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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • speculatorspeculator Posts: 116
    The new Caddy coupe is probably going to sticker over 60 k . So, the sales may be limited. But that is no reason why Lincoln should not offer a competing vehicle. Ford just has to engineer the Lincoln to be a better car than the CTS coupe. As far as the rwr Falcon.
    Ford is sending all kinds of mixed signals concerning the fate of it large rwd Aussie vehicle. The consensous is that the new Falcon would be based on the American Taurus platform. But then again, Ford is going to have a new rwd platform for the Mustang that would have an IRS. At least that is the rumor. So ,who knows?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    Steve - I believe Mulally has changed that mentality. There is no longer "Ford North America" and "Ford Europe" and "Ford Australia". There is Ford - period - and it operates globally. The only thing holding back Lincoln right now is a lack of existing suitable flagship platforms which was caused by neglect prior to Mulally. It's just a question of how long it will take them to correct the problem. The fact that they are now making money (before the new Explorer, Fiesta or Focus are figured in) and they no longer have Mercury or supporting marginal L/M dealers to worry about combined with Mulally's leadership tells me it will happen sooner than expected.
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    I have been saying for the last 2-3 years Ford needs to dump Mercury and put these resources into Lincoln. Finally, Lincoln will have the resources needed to do battle with BMW/Lexus/Cadillac and the like. I see Lincoln coming out with some new models in the next 3-5 years that are going to put Lincoln in with the big boys of Luxury. Smart move Ford!
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    I remember late 90-s Ford announced that it will sell Lincoln LS as a replacement for Ford Scorpio premium midsize RWD car in Europe. But then because of Jaguar it did not happen and Ford does not have premium model to offer in Europe since then. This unfortunate turn of events cemented Ford reputation in Europe as maker of cheap cars with plastic interiors, like French car companies. I do not know how Ford is going to sell Lincolns in Europe since it does not have any cred in luxury department anymore.

    Jaguar could not replace Scorpio, because Jaguars were overpriced ancient cars that lost any relevance and credibility in Europe long time ago. At least Lincoln could start fresh at lower price point than Jaguar. But note that even Cadillac which is superior to Lincoln in every aspect cannot succeed in German dominated European market
  • nace818nace818 Posts: 140
    edited July 2010
    IMO if Buick keeps on going with fine new models like the Lacrosse and Regal, they should be OK in the future. Also, I love my V8 Lucerne, one of the smoothest rides on this planet. I admit it could handle better, but that's not what it's for. It's built as a comfortable highway cruiser which it certainly is.(basically a Cadillac DTS in Buick skin) Anyway Buick keep on going in the direction you are now and you will be just fine.(Sorry for straying, I know this should be about Lincoln)
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    I have the Cadillac DTS and I'm extremely happy with it.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    IMO if Buick keeps on going with fine new models like the Lacrosse and Regal, they should be OK in the future.

    Yes, they'll survive with a few good products. But at the expense of Chevy and Cadillac. Maybe folks won't buy a higher end Chevy but they could certainly offer the Buicks as entry level Cadillacs. That's basically Ford's strategy - offer higher end Fords with more equipment and better styling and charge a premium, then let Lincoln take over the higher end market with just a little overlap in between. It's certainly worked for Ford - the average transaction price rose $5K for Ford models over the last 5 years.

    Mercury could have been saved but it would have taken resources and sales away from Ford and Lincoln and there's no reason to have an in between brand.

    If it was such a good business model to have 3 sequential brands then why haven't the imports done it (Toyota, Honda, Nissan)? Scion doesn't count - it's a niche brand and doesn't fit between Toyota and Lexus.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Allen, there are manufacturers with more than two brands and there are manufacturers with only two brands. Both models can work well.

    Ford is initially going to lose sales overall when Mercury is fully toast, but they may recoup some of that over time. It will certainly depend upon whether they can make Lincoln mean something, and not waste any more precious development dollars on models like the MKS or MKT, both of which were decent efforts, but neither being cars that will appeal to a larger luxury audience that they need.

    Meanwhile, GM will keep their market share for now. They halved the number of brands they had, are rebuilding Buick nicely (and arguably doing a better and more careful job than Lincoln has), Chevrolet is doing fine, GMC is growing, and Cadillac has the sucessful CTS line and the revamped SRX, with a DTS/STS replacement in the wings and a 3 series fighter coming. Ford has gone one way, and GM is taking a different tack. No reason why both cannot achieve success. GM has a Lincoln competitor (Buick), and Cadillac has already moved upmarket from there. Ford will have to first secure Lincoln's place at a Buick level before it can take Lincoln further upmarket. I think it will work in the end for them, but right now Cadillac already has a reputation as something other than a re-trimmed Chevy.

    I am glad I do not have to make these calls. The car business is a real gamble, and the target is changing all the time.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    More than 2 brands - yes. 3 sequential brands with one being positioned in between the other 2? Only GM has that now with Buick. Can it be made to work? Sure. But is it necessary? The only successful Cadillac car is the CTS. Why not replace the DTS with 2 Buick models? Wouldn't that help Cadillac and reduce overhead? Is there any reason why people wouldn't buy the Buicks for the same price with a Cadillac badge?

    I can see why some would defend Buick - but GMC? How can you possibly defend keeping GMC as a separate brand?

    They may have halved their brands but the question is whether they went far enough?

    Ford sells almost the same number of vehicles as GM with fewer incentives and much higher profits. And Ford has 2 brands versus 4 and only half the employees.

    Ford is already competitive with Chevy/Buick/GMC and Lincoln should be competing nicely with Buick/Cadillac in 3-4 years.

    If you were starting a new company today with GM's current market share, would you create 3 sequential brands plus a complete clone for trucks? I hope not.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Well the DTS and Lucerne share the same platform. I could've went with either the Buick or Cadillac, but chose the Cadillac because it is much more attractive. The Lucerne is a fine car, but at times reminds me of a Passat on steroids, especially from the rear.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    But is it necessary? Of course not. But it is a strategy (just as killing Mercury is a strategy). It is a continuum. No matter whether you have two brands (or 10 like Volkswagen...count 'em now with the recent additions of Porsche and Suzuki), you will have overlap. I am not sure why this is bothersome to you.

    Chrysler has four brands: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Chrysler's owner Fiat has several brands as well (and not just Abarth, Maserati and Ferrari). Alfa and Lancia overlap. Fiat is still sorting their own situation out, so I am NOT saying that I think their brand array is the best.

    The only successful Cadillac car is the CTS. The CTS is a whole line now: sedan, stunning, stunning coupe and wagon. You are also forgetting the new SRX, which is doing really well right out of the gate. The XTS looks to be a potential success. The plan for a 3 series fighter is a good one as well. Oh, and don't forget the Escalade. It is doing way better than the Lincoln, and Cadillac has plans to remake it for the heavy duty CUV crowd.

    I am not knocking Ford in any way, but no way does Ford sell as many vehicles as Chevy/Buick/GMC combined. All of those brands are building. None of them are pausing at this point at brand building. I hope that Lincoln is competitive with Buick soon. I cannot imagine that they will have the wherewithall to cover the range that Cadillac plans to cover any time in the next few years, and let's remember, Cadillac has no plans to pause and let anyone catch up with their own continual improvement. Plainly said, Lincoln does not have the desirability that somehow Cadillac has been able to retain even through the GM debacle of debacles.

    you were starting a new company today with GM's current market share, would you create 3 sequential brands plus a complete clone for trucks? I hope not. I truly don't know. But that is beside the point. GM has built-in over umpty zillion years some brands (with an s) credibility. They shed many of them, so I cannot judge that going all the way down to four is still a bad decision. It seems clear they do have more capacity to expand with their greater number of employees. So I guess we'll see. What is telling is how quickly after bankruptcy and shame, they began trouncing Ford sales again.

    Drive a new Regal and see if this is a company who cannot bring LOTS of great products to market. As I said before, I am glad I am not making the big decisions for any of these companies. But why you are so bothered by GM's decision to keep more than two brands begins to suggest you are a little defensive about Ford's decision to only keep two. And you shouldn't be.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    These multiple brands were created when domestics controlled almost the entire market and GM had over 50% market share. They were all competing with each other and could easily support 3 or 5 or 7 brands or more. Today they're competing with imports who don't have the same overhead.

    You're thinking just like GM - trying to justify keeping status quo. Ford could have done that with Mercury and given it great new products, but Ford bucked tradition and decided it was better off without Mercury. What I like about the move is that Ford no longer has to compromise the Ford brand to differentiate Mercury. This allows Ford to make the best vehicles possible. They'll get there with Lincoln too.

    Keeping Buick prevents Chevy from making their best vehicles because they don't want to infringe on Buick. Likewise Cadillac loses good entry level vehicles. You end up with 3 mediocre brands instead of 2 great ones.

    And please explain GMC. There is no way you can defend keeping a 2nd truck brand with nothing but Chevy truck clones. Even Ford never did that.

    My issue is GM could be doing so much better with just Chevy and Cadillac. Until a year ago the only successful Caddy was the CTS sedan. The new SRX, wagon and coupe CTS just came out.

    As for sales - GM sold 194K in June, Ford sold 170K. I'm guessing GM had more fleet sales and higher incentives but I don't have those figures. And that's without the new Fiesta and Explorer and redesigned Focus all due within the next 6 months or so not to mention new F150 drivetrains.

    So Ford sold 88% of GM's volume with half the employees. Ford made almost $5B profit the first half of 2010 - without any government help or loans. How did GM do with assistance?

    I can't believe you even mentioned Chrysler as any type of good example. They're even worse than GM.

    I want to see GM compete with Toyota, Ford, Honda and Nissan. And I don't think they can do it with 4 overlapping and redundant brands.
  • themacguythemacguy Posts: 417
    excellent post! lincoln should have built the mark 9 (i'd have skipped one and called it the 10 though), out of the LS, with a 2 door. it wasn't car of the year in 2000 for nothing. we bought one of the last v-8 LS models, and it's been a good car through 50k now, and it's a keeper (like forever). little wizzy widget stuff that's normal has been a niggling complaint, but no problems on the power delivery. i don't care for the long distance lack of comfort in the seats though. what's up with that?
    i was brought up in a lincoln family, starting out in 72, then on to our first mark in 77, then t my dad's last one in 81-82 (bill blass model, which i've kept with only 60k on it). back then you either were lusting after cadillacs and lincolns. we wisely chose lincolns.
    anyway, marketing types always screw things up, and ford had plenty of that to go around over the last coupla decades. what i think will happen, thanks to ford not having taken bailout money due to all the family heirs' involvement, is that they'll come out of all this MUCH stronger than gm (cadillac). if they use there cachet wisely, then we're in for some fun in about 3-4 years. they need to flush some of the stuff they're shoving at us now - lack of sales will do that. then they'll be moving folks into position that are CAR people in order to save it. cadillac did this about 10 years ago. ford did it with the mustang group as well.
    look at how long gm was in the doldrums with both cadillac and the corvettes (i've owned a bunch of them over the years), now building some spectacular performance cars with both of them. ford can, and likely WILL do the same thing with lincoln.

    you don't ever want to lose your halo cars...

    jack b :-) in midland, tx usa
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Ok, you are right. Three mediocre brands instead of two great ones. Yes, Chevy is mediocre what with not one but TWO Fiesta competitors in the pipeline, the Cruze to go against the Focus, the all new Malibu in 2012 (and the current one ain't bad at all), the Traverse (which is trouncing the Flex), Equinox, the Tahoe, the Suburban, the Camaro, the Volt, the new Silverado Heavy Duty. All crap. Nobody apparently seems to like or buy the new Buicks. Nobody buys or seems to want the GMC brand. And Cadillac is no doubt mediocre. Further, Cadillac errs bigtime, I guess, by not wanting to have cars starting at $28K in their lineup. Nope. Allen has it right. Everyone should use Ford's model or admit they have indefensible game plans. I stand corrected.
  • speculatorspeculator Posts: 116
    I agree with much that you have written. Lincoln could have Introduced a modified MKR concept vehicle using the Mustang platform with modifying it to have an IRS. It could have used many of the Mustangs V 8 power plants as optional packages.The 5.4 litre supercharged V8 would have been a great package with optional awd. They could have also have used a variant of the MKR platform on its higher end Mustangs. They also would have had a new rwd police vehicle. But instead ,Ford decided to go with the FWD MKS.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    Ok, forget the cars for a minute - how do you justify GMC?

    It's not about sales volume. GM was #1 and needed a bailout to survive.

    Why is Ford making so much more profit on fewer sales with half as many employees?

    GM does finally have decent products - some better than Ford, some not. But until they stop acting like they have 50% market share and get serious about cutting overhead they'll continue to struggle.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    That is easy to do when you have the highest incentives and fleet sales month after month. GM will never be able to compete with the import brands if they continue to have the highest incentives and highest percent of fleet sales. Those two things need to change. Sad thing is when GM loyalist make excuses why its okay. They just don't get it's not. Hyundai has the largest fleet sales/incentives of the import brands I believe and they could go to lower those things as well.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Excellent post. Couldn't agree with you more. After growing up and having GM products for over 25 years, and finally seeing the light several years ago, GM still doesn't get it. The Volt's pricing just proves that to me even more. GM doesn't understand that times have changed since all those decades ago. I mean, its good that they streamed line their company but I still think they could do more.

    I tend to agree with you about GMC being rebadged Chevy's. Personally, I never saw the differences but I know a few people personally with small businesses who use pick-ups and they say there is a difference between Chevy and GMC so who knows.

    Buick was a mistake to keep here. I don't care how well it does in China. Here, it will always be a poor man's Caddy. Almost every Enclave at my local GM dealer has between 45-50k on the window sticker. No thanks, I'll be in a Caddy before ever paying that for a Buick. They could have scrapped the 3 models from Buick all together and just added one new entry-level model at Caddy that started around 27-28k and that would have been good enough.

    I understand GM getting rid of Pontiac b/c they were just rebadged Chevy's but they should have kept them and completely did 4-5 distinct sport models that could have competed with Scion, Mazda, Nissan, etc. They didn't need two luxury divisions, a poor's man's pretend luxury (Buick) and a real luxury division (Caddy).

    Hopefully with Mercury going by-by, Ford now will be able to spend a lot money and attention on Lincoln which it is in bad need of. Ford is making better decisions still then GM.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    "Here, it will always be a poor man's Caddy."

    While I originally thought they should do away with Buick, maybe a "poor man's Caddy" will sell well here, too...

    As far as Mercury, I see no reason for it to survive...aside from a slightly different dashboard and taillights, they are identical to Ford...OK, one exception...the Mercury Marauder had the 300 HP 4.6L, while my Crown Vic and the standard Grand Marq had the 239 HP 4.6L engine...
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,338
    a newly crafted/designed Town Car. 300 h.p. and seats 6 with 4 doors???
  • brucelincbrucelinc Posts: 814
    Probably not reasonable but how about an MKT with 355 HP, seating for 7 and 4 doors?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    I do expect Lincoln to have a flagship sedan in a few years but it would be more like a Mercedes S class or Lexus LS than a Town Car.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    edited August 2010
    Now the news is that the MKT, like the Ford Flex, will be going away in 2013. No second iteration for either one of these relatively new efforts. Ford has had no luck lately with these people movers/minivans/CUV-like wagons. Neither the Freestar or Freestyle caught on. The Taurus X was no better sales-wise. The Flex has largely been a sales flop too. Not that any of these were/are not good vehicles, but they have not been able to catch the wave of some of the competition.

    The 2011 Explorer has its work cut out for it. This former sales leader has been dying on the vine for years, and it is still another (heavily reworked) iteration of the the Freestyle/Taurus X/new Taurus. It is longer and wider than the 2010 Explorer, yet if anything looks a bit more compact, and the third seat is in fact less roomy. Starting at around $30K may work against it, especially when given an obvious competitor, the new Kia Sorento (former rear wheel drive body on frame, now front-drive based unitized) costs so much less to start.

    I keep hoping Ford knows what it is doing here, but meanwhile (to get back to the thread topic), the prediction is for an Explorer-based vehicle for Lincoln. We have lately seen how that did not work for the MKT, which went from polarizing, but eye-catching concept to a long, relatively dowdy wagon. I keep thinking those incessant focus groups are carefully rejecting the very features that would make any vehicle a real standout in the marketplace.

    Anyway, I am just wondering...do you think a vehicles like the 2011 Sonata or Kia Soul or the new Mini were focus-grouped to death before coming to market? I don't know, but I don't think so. Heck, I don't know if the Explorer America concept would have sold well (I think it would have, but what do I know?), but the 2011 Explorer, with its awkward details (nice interior though), bears no relationship to the concept.

    We will never know what Ford could have done with the 427 sedan concept, or the 2002 Continental concept or the NaviCross for Lincoln, but we should know by now that carefully dumbed down things like the Five Hundred, the 2008 Taurus, the MKS, the MKZ, the cool Fairlane concept turned into the too-long, too expensive Flex...such efforts don't really work out. Thank goodness for the F150, the Mustang, and now the Fiesta. But what does Lincoln have that will light a fire in the salesroom? Nothing, even though all their vehicles are decent efforts.

    I am sad that the MKT is such a dud. I had such hopes for it when I saw it in concept. In real life, it compares very well with competitors like the Audi, but so what if the buying public doesn't see it? The Aviator concept that preceded the MKX was the same way. The significant details lost in preparing it for market lost the attention-getting part that the 2011 Sonata found. Yes, sweat the details that have nothing to do with looks (Hyundai is doing that now), and then give it the looks too.

    Ford is on a roll with the F150, Mustang, Fiesta, Fusion, and probably the 2012 Focus (though the competition in this class is really heating up next year). Lincoln has no standouts. None. I hope whoever approved the MKS design many years ago now (we shouldn't count the MKZ, a stop gap effort after Bill Ford actively tried to starve Lincoln), has gotten the boot. Caution has been nothing more than wasting precious resources. Following will not keep this boat afloat. Meeting the competition will not keep this boat afloat. The world does not need Lincoln. Lincoln needs to pull a 1961 and blow everything out of the water.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    That story was bogus. Ford is actually working on a Flex refresh that insiders say is stunning (whatever that means) and the MKT won't go away until they have a better replacement. The market that the MKT competes in is small anyway so it will never have huge numbers. But both have high ATPs and the Flex has high conquest rates so they're still valuable.

    I don't disagree with the state of current Lincoln products, but I just don't understand your lack of faith in future Lincoln products. You seem to think Ford needs to be GM to compete which I REALLY don't understand given their financial performances to date.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I don't think Ford needs to be GM. You seem to think GM needs to be Ford. Under the circumstances, I think they are both fine with the plans they have adopted, given their respective situations.

    Yes, I do question why I should have faith in future Lincoln products. The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln. The MKT was supposed to be a solid effort from the newestLincoln thinking. There is no reason Ford could not hire the talent to make Lincoln a competive division. But something isn't translating in the process. I don't know what the problem is at this point, but they need to fix it. They do not have unlimited time in which to keep missing the mark.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln.

    The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been like trying to restart a cardiac arrest victim's heart with a foot of telephone wire and a AAA battery.

    THIS is what Lincoln once again needs to be!

    image
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,724
    The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln. The MKT was supposed to be a solid effort from the newestLincoln thinking. There is no reason Ford could not hire the talent to make Lincoln a competive division. But something isn't translating in the process. I don't know what the problem is at this point, but they need to fix it. They do not have unlimited time in which to keep missing the mark.

    Ford made $5B the first half of 2010 and there is no reason to think they'll earn any less in the 2nd half with the Fiesta hitting full stride. They're making so much money now that they're paying down debt in huge chunks. And they're able to do this while still investing heavily in new vehicles. So please explain to me why Lincoln is in so much danger and can't take 2-3 years to get its act together like Ford did with the Ford brand? Unless Ford starts losing money again (which seems impossible at this point) then I don't see the problem.

    The MKT is the only clean sheet Lincoln at this point. The exterior is questionable and it's in a very small market segment so it's hard to judge it based on sales volume. The MKS and MKZ are still holdovers with only minor tweaks done in the last 2 years - they're nowhere near their potential once they get a clean sheet design. The Navigator will only be a niche product now (as are all full sized SUVs) but has to wait for a new F150 based platform along with the Expedition - can't justify a unique platform for such small sales potential.

    The MKX is the closest thing to a clean sheet design from Lincoln other than the MKT but it still must share a greenhouse with the Edge until the full redesign (this was just a mid cycle refresh). But the new interior is stunning and blows away the SRX especially with MyTouch and other features as do the drivetrains. Exterior styling is a draw - I like both. But I think the MKX also has more interior room. We'll have to wait and see how it sells compared to the SRX.

    Let's count the Cadillac duds in the interest of full disclosure:

    Escalade EXT
    XLR
    DTS
    STS
    first gen CTS
    first gen SRX

    The next gen Lincolns will have no excuses - they're fully funded now and with Mercury (and Volvo and Jag and AM and LR) out of the way there should be no excuses.

    You really can't judge Lincoln on what it's done so far - the question is what does it do now that it's getting the attention, funding and resources that it's been lacking for years.

    GM is "getting by" with lots of fleet sales and huge incentives. Ford is making money hand over fist with half the brands, only slightly lower sales volumes, half the employees, lower incentives and fewer fleet sales.

    Ford fundamentally changed how they do business. GM has not.
    Ford is building one vehicle that can be sold globally with minor variations. GM is taking Opels and putting Buick badges on them (again).

    I'm still waiting for you to explain the business rationale for keeping GMC. That to me is the single most glaring evidence that GM still doesn't get it.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    " In real life, it compares very well with competitors like the Audi, but so what if the buying public doesn't see it?"

    And there's the rub...if the buying public does not see it or does not want it, it dies...

    I always thought that the Lincoln LS was a beautiful, understated car, that was well made (never had one)...yet, just today in conversation about cars, one guy mentioned he had a friend who owned an LS that was pure junk...he referred to things like, "if she was lucky enought to have it start and run, she could go to work that day" and "it spent more time at the dealer..."...

    Maybe it was only that one car, but it was not what I was expecting to hear about the LS...
  • brucelincbrucelinc Posts: 814
    The 2000 - 2002 LSs had a number of issues, but as far as I know from 2003 on up they were pretty good. I know of a number of people who had early LSs who basically swore off Lincoln forever. Some because of problems and others because Lincoln abandoned the sport sedan segment, altogether.

    The Aviator had some engine problems, too, and that has not helped Lincoln's reputation. Of course, at least one poster here had an early LS and an Aviator but I don't think he has given up on Lincoln. ;)

    In my opinion, today's Lincoln products, MKS, MKX and MKT in particular, are far better than they are given credit for. The image of the brand is very tarnished, however. I don't know of many people who would aspire to own a Lincoln. While the current products are good, they just aren't distinctive or special enough to overcome the boring, stodgy, "just a gussied up Ford" image. The XYZ naming has been a source of confusion, too.
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