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Would Ford Ever sell Lincoln?



  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Ford will keep Lincoln, but they'll need to revitalize the brand and put some serious time and money. The MKS should really have been a RWD sport sedan, but instead its a Taurus based FWD car with optional AWD...

    Also, this may be controversial, but I think the future success of the Lincoln brand rests on Mercury closing. Who wants to visit a Lincoln dealership and see Milans and Mountaineers all over the place advertised at bargain basement prices? But then again, Mercury's death is just a matter of time. All Lincoln dealers should be Lincoln only.

    I think the Mark LT has no replacement in the works.. Navigator could probably continue unchanged for a few years; MKX and MKZ should be ok stop gap replacements, but I don't know what Ford has that they could use off the shelf to deliver results without spending too much. Lincoln is going to require some serious attention, and I don't know if Ford can afford to dump that much money into its luxury brand.

    They may have been better off closing Lincoln and trying to pump more cash into Jaguar/Land Rover...
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    It's been quite a while since Lincoln has really been Lincoln. I remember driving a Town Car as a loaner a good dozen years ago and it was just a gussied up Crown Vic.

    I don't know that Ford could sell it off. Kill it off, maybe, but I don't see a big dollar value in the Lincoln name which is a shame.

    Saw a 56 Lincoln convertible on a TV car auction. Now you KNEW that was a step up from its mates at Ford. Like the Imperials of the same vintage.
  • jae5jae5 Posts: 1,205
    I agree. I think Ford will keep Lincoln in that they "have" to; they have no luxury player except Lincoln right now. But as you and others have stated, they need to pump funding it the marque, which they really can't do. Passing off guissed-up Fords, making the taillamps as big as ba-donk-a-donk-donk butt-cheeks, and renaming them MK-whatever (which I still think is stupid and won't go into the idiotic reasoning behind it) is not going to do.

    I myself haven't looked at Lincolns since the first couple years of LS production, which I thought was a good started on a type of rebirth for them. This vehicle allowed them to be notice, if not taken seriously about being an entry-level player in the luxury market. It gave them a real foot in the door to that playing field and could have been a springboard to mid- and eventually upper-level product. Instead we got a re-grilled Expedition, Blackwooded F-150 (WTH was with those chrome strips along the bed), re-grilled Explorer with the Navigator taillamps - though I did think the Aviator was a nice upgrade until I saw the taillamps. And that sticker price :confuse:

    If I was in the market for a Lincoln it would be an older one, like the Mark I & II, early-mid 60s Continental, Mark VII LSC and lastly LS V8. If I was in the market for a luxury-type car, Lincoln would not be on my radar; hell in the market for ANY car Lincoln would not be on my radar. :sick:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Ford will keep Lincoln in that they "have" to; they have no luxury player except Lincoln right now.

    If the company wasn't in such dire straits, keeping Jag & Land Rover and finishing the great job they started with those two brands would probably have been the best luxury strategy for Ford, inasmuch as Lincoln had been neglected to near death by now. However, though the turnaround may have been close - there was no money left to pump into Jag or L/R and they had to be cut off from the parent to stop the bleeding.

    Mercury would not be missed if it went away by many, and Lincoln Dealers need much better and more product to sell than they have. However, Volvo isn't a bad fit with Lincoln, IF Volvo isn't sold off for that last bit of cash so desperately needed to stave off the wolves of bankruptcy. Volvo Dealers and Lincoln Dealers could be combined to give the customer some fairly upscale product to cross shop. This never seems to be given any real consideration, but I would think the dealers would be open to it. Couldn't hurt, could it? Are Volvo owners that smug that they would be insulted if Lincolns shared their waiting room in the service department?

    Anyway, as I said before, Lincoln has nothing to sell. The brand equity has been depleted already and it will be a long time before it's restored in any measurable degree.

    If Ford is to have a true luxury brand, Lincoln is all they have left, and need to invest the dollars for a Cadillac like comeback. Although, Cadillac is starving now for product and resting on their laurels pretty much too these days......
  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    If Ford is to have a true luxury brand, Lincoln is all they have left, and need to invest the dollars for a Cadillac like comeback.

    Ford's top priority is not building up Lincoln; it's bringing the European Focus and other models to the U.S. over the next few years. Of course, all Cadillac has to show for its comeback is the CTS and maybe the Alpha platform small car by 2012 or 2013.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree with you on the CTS being all CAdillac really has. And I see Cadillac a little bit adrift right now. Direct injection is all they have new coming up, and that being a great development, will not be unique to Cadillac. With
    GM's most recent woes - expect CAdillac to sit on their CTS laurels for a while again....
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    was basically just the CTS and Escalade, and is.. However, the coming wave of CTS derivatives (wagon and possibly coupe?) look pretty good.

    Lincoln, however, has nothing beyond the MKS. That's not a good thing, as I highly doubt the MKS will be bringing in a stampede of buyers.

    Combining Volvo-Lincoln; interesting idea... Only problem is the two dealership networks are in completely different areas of cities for a reason- Volvo buyers are not likely to cross-shop Lincoln, and your typical Lincoln buyer probably won't look at a Volvo either. I think combining the two might actually dilute Volvo's European feel.

    The two brands are currently going in opposite directions- one's trying to create All-American Luxury, and the other is going for an understated Scandinavian approach. It's not all that compatible, really.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    What you say is true - but that's what I thought would help the brands and certainly the dealers. Lincoln-Volvo dealers would have a shot at two completely different demographics to do business with, and not be limited to either geysers who want a car big enough for a wheelchair lift on the back and oxygen tanks in the back seat or wine-sipping, NPR listening, limosine liberals - they would have a shot at both! I don't think Lincoln shoppers would be put off with having Volvos in the showroom, though Volvo shoppers may be turned off by Lincolns, I don't know. Volvo shoppers are clearly less tolerant types....a bit elitist it seems. I don't know. YMMV.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Hmm.. that's an interesting perspective. Doing either could widen the market for both Lincoln and Volvo.. i.e., someone coming in to look at an XC90 could drive off with an MKX, and vice versa.

    The downside is, which Lincoln or Volvo dealers would you choose to add the other brand? Surely you can't give EVERY Lincoln dealer a Volvo franchise... Volvo just doesn't have the volume to sustain that many dealers.

    Aren't a lot of Lincoln dealers now Ford-Lincoln-Mercury instead of just the last 2?

    I'm starting to think a combined Jag-Land Rover-Volvo dealer is a better idea.. Pity that Ford had to dump the Jag-Land Rover pair for cash...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Indeed it IS a shame that L/R-Jaguar had to be sold after years of developing the finest products those companies had ever put out. The new Jag XF is receiving world acclaim, and although Rover has its quality problems, the truck itself is spectacular. I feel that Ford sold them just as they were turning the corner to profitability, quality and world regard. But alas, there may be no Ford without the proceeds from those sales.

    As to Volvo - There aren't that many Lincoln stores, I think Volvo could go into them all. Or, maybe it should be Mazda? Or maybe Mazda, Lincoln, Volvo stores?
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Ford needs to let Mercury die. Mercury is a re-badged Ford. Add a few more chrome pieces here and there and you have a Milan rather than a Fusion. Kill Mercury, give the money to Lincoln. Build Lincoln into what is once was, a great American luxo brand. Lincoln needs to become what Acura has become to Honda, and Lexus to Toyota. Plain and simple Ford. Are you listening?? :shades:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree, Mercury should go. Mercury has existed for years just to give the Lincoln stores something else to sell, to keep them alive. A new vision for Lincoln is necessary if Ford wants to even have a Premium brand anymore, and Mercury doesn't help.

    Now, OTOH, if Ford wanted to go back to the roots of Mercury, and make some performance models that would be different than Ford, with some more powerful engines, and some style differentiation, they might have a reason for Mercury to survive, but I seriously doubt there is money for such a concept at this point.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    The problem is that when I look at the MKZ, MKS and MKX, I think, "Those are reallly nice Mercurys." They are what a Mercury should be - Fords with different fronts and tails; nicer interiors; and bigger engines. They share enough components to be cost-effective, but have enough distinction that there is a sufficient reason for buyers to step up from a Ford.

    What they aren't, however, are Lincolns.

    All Lincolns should then be only rear-wheel-drive, and fairly large. Ford should use the combined Lincoln Mercury structure as an advantage - dealers will have the MKZ to sell to buyers who want something smaller and more economical during tough times, but also have the larger vehicles (MKS and MKX) and luxury cars to sell when times are good.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    All Lincolns should then be only rear-wheel-drive, and fairly large.

    I tend to agree with this statement completely, and don't disagree with your other comments about the current Lincoln lineup being true Mercurys as well. We've been saying similar things for years though, and Bill Ford (who hated Lincoln) didn't care. There has not been consistent leadership at Ford since Red Poling and Don Petersen retired. If there had been, the LS would have been a bigger hit, and further developed, and Lincoln could have taken over the Luxury market ala BMW American Style, and Ford may not be in such dire straits. But, if ........
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    not just close Lincoln AND Mercury, instead focusing their efforts on Volvo and Mazda, both of whom have an international presence?

    Any former Lincoln/Mercury dealers could be given the chance to switch to a Volvo or Mazda dealership, if they'd like, or accept a small buyout for closing up shop.

    Then Ford wouldn't be saddled with too many brands and could focus on reshaping Ford, utilizing the expertise provided by Mazda (small cars) and Volvo (safety).
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,963
    Every state has franchise laws that protect dealers - it cost GM a fortune (more than they expected) to get rid of the Oldsmobile brand. Lots of Lincoln/Mercury dealers seem to also sell Fords, but still, it'd be a big, expensive chore to cut those brands out of the dealer network. Maybe with a bankruptcy court's permission it'd be feasible.

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  • Three Ford dealerships in our four county SMSA just went under, so the market may take care of eliminating dealers.
    Mercury was a made up brand when introduced in the 1930's and its purpose has long since expired - let it die a decent death.
    Jag and Land Rover had the worst reliability and maintenance costs of almost any cars even after Ford pumped millions (billions?) into them. Good ridance.
    Lincoln was a respected car with decent sales up until the late 1980's. Go to any parking lot and see how many you still see even though they were expensive when sold. It never was meant to be a huge seller, but something to add cachet to the Ford company, increase profit margins and do battle with Cadillac. It succeded at that because it was not a Ford clone.
    Ford needs to design and build truly separate luxury vehicles for Lincoln and maybe have a couple of low price models that are based on Fords. Lower level Lexus' and Acuras are based on Camry and Japanes Honda.
    BTW, have you noticed the trend for there to be ONE GM dealer per area, handling all brands?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,963
    BTW, have you noticed the trend for there to be ONE GM dealer per area, handling all brands?

    I don't hit the dealers in Boise very often, but it's confusing - the two big guys have shops that cover the gamut. We're talking standalone Pontiac/Buick/GMC, Nissan, Mazda, Suzuki, Kia, and Isuzu showrooms all owned by one chain and another chain has a Toyota shop, a BMW store, a Lexus store and a Chevy store. (Actually I can't swear that all those are standalone shops).

    A third guy has Ford, Honda, Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep, Subaru and Mitsubishi stores, but there are three other standalone Ford dealers in our area, as near as I can tell. It looks like two of the three sell Lincoln/Mercury with the Fords.

    You make a good point about the economy consolidating the dealer network, at least in the bigger towns.

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  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Even with those franchise laws, though, simply being able to get rid of Mercury and Lincoln could be a good thing.

    Plus, the costs could be lowered by offering many of those dealers a Mazda or Volvo franchise, especially since both brands don't have the large dealer network that Ford has. I'm not saying it would be cheap, just that it might save some cash in the long run.

    A bankruptcy filing, however, could make dumping the Lincoln/Mercury nameplates far easier; people with existing Lincoln/Mercury cars could just go to a Ford dealership for maintenance/repair work. The two brands are essentially useless without a huge cash infusion, which Ford doesn't have...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, killing Oldsmobile was yet another monumental mistake the General made, after ruining the brand entirely by letting the MBA eggheads convince management that they needed to take their best selling nameplate after Chevy, and completely revamp it into a Nissan, which would never sell to Nissan fans, and completely alienated Oldsmobile fans. After the brand was totally and completely wasted, then they tried to eliminate it, which cost them billions to get out of their dealer franchise agreements. Only to bring yet another "totally different" brand out, (Saturn) and then completely lose sight of the business model of Saturn, making it essentially a replacement for Oldsmobile.

    It's hard to find a major corporation that can be more self destructive than this.

    They need to get rid of Buick, Pontiac and Saturn, and sell SAAB and Hummer and get to core business again, but they have to find a different way than the way they got rid of Oldsmobile......they don't have the money to make that mistake again.

    Ford OTOH, has Volvo up for sale and it looks like BMW may be a likely buyer. Their stake in Mazda is also up for grabs, so adding those brands into L/M dealers is off the table.

    Somebody here had the best idea I've seen so far - make the current Lincolns (except Town Car) Mercurys, and bring up a new line of RWD, high performance engine Lincolns that will at least compete with Cadillac again. Do they have the money to do that? No.

    Last one in Detroit, please turn out the lights, please......
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