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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Lincoln...will have to fight not only the competition now entrenched, but upscale Lexus too. The new North American CEO Jim Press for Toyota Motor has stated as much in a recent Edmunds Online & Automotive News interview. "We're going to see Lexus go upscale". They've denied reports of building a factory in France or Germany, but not that they are going to build a new factory.

    While Wixom's days are waning, and Town Car sales INCREASE, Lexus no doubt will break ground in America for their base plant from which to launch a new assault on the market-place. Plus they can export the cars as well to balance the costs, in LHD and RHD versions. In sales per dealership Lincoln sold 8 cars in April & March whereas Lexus dealers sold 115 for April and 130 for March. Cadillac by contrast sold 12 cars per dealer, BMW 74, Mercedes 63... Making a harder arguement to save Lincoln from the scrap-pile of history---from Bill Ford's perspective. John Rock, the last CEO of Oldsmobile never once mentioned the word "Cutlass" in his recent interview in Motor Trend Classic, about the demise of the brand---something that would have saved them, much like Chrysler 300 is doing today. But there is no similar car for Lincoln, and people are now dashing to buy the last model year of Town Car before it becomes an upscale Ford 500...

    Where will Lincoln be? Two to three years from now?? Or Ten???

    As Ford closes its 'inefficient plants' to bring its flexible manufacturing capacity to 82% from 75%, they make no mention for the future of their best products made in those 'old' plants. Why they can't entice the buying public with a plan and models is unthinkable, Honda, Toyota, and the rest of the pack aren't waiting. And yet where is Mr. Ford on this issue?

    President Wilson's American-built Springfield Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (chassis 80JH) crossed the newly dedicated Wilson Bridge last thursday, with the Governor's of Virginia, Maryland, the Mayor of D.C. and Secretary Mineta in the car...at the same time Messrs. Wagoner, Zetsche, and Ford were on Capital Hill pleading for changes in regulations effecting fuel economy and standards. The esteemed executives should have looked over their shoulders to be reminded of what we once built in this nation: 'The Best Car in the World'...and when the cheering stops for Detroit, as it once did for President Wilson, all that will be left is what they have wrought. If the leaders of Lincoln, and other American companies kept that in mind, they would not now have the problems they do...and Lincoln would not be waning.

    As Lincoln goes, so goes the nation...and if Mr. Ford will not build great cars again, or build them in China, or where-ever, then his work will be but a distant memory as Mr. Press breaks ground on a new factory in America to build Lexus. It would be no surprise if that happens the same day that Toyota passes GM as the largest auto firm in the world. Nor that a 'Presidential Lexus Limousine' gets built if that happens...

    At least, President Wilson's last ride was in an American-built Rolls-Royce*...but it seems without a future for Lincoln, Mr. Ford's will be in a Mazda...or a Lexus!!! Nor will the friend's of "President McCain" be buying him a Lincoln when he retires in 2016...it will have become too small a car---if it has survived at all!

    DouglasR

    *December 28, 1923 at 3:15 p.m. the President was invited outside by his wife Edith Bolling Wilson see his new birthday gift at his S Street Home in Washington D.C. Four of his friends had pitched in to buy 80JH, a black and grey phaeton embossed with the intials 'W.W.' in Princeton Colors, for $12,782.75 as a replacement for his Pierce-Arrow. (A Ford in those days cost about $350, a Lincoln Model L Phaeton $4,600) President Wilson was the only President to own a Rolls-Royce. He died two months later February 3, 1924, his last ride thus being in a Rolls-Royce! The car is on display at the Wilson home at 2340 S. Street, Washington D.C. as part of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Mr. Ford should drive a Leland designed Model L Lincoln to remind him of what his grandfather achieved.

    Sources: Woodrow Wilson Foundation; Automotive News; 'When the Cheering Stops, the last years of Woodrow Wilson 1920-1924', Gene Smith, Wm. Morrow & Co, NY 1964; 'Rolls-Royce in America', John Webb De Campi, Dalton Watson, 1974; Toyota Motor Co.; Motor Trend Classic; Edmunds Online
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    An outstanding discourse, douglasr. Very impressive, very true, very sad.
  • Depressing. The failure of American industry to keep up in design and technology, whether we're talking automotive, technology, or else, bodes ill for our future. What engineers we educate and graduate end up working for foreign-owned companies, and what manufacturing we have is sent across our boarders.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    NVB & DSPT: Thank you for the compliment, I hold it in high regard. And I apologise in advance for my strident tone with respect to Lincoln and its future. My grandfather worked for Mr. Leland, hence my lifelong interest in the marque....

    Yet Mr. Press may break ground for his new Lexus factory in America, and I might implore MR. Ford to do likewise for Lincoln. The stark facts remain that Toyota Motor only spends $97 per worker on health care costs. GM spends $462 per worker directly, with an additional 1,534 for all the pensioners and workers in their 'jobs-bank'. Each employee on the line must not only be provided for, but also supports two additional workers not on the line, but having served GM (and the same holds for Ford Motor) in the past. If GM and Ford Motor had the same cost base for health care that Toyota Motor does, then both firms would have posted more than a 1,100 per vehicle profit, roughly $2.5Bn. GM and Ford lost roughly $560-740 per vehicle sold within the first quarter of this year, and much of 2005.

    Why Mr. Wagoner eliminated $15Bn in health care liabilities in 2005. Why Mr. Ford also pleaded for changes in the system with law makers last year, and supported some of Senator Kennedy's amendments for a national health care system. (Though I don't accept that Sen. Kennedy's proposals are the answer.) This does not even take into account the cost of capital between Japanese manufacturers and American ones. While the designers and engineers, product planners and production staff all have the same essential task before them between Asian, Japanese, European, and American manufacturers, labour, health care, and capital costs all tilt the balance between the competing companies. American ones are at a distinct disadvantage against overseas competition---even if they come to America and build plants here---they can lean on profits made overseas without having to support the same infrustructure for its employees in their home countries that we must do for ours here in America. The money saved on every car sold outside America also gives them advantage for every car built or sold within our shores. One reason, among many, that GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler are all rushing to expand their overseas manfuacturing---with GM already making more cars outside America, and selling more Buicks, than they do in America.

    All the more reason for the 'home team' to play hardball, to compete directly, and not run away from a good fight. American luxury marques can't be desolved to just two: Cadillac and Imperial, with a couple of Lincoln pick-ups and cheap Mexican Zephyr's to boot. If ever there was a time when we had to put the hardware on the street, it is now...even if it is an announcement, and intention, a show-car...something to give American consumers and enthusiasts hope that we are not doomed to drive upscale Kias and Hyundais forever. Mr. Press is rising to his finest hour at Toyota...he won't waste it. Bill Ford, Rick Wagoner, and Robert Lutz, along with gang at Chrysler must do the same....

    For a moment, I don't beleive we are 'done'. Especially when one looks at the real statistics of the auto market during the worst moments of the depression in the 1930's---we made the best cars then---and we can still do so today. It is the nerve and verve, necessity and veracity that seemingly are missing from the remarks of the esteemed genetlemen in Detroit---with the exception of Mr. Lutz and Zetsche. Yet the 'first-shot' was fired long ago, yet Lincoln's fate has become the test-case for manufacturing and engineering in America---though Bill Ford seems unaware of this reality---the response must be ours, and his...

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, Ford Motor, GM)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I sincerely hope you are right, doug. I do not fully share your optimism. I'm not sure it even CAN be done anymore here with the handicaps we have - but if it can, I don't see Mr. Ford going about it correctly. Mr. Lutz may be making progress, but the odds are 10x more against him than at Ford. Chrysler will survive, because of who owns them.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    Doug, you get an "A" for effort, but buddy, give it up.

    Prop Rods, D-L shifters and Mexican built Mazdas are it, until they Oldsmobile the whole thing.
    Bill Jr. doesn't give a steaming-loaf about Lincoln.

    Think what they could have done with all the money and energy squandered to develop a few thousand Ford GT's
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ST: Admittedly you have a point. Especially the perception that Bill Ford disdains Lincoln---though his remarks in his 2004/5 book published by John Wiley & Co. do not. He rushed to the burning Rouge Works his second week on the job to save lives...

    But it is his company that is 'burning' now. "Oldsmobiling" the whole thing will not solve his problems. The same kind of thinking that Roger Smith, Ron Zarella, and John Rock espoused during their tennure as executives is why GM is in so much trouble today. The same miasma effects Ford in part. Nor will calling every Lincoln a 'mark x-y-z' solve their problems. VWAG & BMW AG spent $3.5 Billion between them to revive Rolls-Royce and Bentley to sell 10,606 cars last year all toll. Lincoln customers are waiting...waiting...waiting for fabulous cars. Eliminate Lincoln from Ford Motor, and Ford Motor will go the way of the Studebaker Connestoga. The same $3.5Bn could bring great cars back to Lincoln---serving as a benchmark for American manufacturing and engineering.

    That is what I am after. Generations of my family slaved in Ford factories throughout the 20th century---from Highland Park, Livernous Avenue at Lincoln, and even the Rouge. I don't want what they put into the company to be cast aside like so much used motoroil. 'Give it up'? Never! It is precisely when a company is to the wall that great things, great designers, engineers, and individuals rise to the cause. This is what I wish to bring to Mr. Ford's attention. To challenge him, and all who work for him....

    Toyota posted record profits for Q1, 60% of which came from their American sales, and they made an average of $1,539 per car---almost exactly what both Ford and GM spend for health care. Starbucks, like GM, spends more for health care than it does for coffee or steel. This is what we are up against. Yet...our nation rose to the cause in the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, and we sacrifice even today. Thus it must be for the great cars built for our nation and the world. Give-up? Never...never drive a Kia, no matter how good as my main car...but if Mr. Wagoner, Lutz, Ford, Fields, etc. do not act, that is the only choice we will be left with. The consequences will be far reaching beyond the mere choice of a car to drive.

    Thus it is not just a name brand. The matter rests with whether or not we remain a manufacturing nation of first rank...in all facets...that we are not merely a giant 'Wall-Mart' for goods manufactured by American owned companies re-exported back to our shores. Our economy can't be sustained with its current standard of living if that becomes a reality.

    Why I say, "As Lincoln goes...so goes the nation..." It matters not to me if we manufacture Lincoln overseas, as well as we do it at home, and that it is also very best we can do. We did so when labour cost $2.60 an hour, and the average wage was $62.50-$75.00 per week, and 'health-care' was a new fangled idea from President Roosevelt. We can not now say that ideas, and doing our best cost too much, and our efforts aren't worth the sticker price. I am quite tired of watching foreign engineered, designed, and American assembled marques drive by and finding myself thinking: "If they can do there here, why can't we..."

    Bill Ford can talk all day long about the bitter details of manufacturing in America...what a worker costs, what the doctor to keep him healthy costs, the uneven playing field...but it has always been so...it is his nerve and verve I challenge. Where is the best from Lincoln? He sits behind his grandfather's desk...but he should look over his shoulder at what Edsel accomplished. The modern Ford Motor would not exist without it. And it will not survive without the effort made to revive what once was and must be great again---as the saying goes: "Lincoln inspires the loyalty of those who know it best."

    ...If our voices remain silent, then we acquiesce in the destruction of what is and must remain a great part of our nation...

    DouglasR
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...>>> **The stark facts remain that Toyota Motor only spends $97 per worker on health care costs. GM spends $462 per worker directly, with an additional 1,534 for all the pensioners and workers in their 'jobs-bank'.....**



    Bingo.....!



    Terry.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    **The stark facts remain that Toyota Motor only spends $97 per worker on health care costs. GM spends $462 per worker directly, with an additional 1,534 for all the pensioners and workers in their 'jobs-bank'.....**

    Sorry, guys, the bottom line is the car itself.

    Compare a 1982 Ranger, I mean a 2006 Ranger to a Tacoma.
    Compare a 1992 Town Car, I mean a 2006 Town Car to any Lexus
    Compare a 1999 Focus to, I mean a 2007 Focus to a Corolla.

    While the health care cost issue has vaildity, it's just the latest list in American Car Company management excuses for management's own failure.

    Remember when we were told the Japanese worker was superior, and then all the Japanese companies built plants here?
    Remember when it was dollar/yen exchange rate and the rates flipped and the situation stayed the same?

    Face the fact- American Car companies have contempt for the American car buyer. That fact has been the one consistent thing.

    They think you don't know excellent products from rebadged obsolete garbage. They would rather give out dividends or buy Aston-Martin then spend money on boring things like development making products that will actually sell because they are excellent.

    The success of the Mustang, F-150 and the Chrysler 300 all show that if you make excellent vehicles instead of excuses, you will succeed. - simple huh?
  • The matter rests with whether or not we remain a manufacturing nation of first rank...in all facets...that we are not merely a giant 'Wall-Mart' for goods manufactured by American owned companies re-exported back to our shores. Our economy can't be sustained with its current standard of living if that becomes a reality.

    Precisely my concern. I foresee a "Soylent Green" standard of retirement, if not for me, then for my young nephew and nieces.
  • cowbellcowbell Posts: 125
    "Sorry, guys, the bottom line is the car itself."

    Imagine what you could do if you were able to spend an extra $1500 to design and build a better car. Imagine an American car with $1500 worth of "free" extra features.

    That $1500 dollars isn't just about revenue. It's about what can't be added to the car in order for it to be priced competitively.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    "Imagine what you could do if you were able to spend an extra $1500 to design and build a better car. Imagine an American car with $1500 worth of "free" extra features.
    That $1500 dollars isn't just about revenue. It's about what can't be added to the car in order for it to be priced competitively. "


    And imagine what could be done if the proceeds from Hertz, or the money squandered on their corporate jewelry, the GT or all the money wasted on Jaguar/Land Rover/Aston Martin had been spent on developing competitive cars in every segment.

    Why didn't Toyota buy Jaguar or Land Rover? Instead, of buying what anyone could see was a black hole, Toyota spent their money on developing and making excellent cars.--What a concept!!

    Before they started in "Excuse Making, phase 23", wasn't it just a few years ago they were making billions in profit - under the same health care cost structure?

    Where did all that money go?
    Into developing a new Ranger? New Focus? a V-8 American sedan?

    Look at the last 2 decades, Ford is better at making excuses than competitive products.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    The reason is making quick bucks – it is an American national character. It is easier to buy technology than to develop one by yourself. As well as it is easier to bring illegal immigrants than to develop technology to do the same work with less people. May be it is efficient in short term and but in long term it makes country uncompetitive.

    Jewelry costs money but has no practical significance. And it is not a good investment either. When times are hard you can hardly sell jewelry for good price to support your family. It is a proven fact –people who lived through depression (including myself) can tell you that. Selling jewelry can sustain you one more week. But if you developed practical skills you can survive in any situation. It seems that Ford did not develop practical skills – it relies on everything on Volvo, Jaguar, Ford Europe and Mazda engineers. And if they gone – what Ford NA is going to do – Japanese and Europeans will it eat it alive.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "Compare a 1982 Ranger, I mean a 2006 Ranger to a Tacoma.
    Compare a 1992 Town Car, I mean a 2006 Town Car to any Lexus
    Compare a 1999 Focus to, I mean a 2007 Focus to a Corolla."

    Scooter - ahem.......excuse me, but your models are off a bit.....

    Ok, you're right on the ranger....
    The Town car would be either a 78, or a 98. You can choose either one, but 92 was a reskin only. I have an LS430, and I bought it because I'm not pleased with the current Town Car. But in fairness, my LS430 is an 01 design, so shouldn't we compare the 98 Town Car with the 01 Lexus? Lexus still wins.

    Then, there's your Focus. Essentially a 99 design, but when was the Corolla totally overhauled last? It wasn't in 07, was it? I think the basic Corolla under there is quite old as well..... The Corolla still wins.
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    The Town Car chassis is the same basic one that came out in 1980. It was re-bodied in 1990 and again in 1998.
    How can Ford's "top of the Line" crown jewel have a chassis that started rolling off the assembly line 27 years ago?

    Think about that: Jimmy Carter was president when this chassis entered production.

    Have you seen the European Focus?
    Can you explain the one we get?
    I can: comtempt for your customer.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ST makes a good argument that Ford Motor was slow in updating its products. Yet for Lincoln that actually worked to their advantage in the 1980's...when GM went FWD for all their top-line models, droves of disenchanted buyers switched to Lincoln, Mercury and Crown Vic. Sales of the "Town Brick" as one GM executive called it, went up as the decade wore on, at one point in 1986-7 Wixom could not keep up with demand. The Leland 'ten year' plan for the model was proved. The 88-89 TC being far better than its 1980 counterpart. The same plan was used again for its successor, the 1990-97 TC---which was a better car, better still by 1997. As a rule Lincoln sales generally increase as the design ages and is improved---a policy started in 1921 by Mr. Leland.

    The problem became that its successor, the 1998 TC was better in many respects, but not a huge jump in quality, eventhough the body pressings were tighter, the interiors upgraded, the chassis fine tuned. Had Lincoln pushed into the QC levels of Mercedes, BMW, or better they would have retained their first place crown against Cadillac, and certainly brought new owners to the fold. Lincoln was not afraid to use a Japanese company to make the pressings for the 1990 Town Car body, so the chance to improve upon that existed. The engines were not a huge improvement over the old motor. Certainly at any time since 1998 the Continental could have been revived to challenge the competition without hurting sales of Town Car. However, Ford's investment in Jaguar having bled off money that could have gone for Lincoln and a revived Continental.

    Ford Motor spent enough money on Jaguar, that had they done so by half, Lincoln would have benefited with the money that should never have been spend on the X and S Type Jaguars. If anything the Ford investment in Jaguar-Astons was a shrewd move to checkmate the competition from doing so when both GM and DCX were expanding. Trying to make a Mondeo overnight into Jaguar while going down-market without first fixing the base product was not. Mr Nasser and MR. Ford wanted Jaguar to become Ford's 'BMW' and they badly misjudged not only Jaguar customers, but the marketplace. A longtime loyal Jaguar owner and friend sold hers, telling me, "they homoginized it", apart from seeing too many small Jags on the road.

    Today's Callum designed and revived XJ, XK are fabulous cars, beautifully made and engineered. But that is where they should have stopped. The cash used for the cheap seats in what has became the 'cat box' at Jaguar invested in Lincoln and Continental instead---a cool $3Bn---what it cost to revive Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Had Ford Motor done so, they would have appealed not only to the American consumer who will never buy a Cadillac or a Lincoln (or Imperial), but also retained their traditional loyal base that always wants the big Lincoln---leaving Continental to compete against the high end competition. Jaguar appeals to different buyers than Lincoln or Continental. Under the guidance of former Porsche engineer, Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston has become the crown jewel of the Ford Empire, but there should have been a corresponding Continental in the same league to appeal to a different type of buyer that does not want a 2 + 2 seater....

    What it would take: $153Mn is what Porsche is spending on plant expansion for the Panamera sedan. $162Mn is what the Dresden factory cost VWAG for Bentley-Phaeton production. GM spent a similar amount for their Wixom High Performance Engine plant---making blue-printed/balanced V8, V10, and V12-16 motors. $650Mn is what it cost to develop the aluminum bodyshells at Jaguar/Astons. Number of workers needed: 4,500, and they still have 1,650 at Wixom; offer them a garanteed wage for a decade, with inflation adjustments. For a cool billion, Ford Motor could pull from their empire the pieces needed to what would amount to a $2Bn investment in Lincoln, at half the price. The man who first proposed that idea: Wolfgang Reitzle, the abrasive BMW executive cashiered by Ford after they rejected his plans for Lincoln. Today the idea is needed, and the clock is ticking not only on Wixom---but for Ford Motor too.

    February 28, 2006 BMW's 4,500 employees built its 1 millionth vehicle in America at Spartanburg; exporting a fair percentage of the Z4's made there. When Mr. Press breaks ground for the Lexus plant in America, it won't take 7 years for them to build their 1 millionth Lexus as it did for BMW. Lincoln won't be able to say the same thing...several years from now in celebration of their new design or factory. Yet the pieces all remain on the shelf at Ford Motor. They have the means and the money ($25Bn in cash on hand) and the marketplace is waiting, it is the will...that is the problem.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Ford Motor, BMWAG, NYT, Edmunds Online, Automotive News, Detroit Free Press)
  • scootertrashscootertrash Posts: 698
    Doug- I enjoy your thought provoking posts.

    Two things jump out at me:

    "in the 1980's...when GM went FWD for all their top-line models, droves of disenchanted buyers switched to Lincoln, Mercury and Crown Vic."

    And while Cadillac and Chrysler are going V-8 RWD, what's Ford doing?
    Going all FWD- Brilliant.

    "Aston has become the crown jewel of the Ford Empire"

    When your kids are starving and there's a forclosure notice posted on your trailer, you shouldn't waste your welfare check on jewelry to make you feel pretty.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, you were the one who said it was a 1992 Town Car, I was just trying to point out that it was a 78 platform.

    What about the Asian Buick LaCross, and why don't we have it here?????
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    1980 continental with the Town car option included a 351 V8 & it was a performer. from 1981 to 1990 the only engine was the 302 and it was a dog.

    The 4.6 introduced in 1991 was a huge improvement over the 302, but in the following years Cadillac came up with their 275 hp 4.6 while Lincoln sat on its [non-permissible content removed].

    If no more Town Cars, this traditional Town Car driver will replace his 4.6 with an XJ8.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Lincoln could lead again...

    Aston-Martin's engine plant outside Koln, Germany produces 5,000 balanced/blue printed engines each year. Ford Motor even went to the trouble to placing an Aston-Martin sign on the building, and the workers often wear the Aston logo on their work attire. Built after the Ford acquisition, along with the Gaydon plant---a state of the art facility to build aluminum vehicles---the Koln engine plant proves that Ford has the pieces and the technology to make cars of first rank. The same technology could be applied to Lincoln and Continental---much as Cadillac has their V series vehicles.

    Nasser's plan for Jaguar was to bring it to a production level of 200,000-240,000 cars per annum, much like a 'Division' rather than a name brand. The British versions of the Mondeo, which I happened to drive in 1996 when introduced, were excellent. The high performance versions of those cars really quite something, the five speed I drove (RHD) was a stunner, often beating BMW's on the drive out of London. When Jaguar came to the states: presto---Mondeo became a Jaguar. Only the SVO editions survived without a name change, and the regular production editions built in America were not on paar with the British ones. Even the SVO's were still not as good as what Ford Motor sold the British public in my estimation. Ford's market share is smaller in the U.K. than it is in the states, 13% on average. Yet the Ford products made 'over-there' are always better. Granted they cost more owing to the tariff, tax and VAT fees piled ontop of the base price, but that holds for everyone. So the stakes are higher...competition tighter...and the cars are, well, fine tuned to a higher degree. The truth is in the driving. Going a car too far, the Mondeo based Jaguars have brought ruin and losses to Jaguar...assauged only by the hard work accomplished with the XJ and XK. But Jaguar will return to being a marque than a division. Leaving Lincoln to lead the charge within Ford Motor.

    All these years later, Ford Motor still has the pieces of the puzzle in hand. Even Bill Ford has declared that the market has now "shifted and become a global marketplace". Given that sentiment, then it is perfectly acceptable to offer a V10 or V12 Lincoln in America, engine built in Koln, Germany. Such a car would not compete against Aston because it would be much larger and heavier by 800lbs. Even high performance V8's, twin, super, or turbo-charged could and should be offered. A Mark IX would have been perfect with 'hot-rod' engine/suspension packages in them. Given that sentiment, it is perfectly acceptable to draw from Australian Ford, European Ford, and across the Ford Empire to build a greater car. Buick regularly upgrades what it sells overseas than what it sells the American public, and the latest Asian LaCrosse is a perfect example---surprise, Buick sells more cars outside of America than inside.

    Making an impression is what Lincoln is trying to attain these days. Yet by not availing themselves of making greater cars, especially as Cadillac increased their sales 37% since 2002, and Imperial is on the way as DCX expands the Brampton Plant, no matter what color the cars (extended Ford 500's) are painted, no matter that they are made on the third shift of the Chicago assembly line, they will never be true Lincolns. At the down-market end of the line people accept that with Zephyr and respond to price. At the high end of the market, they will not buy a Town Car if they perceive it to be a rebranded Ford. Nor will massaging yet again the 4.6 V8 accomplish any conquests of sales from competitors. Mr. Bez at Aston's has shown how to accomplish the goal of building great cars within the Ford Empire, and one bets in front of an entrenched and perhaps hostile beaurocracy. HE should be placed in charge of Lincoln and Continental---and put a little punch back into the marque. Using the aluminum body technology developed at Astons and Jaguar for top-line models wouldn't hurt---witness what Audi has accomplished using the same, whose sales have increased by double digits, and whose sales will hit 1Mn by 2009. Plus it would amortize the investment made in the big cat. Lincoln will make an unforgetable impression if they make such a move.

    DouglasR

    (Sources: WSJ, Financial Times, Automotive Industries)
  • heyjewelheyjewel Posts: 1,046
    Bold, well thought out plan, douglas. Unfortunately you aren't running Ford. Even if you were, it'd be 2012 or so before Ford could bring anything like that to market if they started today.

    Neither am I of course (probably a good thing) but I want to add my 2cents. Having been part of a focus group a year and a half or more ago, I saw what I'm 90% sure was either 2 versions of the TC replacement, or a TC and a Continental replacement (my preference). One (or both) of these will surely be the 'D' sedan due in 2008 or 9 I forget which.

    The cars are stunning to look at. They outshone all the other comparison models in the focus area incl Lexus, Caddy, Infiniti and more. Absolutely beautiful cars, one with a more sporting look than the other (my choice for Continental). They do not resemble anything Ford has on the ground right now. Probably more like the MK S than anything, but more Lincoln-esqe than the Acura-like MK S.

    All that said, I of course do not know what platform they're on or what drivertrains they'll have etc. The natural guess is that they're stretched 500s/Volvos. Their size will probably demand more punch than the Organ maker's engine in the MK S or the 3.5 six for sure. What will that be? Anyone? V10? :>) Probably only one of them will actually make it to mfging and that would be a shame, they are that different. It will probably be the more sedate one as well cause I spoke to a couple of other group members who picked the sedate one as their favorite while I picked the sportier of the two. (And remember, this was the favorite of all the cars shown incl top of line Lexus, Infiniti M, etc. Stunning vehicles, I hope they drive like they look.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,563
    Not lookign to argue or anything...just out of curiosity...isn't replacing a Lincoln with the Jag still supporting the same company?

    I hope you buy a used one...those things will depreciate to the ground.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "If no more Town Cars, this traditional Town Car driver will replace his 4.6 with an XJ8."

    Interesting thought - that's the direction I was headed for a sedan, and got sidetracked by an S-500 along the way, which had so many things wrong with it, I bought a Lexus as a rebound consolation prize...... I still would like the XJ-8, thought it's a bit low for me.....

    Not sure the transition will work though that smoothly. It wasn't an automatic switch at all.... I wonder if Bill realizes that a Town Car and an XJ-8 are not only 2 way different cats - they are way differently priced!.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    It's the difference that attracts me to the Jag. I've just completed a 3,000 mile loop and did not see one 2004 or 5 XJ8 & my trip included WA, ID, WY,UT,AZ, CA, OR & WA.

    None in Sedona.

    Still though, I'm curious to see the 07 Town Car.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Why? It looks exactly as it has for many years. It remains hard to distinguish from a 1998.

    BTW, the 1998 was actually a rebodied and slightly stretched 1991 Grand Marquis (the 1990 to 1997 TC had its own body distinct from the Crown Vic/GM). The 1991 Grand Marquis was a rebodied 1979 Grand Marquis. In other words, there's nothing new to see. And there's no hope of a new Town Car before the the 2009 model year at the earliest...if Lincoln is still selling cars then.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    "If no more Town Cars, this traditional Town Car driver will replace his 4.6 with an XJ8."

    I think the traditional Town Car buyer will replace his with a uplevel Chrysler 300 or Cadillac DTS. An XJ8 is too exotic.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    ....just as Lincoln benefited from GM's switch to FWD in the 1980's, Chrysler and GM will benefit to Ford's failure to invest in its car platforms and upgrade what works. Tom La Sorda at Chrysler is planning the expansion of Brampton to handle the special Imperial production line-up, and the lwb 300's. Mr. Lutz was quoted by Edmunds that they had infact confirmed they can sell 100K plus Camaro's per year to make that platform feasible...a four door varient of that car not far off either. So RWD is where the specialty cars are going.

    Town Car, and Lincoln never left that market. Mr. Press at Toyota had declared Lexus will go after that market---upscaling their LS series cars. Cadillac continues to increase sales of their V series and baseline cars as they have improved dramatically under Mr. Lutz. Messrs. Ford, Fields, and Ms Stevens want to bring flexble production capacity to most Ford plants, up to 82% now, and higher into the decade. If they are not going to move Town Car Production to China, then...

    The Springfield Plan might save Lincoln in America. Chicago will get the 'stretched' Ford 500 within 18 months and the public won't buy the bet in my estimation---Versailles was a joke as a rebodied & pimped Granada---any rebodied Ford 500 would have to be completely unrecognisable as such in order to succeed. But we already know its individual Lincoln plant will be gone. Both Cadillac and Imperial will waste no time in pointing that fact out.

    Ford Motor needs to pick a site outside Springfield Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln for whom the car was named by Henry M. Leland. Close enough to Ford's manufacturing facilities in Chicago, easily accessed by rail, Lincoln Motor could be reestablished at Springfield. The original stone masonry of the "Lincoln" name from the Livernois Plant was preserved by the Lincoln Foundation, and could be purchased and built into the new modern structure. $300Mn would finance the building. Ford could hire the same architect that built the Leipzig BMW plant, which was built with great efficiency and speed, plus winning architectural awards, and allowing a maximum production rate of one car per minute.

    Town Car production could be shifted from Wixom, the production tooling refitted to accomodate the new methods of manufacture for different models---$50-75Mn to switch plants. The line could be set up much as BMW has done in Spartanburg for flexbility to produce two different (and soon three) types of vehicles. In this fashion two other Lincoln models could be accomodated with variation on each platform. Lincoln Motor restablished along with the new plant, more independent within the Ford Motor Empire. By doing so use of aluminum stampings and extrusions direct from Castle Bromwich in England could be utilised in a next generation Town Car, along with specialised engines from the Aston factory at Koln. Ford's engine casting factories would still be within a convenient radii for shippping 'V8 motors' to Lincoln.

    Ask the 1,650 remaining Wixom workers if they want to relocate---half might. Give them a ten year contract, with allowances for inflation, and a given health care package amenable to both sides so Ford is not placed in the GM bind. Doing so tells the workers their wages will not be as high as they might have been, but not low enough to reduce them to subsistance or too low a standard of living. More important, 68% of all suggestions made by Japanese Auto workers are accepted---because they have a garanteed wage and employment package so aren't afraid to make changes that speed efficiency in the plant---knowing they won't lose their jobs as a result of the change. (American workers' suggestions have rarely tipped more than 24% acceptance, few willing to make changes that might eliminate their jobs!) This reason alone allows Toyota to build cars in an average of 15 hours labour versus almost twice as much at their competition. In this way the employee hours per vehicle might change with an increase in quality. Breaking down the hostile barriers between the company and the management is a key factory in the success of the competition.

    And...open a Lincoln Motor Museum near the factory. Put several of each types of Lincoln automobile ever made in the museum, setting it up as an independent foundation but aided at the start by Ford Motor---which could be funded by the Ford Foundation. Much like the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum a stones throw away in Auburn, the Lincoln Museum could also house the papers of the Lelands, the respective Lincoln documents from the Ford eras. Springfield, Illinois could not object to such an infusion of cash and interest into their city---the respective Congressmen, Senators, and the Governor welcoming the investment. Much as Corvette owners do, Lincoln owners could gather at the factory and museum for shows and special events, bringing in further cash and gravitas to the entire venture.

    Mr. Ford says he treats his employees like "family". He sits behind his grandfather Edsel's desk, who together with Clara Ford with a handshake saved Lincoln from tax court liabilities February 4, 1922, that would have ended the legacy of Henry M. Leland at that time. Infront of the new factory, beneath the 'Lincoln' inscription---bathed in light---should be statue of the famed meeting of the minds: Mr. Leland, Mr. Henry Ford, and Mr.Edsel Ford. The inscription below: "Now I want to make the best..."

    Our economy grew by 5.2% in the first quarter of this year, can we not now instill more of that growth in the one sector that creats more jobs, and has a greater cumulative effect than any other. By doing so he could bring his workers back into the corporate fold, and rewrite a chapter in the labor relations between company and employee---afterall that is the subject that Mr. Ford wrote his college thesis on: "Labour Relations and the Ford Motor Company" Mr. Ford says he wants to regain the high ground, and compete against all comers, expecially Toyota. The Springfield Plan is a way to place the corporate bet on the table, and tell his competitors like Mr. Press---it's going to take a lot more spade work to beat Ford Motor---the back of his spade should say: 'This ones' for you Jim'...

    DouglasR

    (Sources: 'Decline & Fall of the U.K. Motor Industry'; FT; WSJ; Ford Motor Company)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,563
    Come to Bellevue...you'll see them daily. The other day I saw some odd sport model, it had big wheels and vents in the front quarter panels. Was that an "R"?

    I'd think a Lexus LS would be a natural progression from a TC
  • nitephirenitephire Posts: 5
    Obviously they arent going anywhere with the new lincs, just look at what they will be selling next year. Linc/Merc will be closed in five years if they dont do the obvious, make better more interesting and dynamically driven cars. First all chassis need to be replace with light weight aluminum. V6's need to make at least 300hp, v8's 400 and limited White Knight editions 500hp. Make each vehicle car and truck alike loose 500 to 2000lbs a piece. Use hybrid tech for the tree huggers and optional oil burners for the rest of us. Make them all drive like BMW's and interiors like Audi's and we may have a winner. Listen no one loves American Lux like I do but they have to make something I want and I dont like Caddies.
  • douglasrdouglasr Posts: 191
    Mr. Delorean would be proud. Pontiac announces that it is switching to RWD for its future product plans, and chassis. Binding in a synergy the concept that rwd is performance, unmatched by what fwd ever attained. Regardless of your opinion on that issue, Pontiac is going back to its roots to revitalise its fate and products.

    Bill Ford, Mark Fields, and Ann Stevens, author of the 'Way Forward' plan can't ignore the shift in the marketplace for specialist cars that shows that rwd still has a place within the market. And that place should also still be occuppied by Lincoln. Aston-Martin continues to fine tune its chassis with the new 500PS DBS Coupe that will debut in the James Bond Film Casino Royale. It's too bad that 'Mr. Bond' can't be seen pulling up in a new rwd Lincoln show car as much as he did in 1965---in a four door convertible! Which, of course, is possible with the technology available today---and being considered by Chrysler on the 300 chassis.

    Yet word is that internal corporate termoil about the 'Wixom Decision' still exists with certain (unamed source) executives declaring that many within Ford Motor don't understand the rational for closing one of their highest rated plants (by Harbour & Associates) making a product that the market is shifting back towards---despite trippling of fuel costs. And that the announcement was premature, given that product plans for Lincoln Town Car for '09-'10 were not yet completely frozen---owing to the fact that the existing platform could remain in production for some time with improvements in drivetrain and accomodations. "The 'Way Forward' plan is a plan to nowhere..." according to one Ford Executive.

    While it would be nothing less than fantastic if Ford executives 'reconsidered' their decision in light of GM's moves, (giving them appropriate cover from loss of face!) failing that, or overseas production as I have suggested, then the 'Springfield Plan' or anything resembling it, seems to be the only chance to prevent Lincoln from becoming the 'Late Nite Lady' of Ford production. Cadillac and Imperial will waste no time in making lite of their unique production facilities and quality attendant to that. Lincoln must have an answer at that time. Declaring that "Quality is Job 1" at our Ford plant making Lincolns won't cut it. (OR as Jay Leno put it in a joke: "Job Juan"!!)

    The 'Last Lincoln' will roll out of Wixom 375 days from now, for by June 15, 2007, Wixom will close when the last Town Car rolls off the line. Traditionalist as I count myself to be, have just that long to convince Ford Motor that a better solution exists than the ones they have ellucidated within Q1 '06 for the fate of eighty years of Lincoln history. There is little doubt that the bets are that neither Ms. Stevens nor Mr. Fields have ever driven the great Lincoln and Continental automobiles of the past whose history they are so quick to abbrogate and divolve to Chicago---rendering the product insignificant or ineffectual with merely a rebadged Ford 500.

    Mr. Ford should look at the notes his grandfather left behind, the ghosts of which hide in his desk drawers. He should take heed the market mistakes that his father made with the Mark II, despite the excellence of the product, and remake and redress the past. Bringing a brighter moment to his company and those who work for it. As Lincoln goes, so goes the nation...but will Mr. Ford follow or lead?

    DouglasR

    (Sources: Independent conversations with "Ford Executives", WSJ, Automotive News, Edmunds Online)
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