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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?



  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    So it's a good idea to use obsolete platforms? If the new platform is really good then it shouldn't matter that it's shared by both a luxury and non-luxury nameplate provided the rest of the vehicle has the appropriate design, style, performance and features.

    I can take a basic stick frame house and build either a $150K house or a $250K house based on the finishing materials and mechanicals.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2012
    On what do you base your statement that "the all new Mustang us not really all new at all...?"

    I don't have any first hand information, but I've read in more than one source that the next all-new Mustang will be smaller and lighter, in addition to featuring IRS. The smaller, in particular, suggests that it'll probably have a new platform. We'll see.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,920
    edited May 2012
    Using an old platform worked for the successful Chrysler 300, might as well work elsewhere. I bet Caddy or Lincoln would love to be able to use a just-obsolete S/7/LS platform for an actual large competent car.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I love saying provocative things in order to get this moribund forum cooking.

    As to XTS v. MKS...they are remarkably similar in a lot of ways, nearly the same length and wheelbase. Their base engines have similar size and power. They are FWD based, stop-gap "flagships" until both brands have time to issue something better. Both of them have too much body length to wheelbase, as bulky pretend full-size FWD cars tend to have (Audi being an exception)

    However, the XTS is good looking and has gotten reluctantly good reviews from the auto press for its lines (the press really doesn't want to like this sort of car). The interior is where it really shines over the MKS. Despite a slightly shorter wheelbase, it has a much roomier back seat than the MKS does (routinely knocked for its tight quarters in back). Both have large car trunks. Given that the XTS shares a platform with the Lacrosse, the large trunk is unexpected. The other part of the interior is its quality and ambience. The press loves the interior style and finish of the XTS, which bests Mercedes in execution.

    Now, both are cars running in Toyota Avalon territory until something better can be brought to market. In two years, Cadillac will have a larger RWD flagship that will at least offer a V8 as an option. Lincoln is going for an improved MKS. Seems to be the story of Lincoln's existence...Cadillac achieves and then abandons the "standard of the world" quality--and then shoots for it again, while Lincoln dithers with mediocrity, and a stellar design every 30 years or so.

    They got burned by the Mark II in days gone by...a car more expensive than even what most of the European high end had to offer, and it was pretty to boot, but it didn't sell (too expensive). The Continental brand went down at the end of the 50s. The 60s Continentals were distinctive, but that distinctiveness became bloat in the 70s. The 1990 Town Car and the 1998 Navigator were resurrections of good, but like with Ford and the original Explorer and the original Taurus, they had no idea what to do for an encore, because they didn't really understand the appeal and why these models had icon status in the first place.

    I got old somewhere along the way, and no one ever asked me what would work better. But I bet everything I have and all that of my neighbors in this co-op that I could have stopped some really stupid decisions from being approved during the past 40 years, and I am no Einstein. Bean counters did a lot of damage of course, but even so, what bozo thought that the 1996 Taurus was a credible follow-up to the 1986 Taurus? Who in charge really thought delusionally that the 2007 Navigator was a fitting replacement for the way the 1998 took the market by storm?

    I am not privy to any inside information, so it just boggles my mind that people have been paid good money for so long to come up with such mediocrity.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    So you totally ignored the MKS 365 hp drivetrain option missing in the XTS? Somehow I'm not surprised. Of course if Caddy had that advantage we'd hear about it endlessly. Although I suspect you're just pushing buttons now.

    We don't know what Lincoln has in store for the MKS yet. It will definitely have more rear seat room. Whether it's based on a longer wider CD4 platform or some new Global RWD platform is still up in the air.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    edited May 2012
    Very well said, gregg_vw! The only point that I would qualify is your comment about the '96 Taurus. It was maybe a double, to borrow baseball parlance, but I applaud Ford for having tried to hit another one out of the ballpark, as it did with the original Taurus. The bigger problem is that, instead of reboubling its efforts as the '96 platform aged, Ford basically gave up on the industry's most important market segment.

    Since I'm not into SUVs, I won't comment on the '07 Navigator, but I agree with everything else you wrote in your post.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited May 2012
    I love saying provocative things in order to get this moribund forum cooking.

    Bah. (me too :D )

    I remember when the Olds Toronado came out. Competed with the Thunderbird and based (all per Wiki) on the Riviera and Eldorado RWD platforms. But - this full size luxury car was FWD. That "stopgap" had a 26 year run.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I didn't totally ignore anything. You know damn well that I know that the MKS offers the Ecoboost. That's great, but so what???? The car isn't selling!

    Cadillac is also dragging its heels getting the upper end options available on the XTS, but they probably don't give a crap that it doesn't have a hot engine right now. It will sell based on its presentation...and the fact that Cadillac has some legs right now, and the MKS is still an unknown to most buyers. Not to mention really dull in the styling department. :P

    We all know there is a market for FWD luxury floaters yet, and Cadillac has hit that sweet spot with this introduction. Still, that demographic is beginning to circle the drain. Even so, the compromised XTS should do fine until the RWD blockbuster arrives. Meanwhile, Cadillac is outselling the MKX with the SRX, and the Nav with the Slade. The ATS is out next month, and the new CTS will be out next year.

    This is cut-throat. Even with all their effort, Cadillac may still fall on its face. It has before. My repetitive message, NO car company is sitting back or standing still while Lincoln finally gets its sh*t together.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Back then, FWD was was t* brought memories of Cord. AND there was about a mile of sheetmetal between the front wheel and front door cut out. None of this engine in front of the front wheels stuff that was so innovative with the state of the art econoboxes of the 70s and 80s. It wasn't was it. Then, things changed. The last FWD Toronado was a very weird thing that adopted the space-saving proportions of the transverse engined FWD plebeian rides which had become common by then.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Let's see how well the XTS sells. I don't think it will do any better than the MKS. It's not a very hot segment. The STS and DTS both failed. As for styling - I'd say the XTS will turn off as many buyers as it turns on. The MKS, while nondescript will not offend as many buyers. And the tech is virtually identical.

    You keep saying that Lincoln can't survive long enough to get the new vehicles out. And I keep saying that Ford is profitable and can afford to wait for the long term Lincoln plan to take hold.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    You are so defensive, is quite amusing.

    As for the XTS turning off as many buyers as it turns on, you remind me of the Ford exec in 2005 who said that the Five Hundred's sedate styling would hold its goodness much longer than the temporarily hot Chrysler 300. He was wrong of course.

    The 2013 MKS remains dowdy, with a restyled nose that was a waste of Ford's money (reminds me of when you said that the new nose on the Five Hundred for 2008--when it became the Taurus again--would fix its styling shortcomings). Putting new noses on unpopular designs has never worked for Ford, but it has to have cut into profits a bit.

    The MKS styling (like the XTS) is not offensive. It is just not attractive (whereas the XTS is at least somewhat attractive, though hardly a standout). Back when the MKS was merely a concept (before the wingspread grill was grafted onto it), I was horrified to think that they might actually build it such a derivative non-distinctive and somewhat bulbous proposal. Unfortunately, they did, it is still with us today, and it does nothing to rebuild Lincoln's reputation.

    I have never cared much for Cadillacs and likely would never buy one. But I do give credit where it is due. Lincoln just hasn't pulled any rabbits out of the hat in awhile...not since things like the 1990 and 1998 Town Car, the 1998 Navigator, and the 1999 LS. The new MKZ may be a rabbit, but the brand needs a breakout model, not a as-good-as model. Ford is doing well, but they would do better if Lincoln wasn't limping along, using a walker (like so many of its buyers) and sucking at Ford's teat to produce weirdnesses like the MKT.

    Back to the MKS. It was new in 2008 model year, and went up against the DTS, which actually debuted as a Deville in 2000. Cadillac, like Lincoln, began abandoning names for letters, so in 2006, Deville became DTS in a slight freshening...the body except for grill and headlights remained the same. The engine remained the same. Plus some additional options. It still came with only a 4 speed automatic. But the hoary old thing still handily outsold the newer, much more modern MKS in 08, 09, and 2010, and nearly matched the MKS sales in its dying year of 2011. Yes, the MKS styling is that mediocre, so much so that even as a superior car, it lost out to an old Cadillac. The Cadillac had more coherent dowdy styling, but not much else. It just illustrates how badly drawn the MKS was right from the go-shot.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Your defense of Cadillac is just as amusing, considering how many failures they've had the last few years. First gen CTS and SRX were terrible. XLR was a huge failure and never should have been attempted. I do give them credit for the CTS and the V series especially, even though I don't think it was necessarily a wise business decision at the time. And the new SRX isn't bad.

    Cadillac will never out-BMW BMW no matter how good the cars are.

    I'm only defending the MKS in a direct comparison with the XTS. Styling is subjective and there are at least as many people that HATE the current Cadillac styling as there are who LOVE it. The MKS will be in the middle. The cars are otherwise virtually identical in size and features (XTS may have a bigger rear seat and trunk - didn't check) but the MKS also offers a 365 HP engine.

    You can't expect Lincoln to put a totally new team in place dedicated to Lincoln including a fully dedicated design team and have all new models across the line within a year. It just doesn't work that way. The new MKZ was a big step but even that was conceived and almost finished before the new team came on board.

    The large luxury sedan market is small and shrinking so you'll probably see a C segment utility and sedan from Lincoln before you'll see a new MKS. Priorities.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    There ya go again. Ha! I was not defending Cadillac so much as using its checkered history to illustrate what a poor decision the MKS was. The first gen CTS and SRX were not "terrible." The CTS definitely had poor reliability, but that first generation began to show that Cadillac could still be a contender. It sold way better than Lincoln models of the time.

    As for the SRX, it had the same problem as the Taurus X, the Pacifica, the Flex and the looked like a station wagon, not an SUV or CUV which people inexplicably prefer--even though they are all wagons in the end. It actually got good auto press (like the Flex and even MKT often do), but the looks killed it. The inferior second gen SRX took off because it has the upper end CUV looks that buyers want right now.

    Is that a defense of Cadillac? I think not. Speaking of the first gen SRX, how about that XLR? Now there was a real dud. Lincoln would have to be trying to do one as badly as that. Overall, of course Cadillac must do better, and they probably will, if they survive. With the ATS, XTS, new CTS next year, new Escalade next year, the SRX, a new flagship coming, plus another CUV, they at least have a chance.

    As for your totally new team rant, you say that every other post. No one disputes that it takes time for a totally new team to get new products out. You continually miss my point that there was a new "team" so to speak prior to this new team, a team that produced the MKS front end (the rest was done before they came on board), and then they produced the MKT as there first clean sheet effort. No, they didn't have as many resources as the new, new team, but they squandered their few resources on two dopey looking models like the MKS and MKT, when with the same money they could have styled both of those cars more attractively. Just one hit would have made a difference. But they blew both efforts with their committee styling and the mistaken belief that a dramatic front end would make the whole vehicle.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    I agree that the MKS and MKT styling were/are not great. However, I don't think you understand the inner workings at Ford and Lincoln.

    Prior to last year, Ford had not decided what to do with Lincoln and Mercury. The focus was on saving Ford (pun intended) first. Once they decided to kill Mercury and start investing money and resources to fixing Lincoln they went out and hired a huge team (over 100 people) dedicated to Lincoln. The last year or so this team has been working on the plan for Lincoln which goes way beyond the vehicles starting with a significantly enhanced dealership experience which is under way as we speak with new dedicated showrooms and other services. The new Lincoln design team was only allowed to make minor changes to the MKZ, MKS and MKT as these were already finished before they arrived.

    To focus only on the cars would have been a mistake. To focus only on the dealers would have been a mistake. Lincoln needs to be fixed top to bottom and that is a 5-10 year job. You won't see significant results the first year or two.

    You won't see the NEW MKS because it will be a totally new vehicle on a different platform and they're not going to spend a lot of money on the current lame duck platform for such a small market segment. The money is in the C and C/D segments and that's where the product focus is right now. The money and hours they saved on the MKS and MKT restyles are going into the new products.

    Now if the new products do come out over the next 2-3 years and they're no better than the current MKS and MKT and the dealer experience has not improved then I will totally agree with you.

    Until then it's premature.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited June 2012
    And the numbers are surprisingly good across the board in spite of the economy. Cheap credit, cheap gas, lots of pent up demand.

    But the numbers for Lincoln aren't so good.

    "Ford brand sales were 901,446, up 6.8 percent over last year's 843, 710. The Lincoln brand dropped from 34, 642 vehicles sold in 2011 to 34, 418 in 2012."

    GM sales up 10.9% in May; Ford up 13%; Chrysler up 30% (Detroit News)

    Didn't see any profit prediction stories. Ford's incentives were up for May; I assume that includes Lincolns.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Lincoln numbers aren't good? Gee, Steve, you must have read a different press release.

    MKZ and Navigator basically flat.

    MKX and MKS up approximately 25%.

    MKT up over 100%.

    The only big loser was the Town Car that's no longer made.

    That's not a bad showing considering these vehicles are basically unchanged from last year.

    BTW - MKS sales are up 44% YTD compared to last year.

    Incentives were up in May because they were too low in April.

    I'm not saying the numbers are great but they are decent and moving in the right direction - with virtually no product changes (yet).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Well, seems like most everyone else was up (May is usually a good month). But from my link:

    "The Lincoln brand dropped from 34, 642 vehicles sold in 2011 to 34, 418 in 2012."

    I guess selling another 9,460 Town Cars like they did in '11 would have helped.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,920
    I wouldn't be surprised if actual retail sales are higher. Some Lincolns still go to fleets, but nothing in the volume of the TC.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    edited June 2012
    Oh, come on, Allen. A volume luxury brand like Lincoln selling less than 35K TOTAL over all models? The MKS alone was supposed to sell more than that. Then you trot out the (very real) %age increases as if that is something to crow about. THEY ARE ALL BIG LOSERS. Can we at least agree on that?

    I agree with you that it will take 5 -10 years to rebuild Lincoln. You keep explaining that to me as if I don't understand. I do.

    You don't acknowledge that I am not lauding Cadillac when I point out how that crippled brand has managed to have both a couple of hits and several misses in the past few years. The truth is, Lincoln has had no hits in several years. You know that, but it galls you to admit that as bad as Cadillac has been overall, they still have managed to have some small successes.

    I don't like Cadillacs and I do like Fords (or some Fords), but I will not pretend that Lincoln has done anything worthwhile in the past few years. Spending money on tweaking the noses of the MKS and MKT was a waste. Leave the noses the way they were until such time as the cars could be redesigned. Put the nose money into the future redesigns, still some years down the road. Running changes that improve the drive and feel and tech, fine, great. Better ads, great. But spending money on a new grill (that looks an awfully lot like the old grill) on a car that just doesn't grab consumers attention? A waste of development money. WHO in charge authorizes such nonsense?

    Hopefully, this new team will chart a new course toward something, I don't know what it might be, that will revive this embarrassing brand in the way that the 1961 sedan did. I love the MKZ coming out this fall, but it is no 1961 Lincoln. I also hate that when I was typing that sentence, I had to think...T? Z? S? X? My initial typing to be totally honest would have been MKX. When is this new team going to learn that putting the model letters at the end of the alpha names is just so confusing for us old guys? :sick:

    One thing that is also a fact in this: Cadillac killing the old non-lamented DTS has cut into their sales numbers. Lincoln is now only a couple of thousand per month behind them, and that hasn't happened in a long time. Hope springs eternal.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    I wasn't crowing about anything, but the numbers aren't terrible either. They're ok for where Lincoln is right now with lots of changes in store for the future.

    Compare the MKS and new MKZ to any previous Lincolns and tell me they're not making significant progress.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294 the Carlisle Ford Show this weekend. The car seemed decent enough but the $58,000 MSRP was absolutely insane. I'm not paying close to $60K for a truncated sedan with a puny V-6! Yeah, yeah, I've heard the argument that their V-6 is more than adequate, but I can't wrap my mind around paying that much and only getting a V-6. I can accept a V-6 for the wife's LaCrosse, but if I'm buying a big luxury car for myself, I demand a V-8!

    There are also a lot of other better choices at that price point. Heck, you could get a Mercedes E-Class for $58K which carries a lot more weight than any current Lincoln. My 2007 Cadillac DTS is a much prettier car with a plusher interior and has a V-8 to boot. I bought it new and I didn't pay anywhere near $58K for it even factoring in for inflation! Lincoln's whole lineup is underwhelming. They would make awesome Mercuries, but they fall far short of the Lincolns of yore. Their slogan should be "Lincoln: What a Mercury Should Be!"
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I agree. The MKS would have been a good Mercury product. It would have sold to the remaining traditional Mercury customers (especially Grand Marquis) who wanted something better and more distinctive than the corresponding Ford. But, oops, Mercury is dead.

    But Lincoln is on life support...which means there is still a chance it could rise from the dead. IMH (and not too informed) O, Mercury could have helped Ford out, once their situation stabilized. Almost no companies don't have a third or fourth brand to play creative stuff with. Of course Ford still owns the name...they could bring it back if they want to, after a couple years or even many decades. My bet is that eventually, they will re-think their decision to off-load every other brand but bright Ford and decrepit Lincoln.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,963
    This is a problem with a lot of Detroit iron these days IMO. They want to price at or above established imports with strong market reputations when their D3 offerings tend to depreciate much faster often without the quality and reliabilty record. Most buyers don't hold their cars for many years, particularly with higher price point vehicles. Many buyers that do their homework aren't going to buy that, so then they end up having to put big incentives or rebates on them which ends up lowering the D3 new stuff's image, potential and resale. You'd think our Ivy league business schools would be more proficient in teaching marketing to their MBA grads? Japan and Korea both got strong by under pricing and establishing a good reputation. Then they moved on to larger margins. Just because D3 brands have been around a long time doesn't mean they have a "good" reputation. In fact, Detroit is in the "establishing" a reputation phase right now because of their past. Personally, I think buying a Lincoln is a gamble unless you are going to drive it many years. It's not easy bringing back a tarnished brand and fair or not, Lincoln still means Town Car and fleets to many buyers. It will be an uphill battle, probably taking a number of years if success is eventually achieved. One good looker (and I'm not sure that is MKS) isn't going to do it alone.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    You guys are funny. $58K gets you a 365 hp AWD MKS with every possible feature. The closest E series is the E550 AWD which is $76K fully loaded (with more power). A fully loaded AWD A6 with only a 3.0L V6 with less power is $72K.

    And it has WAY more power and WAY more features than any V8 DTS.

    Stop comparing apples to oranges.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    "Town Car" isn't a bad thing for me in regard to Lincoln. It was about the only thing they had left that would get me into a Lincoln showroom. Trouble is, near the end, the Town Car was so decontented it might as well have been a Crown Vic. What I would've loved to have seen Lincoln done was a massive update of the Town Car to bring it into the modern age.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    And it has WAY more power and WAY more features than any V8 DTS.

    It does? It seemed pretty barren to me and had no more guts than my 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis. If I closed my eyes, I'd have sworn I was driving my Mercury.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    $58K gets you the 365 hp 3.5L Ecoboost twin turbo. Maybe you were driving the 3.7L V6 with 300 hp but that one isn't $58K.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Must've been the 3.5 Ecoboost because I saw the $58K sticker on the window.
  • edward53edward53 Posts: 113
    It is remarkable that the 2013 Cadillac XTS and Ford's booby twins ,the 2013 MKZ and Fusion are styled remarkably similar especially if viewed by their silhouettes or profiles.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Not so remarkable. It's the dominant style for C and D sedans, and that silhouette is shared by many brands among 2013 models. Still, the Cadillac looks like a Cadillac (not a Ford), and the Ford looks like a Ford. It remains to be seen if the 2013 MKZ looks like a Lincoln--since the new new Lincoln style has not yet hit the streets.

    As for the MKS and the Ecoboost...great engine in an ungainly-looking car. That combination doesn't always sell. A few years ago, Mercury put a 300 hp V8 (good power for that era) in a Grand Marquis and called it a Marauder. It did not sell in any numbers, even with a good engine, because the body style was already old by then (except in the eyes of [often large] old guys), and the interior trim was just cheap. Thank goodness they put a stop to the proposed Marauder convertible...that would have been an even bigger sales disaster.
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