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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    True, but Cadillac sales are 1/2 what they were in 1976. It's a long road back.

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    edited July 2013
    very true, but they are on that road. it is also true that there are more luxury brands vying in a big way for the luxury market than there were back in the 1970s.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    I don't see Cadillac ever coming back to its former glory but I do see it surviving. The only Cadillac that younger people seem to be buying is the Escalade, which is a very dated platform. Cadillac still has the most aged population vs. Lexus, Mercedes and especially Audi, which attracts a much younger buyer.

    But considering how GM drove Cadillac into a ditch, they are doing pretty well. It takes a much longer time to restore a reputation than it took to destroy it. So Cadillac went downhill for a good 20 years and it'll take at least that to come back.

    Let's see how they look in 2020, then maybe I'll change my mind.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    What? I've been buying new Cadillacs since I was 24! My first new Cadillac was the 1989 Brougham I still own. I followed it up with a 1994 DeVille, a 2002 Seville STS, and my current 2007 DTS Performance. I'm waiting for them to put out a true S-Class competitor before I buy again. I see the XTS as a stop-gap model until then.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    Well you are way outside the statistical average. Cadillac owners' average age is about...something like 56-58

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,956
    Escalade sales have gone through the floor, that bloated sled is too tacky and obese even for most Muricans. I suspect the younger buyers are mostly in ATS and SRX.

    2020 is only 6.5 years away. 2030 might say even more. Took a quarter century to nearly kill it, should take the same to revive it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    SRX is popular with younger people, are are correct---but the Escalade still sells to the 40s crowd, amazing as that seems.

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  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Several former Escalade drivers I know, are now in Audi Q7s.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    Audi has *really* captured the youth market.

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,723
    Cadillac's problem isn't sales or individual vehicles but how much money GM has wasted on them the last decade with multiple platforms and big failures like the XLR. The ATS is nice but it only cannibalized CTS sales. Trying to copy BMW is an admirable engineering goal but a terrible business plan.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,228
    How do you see the future for Lincoln? For Tesla?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    edited July 2013
    Almost word for word usual Cadillac slam from you. Certainly they could have done things better at several junctures. However their sales are growing quickly and they are growing in China as well, where GM sells over four times as many cars as Ford does. For years now, you have been stating that we should give Lincoln a chance to re-structure. It seems obvious that part of the problem is Ford has not invested enough cash into the brand. Thus, it has stayed at the bottom of the sales ladderr. So go ahead and slam Cadillac and all of their profligate spending. But they have the sales lead, and a new CTS coming this fall. BMW did not get to the top by using a plan like Lincoln's. It is really all about what Lincoln aspires to be. If they want to be Acura or Buick, they are probably on the right course.

    BTW, speaking of sales cannibalization,isn't that exactly what the MKZ is doing to other Lincoln models, given that Lincoln sales are not growing since its introduction?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    For Lincoln? At the rate Ford is working the brand, I see a rather grim future for the marque. At least GM is trying to make Cadillac more distinctive in the public's eye (with only marginal success I might add, in that all of their models look too much the same). But at least GM "gets it"--that they have to do SOMETHING--Ford seems to be floundering around with Lincoln.

    Tesla---who knows on this one! My personal feeling, just from the gut, is that all full-electric cars are ultimately doomed. So my crystal ball says that Tesla will have to morph into something else, or else be content as a very small niche player catering to the luxury "toy" market ala Maserati, Aston Martin, Bentley, etc. However, the later choice is dangerous because it is very hard to make $$$ on low production in the car business, unless you remain pretty small (like Morgan).

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    The most successful luxury brands (BMW, Mercedes, Audi) all make their various models look like different sizes of each other. Audis are like a sausage that comes in three lengths, and consumers seem to like that. Family resemblance and a family look are especially valued in premium brands. Thus, even though many of us don't care much for the "arts and sciences" Cadillac look, it is a look, and it is instantly recognizable. They do stand out in a crowd too.

    Most reviews of the XTS look have been positive. The car itself is mechanically and dynamically no standout, but looks on the street it seems to have. I recently saw an XTS and MKS is close proximity parked. The eye immediately is drawn to the XTS, whereas the MKS either looks a bit too tall, or at best anonymous. It does not look like the money they charge for it. And other than the grills (which vary considerably still), Lincoln vehicles do not resemble one another at all in different sizes. Maybe the next MKS can begin a Lincoln look or styling trend for sedans. Hopefully the MKC will start a trend for the CUVs/SUVs in the family.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,282
    edited July 2013
    7 cars people buy again and again: What makes these models so popular (Interest.com)

    Specifically the 5th one on the list.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    I don't think anyone mistakes a BMW 3 series for a 6 or 7 series, or an A4 for an A8---but all Cadillacs seem to look exactly like each other, no matter what the price---the pricing ladder is not conspicuous.

    And the styling is either love it or hate it--

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,956
    I dunno, 5er vs SWB 7er can be tough these days, and A4 vs A6 or A6 vs A8 can also be tough from a distance - no better differentiated from Cadillacs. The CTS and ATS are somewhat similar, but XTS is much different.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    edited July 2013
    I guess what I mean is that the CTS and the XTS look like they cost the same amount of money, not that they don't look nice enough.

    So, okay Cadillac is hunting the E Class Mercedes...where does that leave Ford?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,956
    No more alike than the Audis and BMWs. The current 5er is very much like a 7, to the point where I think they share some structure. And the Audi "3 sizes" is true too, IMO. And it works for them.

    XTS has a rear quarter window the CTS doesn't have, different greenhouse. The front end is similar, but that's art and science. ATS is more similar to CTS, but noticeably smaller.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Today's Lincolns would make nice Mercuries. They are hardly Lincolns as I once knew them!
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    I guess what I mean is that the CTS and the XTS look like they cost the same amount of money, not that they don't look nice enough.

    Well, that is different. Certainly, the CTS and XTS would not be mistaken for one another. They do in fact have a lot of overlap in price, and that will be even more true with the 2014 CTS. What you have is different strokes for different folks. XTS will satisfy some former DTS owners, plus some new buyers who want room, features and don't care which wheels power their car. The new CTS will be more competitive with the European brands, and noticeably larger than the ATS (and current CTS).

    This will all be sorted out better when Cadillac brings out its RWD large sedan in 2016. Meanwhile, they might just keep the XTS around for those who prefer front drive, and a less expensive large luxury car.

    AFAIK, Lincoln will soldier on with just two sedans for the next few years. This could work if the MKS is significantly improved and soon, and the CUVs/SUVs all are revamped following the MKC. They will not catch Cadillac again--not to mention Audi, Mercedes and BMW, all of which offer a ton of different models--until such time as they can greatly expand their line-up.

    Meanwhile, they should set their sights on competing with Chrysler (a brand with plans to move upmarket), Acura, and Buick. All these marques have smaller model offerings and are vulnerable to the vagaries of preference at least here in the US.

    Lincoln also needs to form a presence elsewhere. GM is beginning to sell more cars in China that in all of the US, and Asian markets will continue to grow as the mature US market remains at approximately the same level.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    Lincoln hasn't had a strong presence in buyers' minds since the 1960s. That's a long time for a car brand to go unnoticed.

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  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,109
    I agree. And this review of the new MKZ will undoubtedly not help much. It is a real slam against the car, and some of the comments are interesting too. Apparently owners of 2012-earlier models like theirs better than the new car! Not good.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/capsule-review-2013-lincoln-mkz/

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  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Lincoln actually had its best sales years in the late 90s and first couple years of the 2000s. They outsold Cadillac. But that is still a long time ago. The Navigator started the barrage of SUV luxury vehicles. They owned that market for a few years until credible competition came along and Navi updates fell behind. The Town Car had a good reputation, but died of neglect. The LS sold very well for a couple of years. So Lincoln was relevant well beyond the 60s, but has been struggling to find relevancy with little success these past 12 years.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,266
    The Town Car had a reputation as a livery automobile. Lincoln may have sold well, but so do corn dogs and Kias.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196
    Livery or not, I still want one and would take it over ANY of Lincoln's current offerings!
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    The Town Car of course was a livery automobile, and very good at it. People who were picked up in one did feel special. However, until about 8-10 years ago, lots of consumers of luxury cars also saw it as desirable, and bought them in great numbers.

    After about 2003, the platform was no longer competitive with other luxury brands, and Lincoln failed to renew it properly. They did dumb stuff, and actually cheapened it, trying to stretch out sales without any significant investment. A Town Car used to be something. For the last years of its run, it was livery sales and really elderly people who had not driven anything else.

    The 1996 Town Car for example was light years better than the pretty 1966. But the 2006 was arguably struggling to be as good as the 1996, and far more similar to the Grand Marquis than the 1996 ever was. Lincoln began to lose their way even as their sales peaked in about 1998. It took a few more years to play out the mediocrity.

    Bill Ford was responsible for much of the decline, not even letting Lincoln be a full member of the Premier Auto Group. And then Ford set about screwing up those brands, thinking they could just buy prestige and push whatever products (e.g., Type X) with those brand names.

    It is interesting that all of the PAG brands that Ford unloaded at fire sale prices (Aston Martin, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover) have been able to survive and remake themselves, despite the huge uphill battles. None of them are out of the woods, but all have really interesting new products and collaborations, and none of them went the way of Saab. Mazda is now better too, what with the new 6, the CX-5 and the 2014 3.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,282
    Guess they didn't get that memo.

    "J Mays, Ford’s design chief, said the company’s focus on rebuilding Lincoln has only just begun — and that Lincoln’s reinvention could take a decade.

    “No, we’re not true luxury,” Mays said Tuesday following an event at the automaker’s Dearborn campus. “We’re in an investment stage with Lincoln. We’ve probably got a 10-year investment to make.”

    Ford exec: Lincoln 'not true luxury' brand yet (Detroit News)

    Interesting quote here:

    "Most luxury brands today aren’t luxury brands,” Hall said. “They’ve become luxury-branded products."

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  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,723
    I don't see it as an apology but simply a realistic statement of where they are in the journey and to remind people that it's a long journey not an afternoon stroll.

    And that last comment was not from a Ford employee.

    The term luxury doesn't really matter - what matters is building cars people want to buy and if you can do that at $60K or more each that's even better.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,282
    One of the comments noted that all cars are the "same" underneath, and luxury buyers were simply buying the brand.

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