new model.

    After Pearl Harbor the American auto industry produced planes,tanks, trucks, & Jeeps within just several months.

    This is 65 years later and more time is needed?

    With computer sequential production and automation techniques, what are the obstacles?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    No, the 500, S80 and MKS are different cars with different looks and dynamics, built on the same architecture. The Edge and MKX, on the other hand, share all glass, roof, doors, mounting points, drivetrain, wheelbase, etc. Even though it is not just badge engineering, these models are too similar (and too close to badge engineering).

    I don't criticize Lincoln for doing the Navigator the way it did at first...practically all the companies offering big SUVs built them off a corresponding light pickup, and the later luxo versions (Lincoln, Lexus, etc.) were built off the Expedition, Tahoe, Sequioa, Armada, etc. But why they didn't update the body panels, at the very least when the F150 was revamped, is a mystery.

    To my knowledge, the CTS is its own car. However, I don't think that matters so much as giving the car its own individuality and solid reason for being. If Ford can build the Mustang and the MKR off essentially the same platform, more power to them. No one will confuse one with the other.
  • jkr2106jkr2106 Posts: 231
    I believe that comment was raised on one of the message boards before, and the reason given was that those planes, trucks, ships, etc. were built to last for much less time :confuse: . Now we expect our cars to be around for 200k miles and that is what requires 48 mos.
  • It seems they have used all that computing power to develop better and more convoluted excuses.

    The "new" Focus is a striking argument why everyone with more than 18 months seniority should be fired.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Agreed. Though they did get the message that they should not just change the fron clip, tailights and interior, and call it "all new."

    Unfortuntely, they then spent way too much money clothing the same old body in some new sheet metal panels, and ended up with a mish-mash. Instead of the three bar grill, they made it two bars. To my eye, it doesn't resemble the Fusion's or the 08 500's (much less the Interceptor or Super Chief grills), the headlights look like no other Ford, the creased side panels may show some modicum of creativity--but again look like no other Ford--and the tail lights completely go their own way as well. Now, they are stuck with this thing for at least 2 more years.

    And why go to a coupe and four door configuration only, when hatches are finally making a comeback (e.g., Calibur, Rabbit, Aveo, Vibe, A3, etc.)? The reasons Ford is in so much doo-doo keep coming.

    I will say that Mullaly has seemed to make a huge difference in a few short months. Too bad they stuck with Bill all the way down first. Remember, 2004 was going to be "The Year of the Car?" Trucks and SUVs were going to have their mileage increased by 25% by now? Hybrids were going to be a real factor in Ford sales? Mercury was to have a diesel hybrid by now?

    In the late 90's Morgan Stanley was still recommending Ford as the best auto company stock. Well, it is too early to buy Ford stock yet, unless you love risk and speculation.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,073
    ...I went to the Philadelphia Auto Show this weekend. I sat in both the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Lincoln Town Car. These cars are so woefully outdated I'm ashamed for them. They even had a "Palm Beach" edition of the Mercury Grand Marquis. If that doesn't scream "old person's car" I don't know what does. I also noticed the Grand Marquis has a HUGE transmission hump up front negating any leg room for a middle front passenger.

    The Town Car didn't come off as badly as the Grand Marquis. It too had the huge transmission hump, but it didn't intrude as much into the passenger space. The Town car comes across as something I'd have gone nuts over ten years ago. Now it's like "been there, done that." The seats were still very comfortable, but the remainder of the interior seemed somewhat barren for a luxury car.

    The MKZ, (formerly Zephyr) didn't impress anybody as I heard a bystander say, "What the heck is that? That ain't a Lincoln!" I spotted a round port in the decklid thinking it was a rearview camera. Turns out it was the trunk lock just randomly plopped in the lower right middle of the deck lid -just careless, sloppy design. The front end of the MKZ is nice, but the back reminds me of my Dad's dog of a 1981 Thunderbird. Lincoln should lower the lights, make them full width, and reduce the size of the backup lights - or better yet, make the taillights solid red and place smaller backup lights in the bumper or something. The interior is still nice and reminicent of the 1961-64 Continental. The center stack looks a bit too Nissan-esque.

    The SUVs look good. The Navigator really had an impressive interior finished in this beautiful light wood and I dig the retro '70s instrument cluster. The front end is a bit busy. The MKX also had a nice interior but the instrument cluster seemed a bit barren. The truck has a cool grille that reminds me of a 1963 Continental.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    And that pretty much sums up why Lincoln-Mercury remains in the toilet.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    You don't neglect a brand and segment of vehicles for 7 years and expect it to get better overnight. I suspect there was nothing worthwhile in the Lincoln product pipeline last year when Fields took over and even so the board still held the purse strings. I don't expect anything great for another couple of years at least. You have to walk before you can run.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    "If that doesn't scream "old person's car" I don't know what does.

    What is your secret of not ever being an "old person?"

    Someday sooner than you think, you too will be an "Old person".

    "The Greatest Generation" = only old persons. ;) ;)
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Good point: we will all get old, if we are lucky.

    However, those people weaned on 30's, 40's and 50's cars do tend to expect that you have to slow to a crawl to turn a corner, that steering down a highway demands constant small corrections, that a "floaty" ride is luxurious, and long overhangs and big front seats mean you have arrived.

    There is a tendency of the retired to be less interested in keeping up with ever-emerging tech, whereas those who look ahead at their careers can less afford to be Luddites about gadget change.

    If it weren't for the over 65 demographic, the Grand Marquis in its present form would have died many years ago. Even the Marauder version of several years ago could not appeal to young people. Mercury even had a crazy idea of issuing a Marauder convertible version...rather than spending the bucks on truly modernizing the car.
  • bigtbigt Posts: 412
    Man, you guys are brutal on Ford. I own a MKZ and love it to death. It is the best car I have ever owned. No issues with it as it is quite, smooth, great sound and nav system, great interior (black with Satin finishes), vivid red color, and enough power for me. I have every option you can think of such as heat/cool seats so I am not sure what more I would expect for 35k. About 7-years ago I paid 30k for a Chrysler 300m and it can't compare.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,305
    Your observations are generally true about the average senior, however, having been weaned on a 30's car, due to economics. Today, wife person drives a 95 T Bird 4.6, leaving the 94 Town Car to me, but she has the Tachometer! The TC is the "Handling Package" model and corners like a locomotive, but my favorite is the one I've had for 40 years..........
    '66 Mustang GT! ;)
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Of course the MKZ is a good car. So is the competition. The thing about the MKZ is not that it is bad. It just doesn't strike some people as true Lincoln material. It's looks are ok, though very conservative, and most of its features do not set it apart from very well equipped mid-size sedans from almost any manufacturer in 2007/2008. It is too close to the Milan/Fusion in execution to be a runaway success for Lincoln right now. Sales cannot go up dramatically anyway, due to production limits. But sales have instead gone down. I don't find that surprising.
  • bigtbigt Posts: 412
    I thought sales of luxury items always might go down due to folks paying off their credit car debts rung-up during December?
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    The thing about the MKZ is not that it is bad. It just doesn't strike some people as true Lincoln material.

    I found this to be similar to the Catera/CTS for Caddy.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    They even had a "Palm Beach" edition of the Mercury Grand Marquis.

    Maybe they'll come out with a "Del Boca Vista" trim package as well. ;)

    Haven't had a chance to check out the Navigator interior personally, but are the gauges straight out of a 70's-era F150 or Fairmont? From the pictures I had a flashback of my uncle's early-80s F150 with the same gauges and my buddy's '79 Fairmont from shop class a few years back.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    World of difference between the Catera and CTS. World of difference.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    "Will it Run"....

    ...the nick-name given to Willow-Run. If ever there was a demonstration of American industry's ability to respond to crisis, WWII was it. Ford Motor is now in the same kind of crisis, and will take the same kind of effort to survive. "Why does it take two years...?" ---to build a car, a good question. Looking back to the war years one can appreciate what was possible back then, when ENIAC computer computations were but pencil notes on Alan Turning's notebooks---slide rules, drafting boards, and vaccuum tubes ruled the day.

    Charles Sorensen recounts his efforts to get Willow Run off the ground, and he did so BEFORE the start of WWII. Sorensen responded because FDR was curtailing supplies to auto firms to make cars from 1940 onwards, well before Pearl Harbor, in order to meet demand for Lend-Lease and the British War Effort. He engaged to spend $200Mn for the plant ($880Mn in 2006 dollars) without having a contract in hand.

    Even so his memoirs clearly state the trouble building Willow Run was: "Doing business with the government, treading though the maze of controls and frequently conflicting priorities, regulations, vexed by wild-cat strikes, labour and housing shortages to say nothing of erratic deliveries of essential materials were a frustrating experience." Not to forget that Ford Motor endeavored to build a product not designed by them (Consolidated Aero was the designer) and here-to-fore of designs far more modern than Tri-Motors, and never attempted on a mass scale.

    When one looks at the time table and result achieved it becomes apparent that miracles can happen.

    January 8, 1941: Meeting with Edsel, HFII, and Benson Ford at San Diego to see test flights of the new B-24. Design for a factory layed out overnight by Sorensen.

    February 25, 1941: Approval in Washington D.C.
    April 18, 1941: Factory Ground-breaking
    May 3, 1941: First Structural Steel errected
    August 12, 1941: First machines and tooling installed
    November 15, 1941: First production man hours
    December 7, 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, War Declared
    February 11, 1942: All passenger car production halted
    June 6, 1942: First Knock-Down assemblies delivered
    September 10, 1942: First completed B-24 rolls off the line at Willow Run. FDR tours Willow Run with the Henry Ford.

    Production at Willow run in 1943: 2,184 bombers. In 1944: 4,611---nearly half its capacity making 20 bombers per day! The mile long factory would attain its 1 bomber per hour target during 1944-45.

    For GM it was much the same. The last Cadillac rolled off the Clarck Avenue line February 11, 1942. 55 days later the first Cadillac V8 Automatic powered M5/M24 tank rolled off the same assebmly line. GM had never built tanks before and had entered into an area of manufacture which improvisation was the order of the day. Especially considering that more than 114,000 of their employees left to serve in the Armed Forces causing GM and Ford Motor to hire women to take their place---a factor that would rise to 34% during the war. They had to reconfigure assembly lines and train women who had no prior factory experience to do the jobs done previously by men.

    One example of the efficiency attained by GM rapidly during the war years was the fact that in all of 1939 they built 800 Allison V1710 aero engines. By December 1941 that figure rose to 1,110 per month. During the war GM, like Ford and Chrysler overturned all operations to meet government contracts. GM alone built $12.4Bn ($54.12Bn in 2006 dollars*) worth of armaments and munitions for the war effort. 11.8 to 22.5% of that amount represented either Tanks, or vehicles and armored cars, for a combined total of nearly 34%, The balance, roughly 45% represented air-craft and parts GM has never built before. They used 5,400 machine tools, 2,000 plus owned by the government, 13,500 suppliers and operated 120 plants to attain war-time production goals. "Of the $12 Billion of military equipment turned out by GM, $8Bn was represented by products entirely new to us." GM CEO Alfred Sloan recounted in his memoirs.

    After the war it took little time for Ford Motor and GM, among others to regain production of passenger cars. August 24, 1945 the last M24 tank rolled off the line at Cadillac. Less than two months later on October 17, 1945 the first post-war Cadillac rolled off the line, albeit missing certain amenities due to materials rationing. For Ford it was not much different---both firms having planned early in the war (1943) for post-war production. The first "official" post-war Lincoln Custom rolled out of the Lincoln plant November 1, 1945 with regular Ford production having started July 3, 1945.

    Sorensen put it best: "The only thing we can't make is something we can't think about."

    Therefore it is entirely possible for Ford Motor to put itself on a war-time footing and match its performance and then some during the dark years of the 1940's. No one can beleive that a wholly new car could be built in less than two years, but Ford has enough materials and access to design staff and suppliers to revamp what it currently builds into something far more exciting and enticing than today's products in less time. They can start at Lincoln---so long neglected. MR. Ford will have to put his disdain for the brand aside if Mr. Mulally is to succeed and save The Blue Oval.

    DouglasR

    *by contrast the 2007 proposed U.S.Budget for defense spending is $615Bn, $145Bn of which is for war materials and engagement.

    (Sources: 'My Forty Years with Ford', Charles E. Sorensen, Collier Books NY 1962; 'Cadillac, Seventy Five Years of Excellence', Maurice D. Hendry, Motorbooks International 1975; 'Lincoln & Continental Classic Motorcars' Marvin Arnold, Taylor Publising 1989; 'My Years with General Motors' Alred Sloan, DoubleDay 1963; NYT, WSJ)
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