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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I don't understand why Lexus can be successful selling the ES and RX which use shared FWD Toyota platforms but Lincoln has no hope of being successful doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING with shared Ford platforms.

    I agree - and I get so tired of this "shared platform"
    BS everybody pins to Ford as if they're the only manufacturer that has EVER done it. Why is that? No big deal if VW does it, Toyota, fine. GM, way of life, but ok. Chrysler? Sure! Put those Challengers on the 300 platform, which is an E class platform, no problem. But Ford? HERESY!

    Why is that? I'm tired of it. Not talking re-badging here, that's a totally different thing.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,306
    edited April 2013
    Lincoln has been looking for a theme, but hasn't got one yet. First, they put grilles on the MKX and Navigator that are supposed to remind us of the 61 Continental, but remind me of a Remington shaver. Then, they tried the 41 Continental look, but made it ghastly big. Pretty ghastly anyway.

    Nicely put. This is what happens when a committee tries to design a car. Is there an actual car guy anywhere in sight, or is the whole place run by accountants? Allen continues to point to the financials, and I don't doubt that he (and they) are right, but where's the passion?

    The LS created it, but that was a decade and a half ago. I don't see it anymore. Maybe Viagra and Lincoln can team up -- imagine the commercials. :D
  • berriberri Posts: 4,254
    edited April 2013
    Sometimes I think Lincoln may often be just a bit too conservative in styling and gimmicks to differentiate it's products from Ford. Personally, when I looked at them at the auto show this year, they were pleasant enough, but I'd have to say I'm not sure I saw $20K difference in them and that may affect their lower resale values? I think Cadillac has done a better job in that respect. But then there is also some snob appeal and status to Lexus or a German make that can give them a "perceived" advantage I suppose. I also think Lincoln has bounced around for decades between lux and near lux which confuses it's image. It won't do volume, but maybe they need to bring in a coupe and/or convertible Mark to get some attention back?
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,741
    They hired the passion a couple of years ago named Max Wolff. But it takes time to turn that passion into products. Some people aren't patient enough to wait and see what happens.

    Lincoln is charging more of a premium than I think they can probably justify right now but I think they're doing it on purpose. They're trying to generate maximum profits on smaller volumes and prevent Lincoln from turning into a bargain hunter's brand which will help if/when they get 6 or 7 really good vehicles out the door in a few years. They're also still trying to cull the dealer herd.

    People expect a complete turnaround in 1-2 years and that's not reasonable or sustainable.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    People expect a complete turnaround in 1-2 years and that's not reasonable or sustainable.

    I understand that, and I agree. I think the problem with the patience may be that those of us who were Lincoln fans, back in the glory day-90s, have been waiting a long time for a Lincoln they can get excited about, and be proud of again. It's going to take time, but from the customer or Lincolnophile like I was, it's been forever. I keep hoping!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    Did you ever see the Lincoln commercial where a 1990s Town Car morphs into a new MK-Z? Heck, I much prefer the old car! I feel bad for the Town Car turning into that puny amorphous blob. It's like seeing somebody graffiti tag the "Last Supper."
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,977
    I understand that, and I agree. I think the problem with the patience may be that those of us who were Lincoln fans, back in the glory day-90s, have been waiting a long time for a Lincoln they can get excited about, and be proud of again.

    But are those the people that Lincoln wants in their showrooms? Town Car and Continental owners from the 90's are aging and IMHO, not who Lincoln wants or needs to attract.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    An interesting opinion piece. I certainly don't agree with all of it, but the gist is sound and it lays out without much spin what Lincoln is up against.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/09/lincoln-needs-a-farewell-address-not-a-new-ma- rketing-plan/

    Lincoln cannot survive by making comfortable, quiet, and well-equipped vehicles. Mainstream vehicles have moved into that territory in a big way. That will continue. This "you can't expect Lincoln to turn around in 1-2 years," is of course true, but beside the point. It has been years and years that Lincoln has been mucking around with different plans. Lincoln started attempting its turnaround way back with the MKS. Then the MKT was to be the first true "new" Lincoln. Now, the MKZ, which is a nice car, but nothing special. The MKC looks competitive, but nothing about it suggests a game changer.

    Cadillac may be spending gobs of money on their new designs, but they understand this may be necessary to survive long-term. Their sales continue to increase and their reputation is growing bit by bit.

    Remember that there is a lot of profit in premium cars, so even if they are not making money like Audi or BMW, they have some room to maneuver and innovate. I don't like Cadillac design, but I give them credit for not being premium Chevrolets. The new CTS looks to be a winner. Several other new models are in the pipeline.

    Premium cars represent a small percentage of overall sales, but generate 50% of company profits. Ford has other options besides the track they are taking right now with Lincoln. Surely, the worst sales figures in decades are not generating any real return on the dollars spent so far on the brand.

    They could dump Lincoln and Ford would be ok, at least for quite awhile. Or they could dump the current Lincoln lineup and start again slowly like Lexus did, with models that actually test out toward the top of their segments. Or they could do other creative things that I am not smart enough to think up. This botch of the "2013" MKZ roll-out seems to be emblematic of what is wrong: they have still not committed the necessary resources to make the brand relevant again.

    Ford keeps adding more staff to the team, and testing if the effort is now enough. Enough effort and investment to make the best cars in their segments would be one rational (if expensive) way to gauge this. Then, if Lincoln still does not rebound, it will be time to re-think the whole deal.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,306
    edited April 2013
    . . .and start again slowly like Lexus did, with models that actually test out toward the top of their segments.

    Well, as I recall, Lexus had the advantage of delivering a near-equivalent vehicle at a much lower price, relative to Merc & others. "All" they had to do was convince the old-school luxury drivers that Lexus was worthy to play in the sandbox. That's a much easier sell if your vehicle is high-content, selling for thousands less. Infinity was trying to do the same thing at the time.

    I'm not at all sure how any of that relates to today's Lincoln situation.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,341
    as the MKS when trying out the interior. If you like gloom dark interiors, fine, but the MKS presentation is more to our liking. I don't know what content is obtained in the $10,000 one spends to buy the tarted up Taurus, but the MKS has a far superior ride as to comfort & road noise.

    It came down to buying a brand new SHO or a Certified 2011 MKS Ecoboost with 7700 miles that has all the goodies including the Cashmere leather interior. We paid $34,995 for the MKS last August. The MSRP was $55,305. :)
  • berriberri Posts: 4,254
    I think you bought American lux the smart way, you rode their steep depreciation curve. Near new, low miles and huge discount.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    And that's how one should buy a fancy American car, or really, any fancy car.

    You should make a belated post on the chronic car buyers thread :shades:
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    And now for the counterpoint...from someone other than Allen :P

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/lincoln-can-and-will-come-back/
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    I don't know how Lincoln fits into the "new" One Ford philosophy, but I did want to share one reader's reaction to the re-introduction of the Escort nameplate in China:

    And while we’re at it, lets ask this:

    How does the F-150 fit into One Ford?
    How does the Super Duty fit into One Ford?
    How does the Edge/MKEdge fit into One Ford?
    How does the Flex/MKFlex fit into One Ford?
    How does the Expedition/MKExpedition fit into One Ford?
    How does the Explorer fit into One Ford?

    How does the global Ranger that we’re stupidly not getting fit into One Ford?

    The whole idea of One Ford is a massive joke. You cannot have the same vehicles for every market all over the world. It just doesn’t work.
    __________________________________________________________

    I don't know if I agree with the above massive joke comment, but I do wonder if the new Escort could be morphed into a small Lincoln sedan with good rear legroom/
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,741
    I know that wasn't your comment but what a stupid thing to say. One Ford means not building duplicate vehicles and platforms in different regions. Fusion/Mondeo, Focus, Fiesta, Escape/Kuga, C-Max, Transit Connect, Transit are good examples - one platform, one vehicle, multiple continents.

    OTOH F150, SuperDuty, Mustang, Expedition, Explorer and Edge are primarily North American vehicles - they don't have similar vehicles being produced and sold in other areas of the world.

    Ranger is a ROW (rest of world) vehicle. There is only one Ranger worldwide, one F150 and one Superduty worldwide.

    One Ford is nothing more than saying we don't want to duplicate vehicles, platforms or functions unnecessarily.

    E.g. A U.S. Ranger and ROW Ranger. A U.S. Focus and Euro Focus. Euro Transit van and U.S. E-series.

    As for One Ford/Global vehicles not working - the Focus was the best selling vehicle in the world.

    Sorry, but you know I can't stand inaccuracies.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,311
    edited April 2013
    To China, according to this evening's PBS News. That'll be interesting. How many Chinese luxury car buyers will choose Lincoln over BMW, M-B, Audi and Cadillac?

    Maybe Lincolns will be priced to compete with the Buick models in the entry level luxury segment, but Buicks have a lot of cache' in China. I think they sell more than three times as many Buicks in China as in the U.S.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    ...shows some 1920s model, then a 1941 Continental, then a 1956-57 Continental Mark II, then jumps right to the current MKZ. You mean there was NOTHING Lincoln produced between 1957 to the present day that was worthy of showing in the commercial? I'd have at least included the super-classy 1961-65 Continental. The MKZ can't hold a candle to any of it's predecessors shown in that commercial, or most of the cars excluded.

    Heck, if I did the commercial the cars would be:

    1930s Model K
    1936 Zephyr
    1941 Continental
    1953 Panamerica racer
    1956-57 Continental Mark II
    1961 Continental
    1968 Mark III
    1986 Town Car
    1990 Town Car
    1990s LS
    Present Day

    Mercedes does retrospective commercials the best.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    They could probably even get away with a properly equipped Mark IV or V, just don't make it look too pimpy. Of course, their recent ad distances themselves from an 80s Town Car, so I doubt they'd do it. With the hipster ideal being so strong, many younger people might think a slightly baroque older car as kind of retro-cool, so it might not be something to hide from, if done right.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    edited April 2013
    "But are those the people that Lincoln wants in their showrooms? Town Car and Continental owners from the 90's are aging and IMHO, not who Lincoln wants or needs to attract."

    Everyone always says that - but, old people have money, and they make more old people every day. There is an endless supply of old people. Why don't marketing people ever acknowledge that? It's working for Buick just fine. Geezers are a niche - someone ought to market to them.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    edited April 2013
    I can hardly be considered a geezer and I'd prefer a Town Car over any of Lincoln's current offereings. It's an insult to compare the MKZ to a 1941 Continental or a 1956-57 Mark II. Not everybody wants a "Eurosedan." Heck, if that's what I wanted, I'd be looking at a Mercedes or BMW. Why not get the real thing instead of a wannabe? As Lincoln stands, it already has two formidable and more competent competitors in Buick and Lexus.

    Lincoln: What a Mercury Should Be
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,977
    Everyone always says that - but, old people have money, and they make more old people every day.

    The problem is most of the old people they are making today have driven Japanese and European cars for the last 30 years. Why would they buy a Town Car today instead of an E Class or 5 Series? The ride on those have softened up over the years - just like the old people they make today.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,977
    I can hardly be considered a geezer and I'd prefer a Town Car over any of Lincoln's current offereings.

    You're an aberration though.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,741
    The problem is most Town Car and Crown Vic/Grand Marquis buyers bought them used, not new. Ford doesn't make any money off used vehicles.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,618
    > Geezers are a niche - someone ought to market to them.

    Tricky though since we don't want to be identified at oldsters. I think that's why lots of us in the over 60 crowd like xDs and Souls.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    Town Cars and Grand Marquises are AWESOME BARGAINS used. You get a lotta car for little money! I certainly don't like any of Lincoln's current offerings and buying used doesn't even make them more attractive. I don't want them at any price. There are far better cars both new and used. I'll take a new or used Chrysler 300 over anything Lincoln has to offer.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Yes, there will be an endless supply of geezers. However, the geezers who prefer Town Cars and Buick LeSabres and Lucernes are dying off rapidly. Those coming behind them never liked those types of cars and will still prefer upgraded versions of cars they drove when middle-aged.

    The Panther architecture had its meriits, but dynamically and technologically has been left far behind. Even some basic equipment on current mid-size cars is not there. Plus, the structure is very creaky, not the stuff that luxury feels like. Interior finishing sucks. It had its time.

    Buick has already moved on. Lucernes are gone, not to be replaced. The coming flagship Riveria sedan is nothing like a Lucerne. All Buick models have become more relevant and even youthful. They are selling well in the US again, but their biggest and most important market is China, where they are not seen as an old man's car at all. (Mind you, I say all this as an old man.)

    Lincoln is going to have to throw a lot more money into the ring in order to be a player again some time. Cadillac has already found how expensive it can be to claw one's way back from mediocre. But they are doing it, and it will likely pay off, as Cadillacs are not perceived as dolled-up Chevys, and premium cars see huge profits compared to what is made on a mainstream brand.

    I think it would be great if Lincoln could eventually field a roomy RWD sedan with a bit of handling prowess. It would be more space efficient than the yachts of old with their useless exaggerated front and rear overhangs, but it could still be stately. Everything the MKS (tall, bulbous, not expensive looking, and not particularly roomy, given its height) is not.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,618
    "Both Ms. Krebs and Mr. Phillippi said that most Lincoln customers would probably never know the automaker hadn’t delivered the MKZ on time, but that reinventing the Lincoln brand would require a continuing effort.

    “They have to be in it for the long haul,” Ms. Krebs said. “They’ve been just totally in the doldrums. Luxury sales are up, and Lincoln is down.”

    A Troubled Introduction for a Crucial New Model (New York Times)

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,254
    Personally, from what I've seen it appears Lincoln's problem boils down to they're making Buick's at Cadillac prices.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,423
    Well said, berri.

    For Lincoln to succeed in the way that is intended, they actually have to essentially make Buicks at Cadillac prices, but which are nonetheless perceived to be Cadillacs.

    One reason premium vehicles are so profitable, is that they are usually no more than a little bit more refined than the class below them, but still command a significant price jump.

    A loaded Fusion Titanium for example has all the equipment and most of the refinement of a premium car. It's price necessarily also has to bump up against premium territory. To get the extra thousands of dollars of price jump for a true premium car, the perception of additional worth has to somehow be there.

    There is no such significant perceptual difference between a top of the line Taurus and a Lincoln MKS. Lincoln added a few twiddles and twaddles, plus a significant price jump, to a car that arguably is not as good looking as a Taurus and feels no more refined, and yet thought that this would work: selling a Buick at a Cadillac price.

    The new team seems to have gotten the memo now...there is little point to an MKS, unless people begin to perceive it as a Lincoln and not a Mercury or Ford with lipstick. Front and rear clip re-styles don't begin to address that. Let's see what they can do.

    I still don't think they can do much of anything to address perceptual change without gobs of money invested. But then I am not in charge, nor that smart to definitely know how to turn around a moribund brand.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,618
    "[T]he 2013 MKZ is a hopeful indication that Lincolns of the future will be stylistically removed from their Ford relatives. The MKZ is based on the Ford Fusion, but the cars share no body panels. Informal man-on-the-street consensus is that the MKZ looks great. But so does the Fusion and that, to me, points to the MKZ’s biggest problem: despite the distinctive bodywork, there remains a built-in sibling rivalry with Ford.

    What Lincoln needs is at least one car to call its own, one model that you can’t find on the Ford side of the lot — say, stretch the Mustang platform into a four-door coupe and give it a 400-horsepower EcoBoost V-6. Until a car like that arrives, the question attached to any Lincoln will be very simple: is this car different enough from its Ford twin?"

    The Secret Ingredient Is Ford Fusion (NY Times)

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