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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?



  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Aren't bad? Talk about damning with faint praise! No car out there today is all that bad anymore. Toyota is among the worst choices now, despite their continued strong sales. All the drek has gone the way of Mercury, and the worst car now is better than we have any right to expect.

    Lincolns are being discounted by the dealers (even if Ford is not putting cash on the hood) and still sales fall. If Ford intended for Lincoln to have low volume, high profit sales at this point, fine. But I don't think the plan was for Lincoln sales to fall from (already shrunk) 2010 to 2011. You can throw your little bombs at Gm (and after all, they asked for it), but incentives or not, they are now making a big profit. Having a much bigger presence (and reputation) in the world's largest car market (China) doesn't hurt their bottom line.

    You are right that people will take notice if a truly outstanding vehicle does come along. But no one is standing still. The plebeian rides and brands are beginning to rival the luxury marques. It is cut-throat out there. Cadillac, Chrysler, BMW, Audi, Infiniti, Hyundai (gulp! did that brand get in here??) are not standing still, or delaying improvements.

    Ford is sort of like Honda once was. Honda in the recent past was on top of the world. It ain't anymore. The products don't appeal nearly as much, and the attempts to remake Acura's early success have not been successful. The 2012 Civic, one of their biggest successes, looks to be a dud. Ford isn't producing duds yet, and willing, they won't start. But Lincolns are also-rans. Every model Lincoln has right now is not bad. None rise anywhere near the top.

    I would buy a Lincoln because I have a soft spot for a brand that produced in their times the '61 Continental, the Mark III, the 1990 Town Car, the Mark VII, the LS... But I am an old guy (though cool and flexible :blush: ), and guys like me are dying off. I don't give a rat's [non-permissible content removed] where the new 85 guys came from who are going to turn this brand around, and not make it another quasi-Acura. I want to see results. Mulally has been in there for many years now. He has made himself a fortune for a small country. Ford is practically down to one brand remaining. It is working now. I hope it works in cut-throat 2013.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,725
    I think future Lincoln's are going to have to be head turners to change a lot of buyer's perceptions. For far too long Lincoln's have just been gussied up Ford's. Heck, they even use the exact same engine, but cost thousands more. The Town Cars I rented drove pretty much the same as a Crown Vic. Some upgrade! That's probably why they became fleet queens.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    Ford made $20B last year before paying back $14B in debt. GM made $6B with no debt. At that rate in 2 years Ford will be debt free and making $20B+. GM will be lucky to make half that much. All the incentives are doing nothing more than pulling sales forward and eating into profits. Same old GM. 4 brands when they only need 2. Compare the Focus and Cruze - it's not even close.

    It's perfectly fair to criticize Lincolns current performance but it's not relevant. If they're still languishing in 3 years then that will be a concern.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    All 4 GM brands make great cars. Buick Regal looks and feels more luxurious than MKZ and costs less and it is just European Opel (which competes with Mondeo) with leather!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    Keeping Buick is forcing Chevy to stay cheap. It works but it's not optimal.

    And the current MKZ has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the new one. Those who've seen it say it looks like an Aston Martin.

    You guys just need a little patience. Lincoln only started the rebuilding process last year so you can focus on the current situation as much as you want but I still say it's irrelevant. Wait and see what they have in 2-3 years.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,054
    edited April 2011
    If they're still languishing in 3 years then that will be a concern.

    Isn't that pretty much what you were saying three years ago? If I had even less of a life than I do, I'd go back and look, then post the appropriate quotes, but. . .

    Either way, given enough 3-year chunks of time, many of us will have lost interest. . .or be dead.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    Huge difference between what Ford was doing with Lincoln 3-4 years ago and what it's doing now. There is even a rumor that GRWD is back and includes the mustang and at least one or two Lincoln models which should make you happy.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Oh, geez, Allen, you have been saying similar things for better than 3 years now. Admit you are an apologist for a brand that you love. Meanwhile, you attack GM at every turn. It is easy, because they are vulnerable, and made some huge mistakes. However, they have issued a whole lot of good product in the past 3 model years, and that is not any longer debatable. Furthermore, they are not the same old GM, in that their products are far superior to "old GM," and they stand behind them better as well. In some cases, they have built a better Ford: e.g., the new heavy duty Chevy truck out-accelerates, out pulls, and rides better than the Super Duty. As for them having four brands, rather than two, being a problem, that is your opinion for some reason, but there is nothing at all to back it up. All four brands have a better image and better sales than they did before. Ford took one path, and it is working well so far for the Ford brand. GM was beaten down even further--and they shed five brands--but now all four divisions are growing again.

    Even though I am a Ford guy, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. A bird in hand is always worth more than two in the bush, so while I hope that what Lincoln has in the pipeline has wow factor, it is not very meaningful until put up against the competition's proposed new models three or four years from now.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    Yep - I'm a Ford fanboi - no doubt about it. But this isn't blind faith - it's based on what I see happening behind the scenes and what the company's leadership has done the last 3 years.

    Ford just hired a team of 85 people dedicated to overseeing various pieces of the Lincoln turnaround plan. Half of them came from other luxury brands like Lexus and Audi. When has Ford done that before? They killed Mercury to focus everything on Lincoln. When did they do that before? They're requiring Lincoln dealers to provide better service and upgrade their showrooms to the tune of $1M or more. When did they do that before?

    You're looking at current products only. I'm looking at the execution of a business plan which takes time but to me it looks like they're doing all the right things AT THIS STAGE.

    It still remains to be seen how they execute on the products themselves but when insiders talk about global RWD platforms and designs that look like Aston Martins and unique features like electronically controlled suspensions - it gives me a lot of hope.

    My issue with GM isn't so much the products - although some things like the camaro interior just make you scratch your head - it's the total lack of leadership and a sound business plan.

    How does it possibly make sense to sell 3 different versions of essentially the same vehicle (Traverse/Acadia/Enclave) plus a new 4th version for Caddy? Meanwhile Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and VW do it with only 2 versions - high end and low end.

    You're looking at it from a consumer standpoint. I'm looking at it from a business standpoint and they're still a mess. Better than before, but not as good as they need to be. They're still trying to win market share at the expense of profit - which is what got Ford, GM and Chrysler into this mess to begin with. Ford learned. Chrysler seems to have gotten the message. GM only went halfway. The fact that they can't keep a CEO should tell you something.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    First of all, Camaro is outselling Mustang, even with that interior you hate. Secondly, what is the big difference between having either two or three versions of "essentially the same vehicle?" Taurus and MKS are essentially the same vehicle. Fusion and MKZ are essentially the same vehicle. Expedition and Navigator are essentially the same vehicle. Edge and MKX are essentially the same vehicle. Traverse/Acadia/Enclave are essentially the same vehicle. So, like GM's mistake was to have three and not two?? Traverse/Acadia/Enclave are all selling well. Meanwhile the Lincoln versions of Ford's "essentially the same vehicle" are selling squat. So is your argument about two v. three. Having two hasn't added a damned thing to Ford's bottom line.

    I've seen the spy photos of the new MKZ. IMHO, it looks sort of Audi-esque in a Lincoln new-grill sort of way. It will be pretty and may sell better than the current forgotten MKZ. That of course remains to be seen. Audi, btw, has offered an electronically controlled suspension for years. Not that it has gotten any good press, and apparently wouldn't deserve it anyway. As for Lincoln, how about a fine looking car that has better power, mpg, quiet and handling than the direct competition? Build it, I say.

    I am reminded of the trouble Suzuki has encountered here (they go like gangbusters in Asia). Kizashi came along and is one of the best mid-sizers to appear in 2010, but it is apparently too little too late. Sales are in the toilet.

    So I will cheer this crack Lincoln team on too, and hope they have the cojones to take some real risks (no focus group crap). But please lay off on the negative lobs toward GM. It is just sour grapes, as this screwed up company is issuing a lot of good stuff now. Ford needs to have some strong domestic competition. Four divisions are working for GM now. One division is working for Ford. With luck and a lot of skill on the part of the team you describe, maybe two will.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    It's not 2 vs. 3 - it's 2 vs. 4 when you throw in the new Caddy version. When Ford killed Mercury everyone said sales would fall because people wanted more choices and Mercury buyers wouldn't buy Fords. Last month proved that theory dead wrong. If Ford can sell more vehicles with 2 brands and low incentives than GM does with 4 brands and big incentives - which one makes more money?

    Hyundai and VW both proved you can't sell $15K cars and $50K cars under the same brand. You need 2 brands as evidenced by almost every other major full-line car mfr. GM should kill Buick and GMC and compete with Chevy and Cadillac. It would drastically lower their cost structure.

    You're the one who complained the loudest about the MKZ, MKX and MKS being too close to the Fusion, Edge and Taurus respectively and I agree with you regarding the current models. But Lincoln is fixing that by giving all Lincolns totally unique styling, sheet metal, interiors, features and drivetrains. They won't share anything with Fords except things you can't see.

    In other words - Lincoln is attempting to do everything you've said they should do. So I don't understand why you're so skeptical about Ford and why you're so adamant about defending GM. The numbers (sales, incentive spending, profits, inventory days, etc.) don't lie.

    As for the Camaro - it's barely outselling the mustang now. If GM has higher incentives then that certainly plays a part. But let's compare total sales over the last decade.......
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I may not be a genius on this, but there is no REAL reason for Mercury to exist...aside from the fact that we have HAD Mercury does not mean it must continue...that is a whole lot of unnecessary dealers to sell a brand that is "slightly upscale" from Ford, with real differences being different dash, headlights and taillights...while it may have worked in the last 50 years, maybe now it is outdated...

    Just like Alfred Sloan's model became obsolete when the Impala broke the $20K mark, because you could buy a discounted Olds 98 decked out for less money than a decked out Impala...once that happened, you knew that the 5 step models of Sloan (Chevy-Pont-Buick-Olds-Caddy) were doomed, because the Impala often cost more than the "prestige car"...

    Maybe Ford and Lincoln makes more sense (Chevy-Caddy, anybody?) as long as there is a discernible difference to make the Lincoln REALLY worth more, other than pinstriping and wire wheels...
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    No, Allen, it is not 2 vs. is 2 or 4. I am not adamant about defending GM. If anything, I am more adamant about introducing some objectivity into this basically fan boi thread. I would also say what Chrysler-Fiat has, all of a sudden, been doing right again. I can see the leaps that Hyundai-Kia have taken. That doesn't mean those companies have it down. Things these days can turn on a dime.

    None of that changes my first love: Ford. And I have certainly been giving Ford credit. After all, Ford right now can sell more vehicles with ONE division, rather than three...the sales don't lie. My point is that nothing much would change if Lincoln ceased to exist right now. It would be great if Lincoln could rise again, and in the future, Ford may need Lincoln in order to sustain growth.

    But to your perennial grip I say: Two divisions can work. Four divisions can work. I won't repeat examples, as you probably won't accept them anyway. OK, just one: right now, VW is knocking at the door of becoming the world's biggest automaker. Their profits worldwide are pretty decent too. And all those "extra" divisions are not just uber luxury brands like Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley, but also more mainstream brands like VW, Audi, Skoda, SEAT, and to a small extent Suzuki (a very successful brand everywhere but the US).

    Your suggestion that GM kill Buick makes no sense. The division is growing like gangbusters right now. Setting aside sales here, it is one of the most respected and successful brands in the world's largest car market (China) where it is perceived on a par with Audi. Meanwhile, Cadillac is making similar sales numbers here, and absolutely trouncing Lincoln. GMC does reach a different (and growing) customer base than Chevrolet (a friend just bought one and she loves it...she wouldn't consider the Chevy version, even if that makes no sense to you and me).

    AGAIN, this company is recovering from a well-deserved fall that went far lower than Ford ever did. And here they are already, making money! Sure Ford makes a whole lot more right now, and hell yes, that is a good thing. But GM must make its own way, not follow a long-time competitor's plan.

    All I have said, again and again, is stop the heck dissing GM just because they have four brands. I just don't get it. You keep trying to put Ford logic on another company, and meanwhile, GM is already doing ok in a very highly competitive, over-saturated (with brands, capacity, models, choices...mostly all good ones now). It will be a long time before sales return to pre-recession levels, if ever. Meanwhile, the vagaries of the market are going to kill good vehicles that from a quality standpoint probably deserve to live.

    Oh, and the Camaro is "just barely outselling" Mustang. Well, my dear, that says means Camaro is doing ok. And it is NOT loaded up with incentives. Mustang has always been the king of this market (the Mustang II excepted), and always was the one to beat. Camaro is presently heavier, does not handle as well, and some think the interior doesn't measure up. But they do have the styling down, and in the ponycar market, styling can still rule. If Ford had not had the good sense to put both a new V6 and V8 into the Mustang at the same time, it would not be close to nipping at Camaro's heels. I got to give both credit for the good sales they have. But apparently, you don't.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    The only 2 full line brands for VW are VW and Audi - at least in the U.S. Buick is doing well, especially in China - I'll give you that. It isn't a question of whether it works - the question is what works better in the long run. Take every Buick and put a bowtie on it and it will still sell in the U.S. without the additional brand overhead.

    But I don't understand how you can possibly defend GMC. Every vehicle is a clone of a Chevy with NO distinguishing features. Explain that one.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Image, my friend. Image sells. Otherwise why do fancy VWs move better as Audis? GMC has been successfully marketed as more upscale and more rugged than a Chevrolet. Think of Coke v. Pepsi. In every blind taste test ever done, Pepsi wins handily over Coke. But things still go better with Coke: when presented with the two cans, people insist in greater numbers that they prefer Coke. This "ruse" of advertising and image building so to speak has been a success. It is something Coke almost lost years ago when it introduced the better tasting new Coke. Thus, Classic Coke came right back. That continuing successful brand image still garners more sales right now with Coke.

    There wouldn't be such a proliferation of brands worldwide (in clothes, food products, most everything) if people weren't so brand conscious--and in the case of more expensive products, brand snobs. For GM to squander built-in perceptions on the hope that than the expense of converting GMCs back to Chevrolets (no small cost to manufacturer and dealers) added to the costs of re-educating people that a Chevy can get them the same things, coupled with the very real risk that these customers may be lost forever to other brands instead...well, it seems to me that is taking a risk that may not be justified at present.

    Ford on the other hand had very little to lose by the time Mercury was euthanized. Old guys buying the big Mercury rather than the Ford was a dying proposition, and all other "signs of the cat" had long since faded in people's memories. What GMC still has to some extent is what Lincoln needs to rebuild: a sense among the buying public, real or imagined, that a Lincoln is a finer thing than an equivalent Ford.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    GMC has a better brand image than Chevy? If you say so. But what happens is you get Chevy dealers and GMC dealers negotiating against each other on what is basically the same product. Similar situation with the old Camaro and Firebird.

    I think they're only keeping GMC to keep the dealers alive, which is the same reason Ford kept Mercury for so long.

    We'll just have to disagree on this one for a couple of years and then we can compare both companies and see which one worked better.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    I think that you simply wish GM to fail with GMC and Buick just because Ford failed every opportunity to have premium brands. It is just pure envy my friend!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    I don't want GM to fail. If I wanted them to fail then I'd be happy about what they're doing. I want them to succeed and I don't see them being really successful in the long run the way they're currently operating. They'll get by but if they would make the tough decisions that Ford has made then they'd be in a much better position to compete across the board. Just look at what they're doing with incentives - it's like they didn't learn anything. Maybe because they can't keep a CEO more than a few months.

    It's not that Ford is doing something new and wonderful - they're just doing what all the other successful brands have been doing. And that's what I'd like to see GM doing.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    BS, Allen. Ford did the only rational thing they could after screwing up every single premium brand they had. Hopefully Lincoln will rise again. Meanwhile GM has three premium brands that are all making more sales than Lincoln and all you can do is say how wrong they are. Reminds me how you used to insist people didn't realize Explorer and Mountaneer used the same body. I am done. You get the last word. Have at it.r
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    GMC a "premium" brand? Hogwash. That's like saying Mercury was a premium brand. Buick isn't a premium brand either - it's in the middle. It's premium compared to Chevy but not to the rest of the mfrs.

    GM may win the market share award but it will do so with much lower profit due to overproducing, fleet dumping and big incentives. Meanwhile Ford is using fewer global platforms to control costs and lowering volume to match market demands which keeps resale value high and incentives low (and profits high).

    The Cruze and Focus are great examples of each company's philosphy. GM is still clinging to the past and only changing enough to get by. Ford did a complete 180, bit the bullet and made drastic changes and now it's paying off.

    I don't know if Lincoln will outsell Cadillac in 3 years but they'll definitely be more profitable unless GM makes major changes.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I have to agree with Allen. And admittedly I'm a life-long Ford guy, however, since 2002, I have been driving both Fords and Lexuses, after driving Lincolns for 16 years. But after 2 (excellent) Navigators, I need to go back to a Sedan, and Lincoln didn't have one anymore. The LS was too small, the Town Car had been ruined since their high water mark in 1997 (IMO), didn't want one, no Continental anymore, nothing for me. So I bought an LS430, and have had 2 more since. Love them. As much as Ford/Lincoln feels good to me, and I still have Ford SUVs, 5 of them, Lincoln must do better than the MKS to get me back, especially at the price the MKS stickers at. It's not bad, but it's not yet luxury, it's Buick now. Hoping the future will bring the brand back to its glory, like Cadillac has pretty much done - even though I don't like the CTS. Too small.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    Are you sure you were agreeing with me? :blush:

    Look - I agree the current Lincolns aren't great, but compare them to where Lincoln was in 2004 with just the TC and LS sedans. The MKS has more power, more luxury features and a much better interior than either of them. The only place it comes up short is in handling vs. the LS. The MKZ, MKX and MKT didn't even exist. The Aviator looked nice but turned into a quality nightmare. And I owned both an Aviator and LS so I know what I'm talking about.

    So even with Ford taking priority and Lincoln only getting "table scraps" for the last several years, they improved the lineup considerably. And now that they're finally investing in Lincoln I expect a major leap forward across the lineup again.

    You won't see big sales numbers on the current vehicles because Ford is keeping prices high without big rebates. This appears to be a conscious business decision - probably to help close a lot of the marginal dealers. With Ford making $20B before debt payoff last year they really don't need Lincoln to be profitable right now.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Are you sure you were agreeing with me?

    Really! I was and am agreeing with you! I still have a very strong attachment to Lincoln. And I am hoping to see them recover their glory of the 60's, and 90's.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    It's interesting to me that Ford has been able to not pour a whole lot of incentive money int Lincoln. It's the right move but it must be hard being a Lincoln dealer right now. I mean almost all of them had Mercury pulled out from under them so have nothing to sell but the current Lincoln line.

    I've at least reached the point where I believe it when they say they have great plans to revive the brand. I'll just be a spectator but I'm looking forward to what they do.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    Is Lincoln still a separate dealer???...I thought they were consolidated into Ford/Lincoln dealers, as Lincoln is simply not large enough to survive as an independent dealer...heck, even before all the problems, they still needed Mercury for some volume...

    Makes sense to just combine Ford and Lincoln, like having a Chevy and Cadillac dealer...
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Ford has been busy consolidating dealers but stand alone Lincoln dealers do still exist. There's one in Wayne, NJ. Big place.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    I would doubt they make up the majority, however...simply not enough Lincoln sales to be viable, IMO...
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    I'm sure that's true. I imagine. I imagine they make their money on the used cars and service.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,018
    There will be stand alone Lincoln dealers but there needs to be a lot less of them which is part of the plan. The Ford/Lincoln dealers will be required to have a separate showroom and service staff for Lincoln.
  • savethelandsavetheland Posts: 671
    I have been at Ford-Lincoln dealership to test drive MKZ hybrid and they did not have one in the store! They had only three MKZ in all and the sea of Fusions in the stock - there were more used MKZ available than new ones. So I asked salesperson to test Fusion Hybrid instead since they are identical. He went in to take keys and then came back and told me that they sold out all hybrid Fusions as well. Unbelievable! It does not make sense to consider regular MKZ. Hybrid version is the only thing that makes MKZ stand out in crowded market. Currently I am considering Buick Regal turbo and Infinity G25 as my next ride but after visiting gas station last time I thought it might make sense to add hybrid into equation and and there is nothing better than MKZ in this regard. No wonder that sales are so hot - it seems that I am not alone. MKZ hybrid is not fast and not as powerful as regular MKZ and trunk volume is only 11 sqft versus 15 for regular MKZ, but fuel economy is impressive.
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