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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    All your ideas, Rocky, are not new, and most have been scheduled. You expect a lethargic company like Ford to all of sudden produce those changes in a few months??? Get real.

    Even the name changes for Lincoln would take a model year to accomplish at a minimum. And like you I wish that change was on the calendar, along with the otherchanges that already are.

    BTW, the last Taurus was classified as a large car. It was significantly bigger than the Camaccord. The tendency is for many cars to grow with subsequent generations (I remember when the Accord was a subcompact). I don't like the size inflation myself, but the buying public overall has no problem with it.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,666
    In addition to gregg and bumpy's comments, Ford killed the Hurricane engine before Fields took over and Fields just reinstated the program before ARM arrived. Ford can be slow with new engines (the 3.5L was at least 2 years behind schedule) you can't just pop one out overnight and magically start producing it - especially with today's CAFE and emissions regulations.

    Ford's problems lately have been that they either start things too late or they start, then stop, then restart or go in a totally different direction. This is where Fields and the new product guy come in - getting things right the first time and following through. Look at the new B car - they could have forced the current Fiesta or Ecosport to fit but that would have resulted in a mediocre product that would need to be reworked immediately. So they're pushing forward with a new platform.

    Without ARM Ford would not be combining the Mondeo and Fusion platforms or the Euro and NA Focus platforms. And they wouldn't be looking to Australia to share RWD platforms. That was mandated when ARM forced the individual divisions to work together for the good of the entire company and not just for their division. Before ARM they didn't even share critical performance data with each other and they only shared platforms when they felt like it. That change was made by ARM within the first 3 weeks he was on the job. THAT is why he's worth $28M to Ford right now.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,666
    Yes - the problem with the old Taurus is that it was larger than the Camry and Accord so the plan was to replace it with 2 vehicles - the Fusion and the 500. And now that the new Taurus gets a facelift, new old name and the 3.5L engine it needed 2 years ago I think you'll see the fruition of all that work later this year. An upgraded interior and engine plus a hybrid would finish the job on both models - and I think those are coming for 09.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well let's see if that $28 million dollar pay day will be enough for him to over come the new CAFE standards ? Looks like Lutz, at GM, is waving the white flag by canceling the future Zeta RWDers. :cry: :sick:

    Rocky
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,666
    Lutz is merely making threats at this point in a political move to counter the new standards. There is nothing inherently less efficient about RWD.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well how or why does he think these threats are going to change the minds of politicians ? They could give a rat if GM, Ford, Chrysler, cancel RWD cars, right ?

    Rocky
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Robert Lutz plays the game well, telling people what might and might not be built. Mr. Mulally has not learned that lesson. Troll through all the sites and the internet and you find ell zipppo with respect to future Lincolns other than more horrid trucks. I will NEVER buy a Lincoln truck, no matter how good it might be. I drove a new Escalade from Chicago to D.C. and it had TWO design faults in it, both correctable with the next iteration. But at the end of the day, I told myself that a good sedan would do for me what that vehicle did.

    NO Where is there even a hint of survival for Lincoln automobiles other than the malaise of the S show car, and the R type that will never see the light of day. The mere fact that two radically different show cars appeared within less than a year tells me that the battle is still enjoined at the executive level with respect to where Ford wants to take Lincoln: Bill Ford doesn't like Lincoln, so Mr. Mulally has to push the issue, and he is still learning.

    Time, gentlemen, has run out. Discussing how good the competition is now will make little difference because what is on the drawing board is what matters. Sure, it has to be twice as good as what is in the showrooms now or Lincoln is dead. That raises my point: Lincoln needs to leak photos of what they are really going to build to the public now...so that they can prepare their budgets and wallets for it. Not a will-o'the wisp show car that they aren't going to make, as they have now done so many times.

    Ford must put away its cowardice with respect to its product designs, "define itself" without copying anyone else. American firms have failed roundly in trying to emmulate the Asian and European manufacturers. That is why the last three decades of American cars have been soul-less with very few exceptions. Hopefully every Lincoln Versailles, Cimmarron, Continental Taurus based FWD, and V8-6-4-3-2-0 Cadillac will be crushed except enough museum pieces to show the public how NOT to build a luxury car, and specifically: a Lincoln. We don't need to revisit those dark days.

    "Ordinary People make Ordinary Cars" Ken Purdy wrote for Atlantic Magazine in 1949, and that still holds true today. Hopefully, ARM will prove to be anything but that, and he will provide the "missing Linc" in the chain of Lincoln history to save the brand, the company and the fate of Ford Motor Company with it. The clock is striking near to twelve, but do the surviving gentlemen in The Glass House have the nerve to make great cars again, or are they content with the ordinary?

    DouglasR
  • jeyhoejeyhoe Posts: 490
    Douglas is losing faith, and there's good reason.

    The S wont save Lincoln. The R will probably never be built. Except for it's grille showing up on the S. The Z is nothing but a Mazda with a waterfall grille - those defending it should get over it and admit that fact. The X is a joke. Anyone looking at an X should first look at a Hyundai Veracruz to see what a luxury crossover should be. A Mark 9? Fuggetaboutit. A Continental? Only Bentley builds those now. Ford's biggest news lately is they've decided to bring out rear drive Mustang based cars - in FIVE years. 5 YEARS it takes? By then it wont matter. Oh, I forgot, there's supposed to be a Lincoln version of the (cough cough) Ford FLEX. Now THAT's just what Lincoln needs, aint it? A big fat station wagon. Maybe if the Linc version actually DOES have the suicide doors of the show car it would make some waves. Otherwise, deep six the damn thing, AM.

    Lincoln is such a joke anymore that I'm almost ashamed to be driving one, er two.

    Anyone who actually believes Ford has a prayer should look at the Detroit News today. There's an article in there about Mulally's latest brilliant idea to save Ford. - He wants all Ford employees to say good things about the company to everyone they meet. Why THIS is ALMOST as good as changing the name of the 500, doncha think? However, two other items are less positive. One internal poll of Ford employees, taken AFTER they had the big party where they all saw the future of FOrd, shows that less than 1/2 of Ford employees think the turnaround will work. The other is a poll today on the DN asking if Ford employees actually will become advocates for the company. Right now, it's running more than 2 to 1 NO. Admittedly this one is unscientific. However the fact remains that less than 1/2 of remaining Ford employees actually believe in the company. And these are the people who CHOSE to stay when they could have taken big buyouts. What a shame.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016

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  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    i think it is a good idea to build enthusiasm/optimism in your workers.
    you aka 'heyjewel'? ;)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Laugh if you must, but ARM is doing exactly the right thing in starting to rebuild Ford morale. It won't work overnight, of course, and it may take years to restore pride to the Ford worker, but it has to at least start somewhere, and Bill wasn't working on it. And by the way, I support the resurrection of the Taurus brand as well. The 500 was a bomb - and should be dropped.

    ARM turned Boeing around using some of the same tactics - don't count him out yet.
  • docrwdocrw Posts: 94
    Lincoln had a chance with the LS to establish a beach head in the luxury performance segment. They were ahead of Cadillac at that time, no CTS or STS for another year or two. On top of that it got great reviews. They let that car languish with nary a refresh and not one restyle. I don't even remember seeing a commercial for it after the first year or so. I took one for a test drive in '02 and had a chance to drive the performance version that they never advertised. I thought at the time that it was a great start and in 2-3 years with the next version they would have a winner. We all know that it never happened.

    What people are saying here is true. Lincoln is a joke now. My father bought Town Cars for 20 years. Two years ago he traded in his 8th one for an XJ8L, he didn't want to leave the "Ford Family". He just bought an MKX, which is a nice car, almost as nice as my RX350. I just can't figure out why he had to have the dealer install an aftermarket bluetooth module. Even Nissan Altima's have bluetooth now and Lincoln doesn't?

    Lincoln needs more than a new grill to get people back in the showrooms, they need the equivalent of the CTS or Chrysler 300 in styling with performance and quality even one or two notches higher. Match that with an aggressive advertising campaign and they could yet be saved. I am waiting anxiously on the MKS. If they can give that car 350+ horsepower, I don't care how they get there but a lot of people will only buy V8's, and Lexus level luxury, detail and technology for under 50K, preferably around 45K, I might just bite. Just don't go halfway again. Either make an effort to compete with the big boys, while undercutting there prices, or fold up shop. No one wants a 45-50K wannabe that cuts corners where people notice to keep prices down. Lincoln can't compete in the price range they want to be in now, so suck it up and offer more for less for a year or two until enough people take notice to raise the prices. You can't build up your reputation in the luxury market with an "MKZ plus", you have to go all out.

    Yes, it would also be nice if they leaked a few more details and pictures, even renderings, of this car for public consumption. There's nothing like a little buzz preceding the actual launch to get people in the showroom.
  • holdenguyholdenguy Posts: 145
    Mate,
    the only re-engineering Aussie cars have to have to go over
    there is to be de-tuned to run on your rubbish petrol.
    Be turned butt ugly to suit American tastes.
    Have soft as butter suspension fitted so as you can eat
    your Maccas while talking on your mobile phone without
    spilling your cawfee.
    How is it that GTO didn't work out?
    The US was allocated a small number of Monaros, just to test the waters.
    These sold.
    The Holden Commodore was built from day one with the US
    market in mind.
    It has been engineered so as the car can be built left or right hand drive down the assembly line in South Australia.
    As for Ford.
    Not a huge fan, BUT, they have a car called the Falcon XR6 Turbo here in Aus.
    It's a 4 litre double overhead cam straight 6.
    And it has serious grunt.
    Standard 245 kw.
    With a few tweeks and a bit of re-mapping, up to 500 kw.
    And it looks ok as well :-)
    I'll post a link for you.
  • holdenguyholdenguy Posts: 145
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KgbjMDskNU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWOJR8Pr65M

    Ignore the two door version in the kids video, It does not exist.
    But the rest of them do.
  • jeyhoejeyhoe Posts: 490
    Of course it's good to want your employees to tout your company. It's just that you should not have to ask them to do it, it should come naturally. And when you do ask them, you should have more than 30% (the current score) be happy to do it. And the 70% who are ticked off at Ford are people who CHOSE to stay there after being offered buyouts. My point is, with a workforce with that attitude, what chance does Ford have to become a winner again? Read some of the postings in response to the article. Many are peeved at Mulally making 28Mil per 4 months. Many are peeved at Fields living in Florida. Many are peeved that Ford is moving jobs to Mexico and India. Many that Ford has cut health care for workers and retirees etc. Read em and weep. Sad thing is, these letters could probably be applied to just about any American corporation.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    Well if I was a Ford, employee well at times I feel like one with my employer. I'd be very upset and angry if he was cutting what I worked to get after 30 years while he hasn't been on the job 4 months and collect $28 million. I guess I'm the only American, that see a problem with that. Whether he suceeds or fails he gets to keep his money. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

    Rocky
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I think getting 30% of your Union workers to consider liking their company is pretty good. By design, they are usually told to hate management as an adversary - yet innately, they "want" to like their employer. It's progress, and I admire him for asking and trying. The rest will need to come later, but for now, this is a good step.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I guess I'm the only American, that see a problem with that. Whether he suceeds or fails he gets to keep his money.

    Of course, you're not, Rocky. And actually, you're right. However, the reality of it is, guys like ARM have earned their stripes, and can demand this type of contract. Just like professional athletes. I think it's ludicrous they can command the money they do for playing a game - but they can. Granted, they must perform to stay employed, but they get to keep their money whether or not they win that season too. It's how it is....and it's not going to change soon.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ARM has an even greater problem: corporate morale.

    If 70% of the firm's employees at Ford Motor say they will not become a "spokesperson" for Ford, especially if it comes in "edict form" from Mr. Fields, one can only image how demoralised the team must be. If Mr. Fields is making the mistake of putting out such tripe as to ask the employees to propagandize the Blue Oval without such remarks being made voluntarily, then he should read Dr. Goebbels diaries to see how "that" turned out. I've never met Mr. Fields, but making such a move tells me he knows less about cars and even less about management of human resources.

    Another issue relating to the same subject is the sad suicide of Ford designer Jeff Sanders, whose last work was on the Lincoln Navigator for '07. A lengthy article appears by a colleague in 'The Truth About Cars', and he paints a very sad picture in the design studios at Ford Motor. Other than designer Jerry McGovern, few designers are the champion of the Lincoln cause...because of the problems at the top of the Glass House with respect to Lincoln. (In fairness, I should also point out that three engineers/stylist also recently committed suicide at Renault within the last 14 months causing the French National Police to investigate working conditions within the Renault tech center outside Paris, so quite sadly, Ford is not alone.) Mr. Mulally does, however seem to be rallying engineers together in various groups to approach the problems at Ford. Hopefully he will do the same for the design staff.

    No doubt when Mr. Stonach at Magna finds himself a major shareholder in the next Chrysler Corporation, he will push for a top-of-the-line model, as Imperial can be, to represent the company; a firm bereft of association with that slothful luxury car: The Maybach. So while Mr. Lutz goes down under for his V12 Cadillac, Mr. Stronach, if successful, will have an Imperial with which to taunt would-be Lincoln drivers.

    Same thing happened in 1970-74. Lincoln switched from unibody design and approaching the sophisticated buyer to mass-market luxury with chassis/frame and a new direction in product marketing. Lincoln created a lot of customers for Mercedes-Benz, who had just introduced their 4.5 V8 exclusively for the American market in 1969, and for BMW when they shifted gears away from that market. Sure they made a lotta bucks with the bigger Lincolns, but they need now to recapture those kinds of customers they had prior to that. The Town Car can still appeal to the traditional buyer, alongside a new wave of cars....

    ...but where are they? The Shanghai Auto Show opens tomorrow, and Buick is parading their new China-only Park Avenue rear wheel drive sedan, with a rather nice interior and engine package. Point is that GM is using its global infrastructure to appeal to buyers in different markets, all while making traditional products. Where is Lincoln? Cadillac has been building cars overseas now for more than five years, where is Lincoln, yes---now building cars ONLY outside the U.S. once Wixom closes! I could go on...but the point is that ARM needs to move NOW. He has to take the wraps off, not play games with the public or the press, much less their own employees.

    ...if he wants to see how to transform a "team" he should get on the corporate jet, land at Heathrow and take the next train to Crewe. Pulling up to Pyms Lane to see how the Bentley Production System, installed by Production Manager Douglas Dickson, has transformed Crewe from making less than 2,500 cars per year to 9,500 with no loss in quality, (which, actually has improved), and only a minor uprating of the workforce in terms of numbers. The key factor is that more than 4,000 suggestions towards improvements in production and working conditions came from the factory floor: the employees brought about the change. That is what ARM needs now... to motivate staff and treat them decently, so that the revolution comes from the floor up, not the management "field" down. Because if he does not do it, MR. Stronach might beat him to it...

    It's not quite too late for Lincoln...but the loudest sound you hear at Lincoln is the ticking of that clock.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Automotive Industry U.K.; Manangement.com; The Car Connection.com; Car Design News)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Another issue relating to the same subject is the sad suicide of Ford designer Jeff Sanders, whose last work was on the Lincoln Navigator for '07.

    That is tragic, and I must assume this event didn't have anything to do with the 07 Navigator. Other factors must be involved -

    I would have fired the guy who approved the design, personally, but not the designer.

    Have you all noticed how much advertising Lincoln is doing now though? Unfortunately, it's 90% for the MKX, which doesn't do anything for me, and 10% for the MKZ, ditto. But I think it's good news that they're out there, so much so, I'm tired of the ads....which again, don't feature the car, they feature a lifestyle.

    Gone are the days when you would see the car going down the road from all angles, and the interior would be shown, and the features of the car highlighted. No no, we just give you a glimpse of the taillight, a snippet of the fender, and a full view of 4 girls in wetsuits. Brilliant.

    I would also fire the ad company.
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