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Where Is Ford taking the Lincoln Motor Company?



  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Just for the record, what I said was that Mercury could be kept but only if they had totally unique products and not just Ford clones. Like a 2 seat roadster. But I never said they should do that.

    Way ahead of you, Allen. I know that is exactly what you said, and what I knew you said. What part of what I said suggested that you suggested that Mercury could be a niche brand but not have unique products? You just like to argue, I think, even when there is nothing to disagree about.

    But kudos for acknowledging that GM may have some different problems in downsizing than Ford did.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited August 2012
    Seems like a pretty civil and interesting discussion; don't know why you guys seem to be trying to make it personal.

    Ah well, meantime there's more news about the brand, including the "entry level crossover" based on the Escape platform. (USA Today)

    Funny, when I did a Bing search for Lincoln just now, two of the four ads that flopped up were for Mercedes and Acura. The rest were from Lincoln. So someone is paying attention.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Every few months we forget what we argued about before so we have to argue about it all over again. :blush:
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Do I know you? :P
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    It is one of the drawbacks of getting old. :cry:
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    I'll be the first to admit that I hate the MK naming scheme. But there was no new reliable information in that article. MKD seems unlikely and there is an Explorer sized Lincoln in the works contrary to what the article says or doesn't say.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Good deal. MKD sounds so dumb and I don't even know why. MKC, if we have to have MK* (and apparently we do), is better.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    You don't know why MkD sounds dumb?

    Does this ring a bell?

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Good find! Maybe you should bring that to the attention of Lincoln's marketing department.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Yeah, but over 5 billion served would sure help the bottom line. :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Good point, and with no harm to consumers' blood vessels.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "Lincoln beat out rivals Cadillac, Lexus and Toyota in the American Customer Satisfaction Index's annual survey of the auto industry, which was released on Tuesday.

    "The downside for Lincoln is that high satisfaction may reflect a loyal, but dwindling, customer base," the survey said.

    Lincoln received a score of 90 on the 100-point index. Lexus followed in 2nd place at 89, while Buick notched an 87 score. Cadillac, Lexus and Toyota shared the top score in the survey last year. Subaru's score of 87 was called the "lone exception to luxury-plate dominance this year," by the survey, which is based on customers' evaluations of the quality of their vehicles."

    Lincoln Grabs Lead in New Customer Satisfaction Survey (Inside Line)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    If forced to go elsewhere, many of Buick and GMC customers would migrate to some of the many, many other brand choices available today (including Ford), rather than go over to Chevrolet.

    Good point, personally, I'd go anywhere but Chevrolet - the plainness and designed in ugliness of Chevy has always repulsed me.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I'll be the first to admit that I hate the MK naming scheme

    Me too - so WHY do they perpetuate it? I haven't found ANYBODY who likes it.
  • toomanyfumestoomanyfumes S.E. Wisconsin Posts: 1,007
    I tried explaining all the Lincoln model names to a co-worker, by the time I got through them I was mixing them up and probably just confusing him more.
    2012 Mustang Premium, 2013 Lincoln MKX Elite, 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited October 2012
    "Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president for global marketing, sales and service, told media attending the Lincoln Design Center opening that the brand has no intention of trying to compete with the established luxury-car competition on a sales-volume basis. Farley said the "new" Lincoln, instead, will attempt to foster a boutique kind of image.

    "Our ambitions aren't to be number one," said Farley. "Our idea is to be more personal — think of your neighborhood tailor."

    2013 Lincoln MKZ First Model From All-New Lincoln Design Center (Inside Line)
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    This is why I'm optimistic about Lincoln's future. There is no hurry - Ford can afford to float Lincoln for a few years now that they're profitable. They're starting with the dealerships to deliver a Lexus like experience and they're not chasing sales volume at the expense of profit. They have a 100% dedicated team.

    Lincoln will turn more profit on half the volume of Cadillac because Caddy is spending billions trying to chase BMW. Caddy's approach may be more popular and good for some consumers but as a business strategy I'm not so sure it makes sense.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    edited October 2012
    "Our ambitions aren't to be number one," said Farley. "Our idea is to be more personal — think of your neighborhood tailor."
    Well, at least they have a more realistic plan now. I think that with the MKS and MKT launchings, they still more or less planned to continue a rivalry with Cadillac and others. It has taken them a long time to realize that "as good" is not good enough in this very competitive environment, and to build sales back to significant levels (right now Lincoln could go away and not affect Ford's bottom line at all...except maybe in a positive way) would take far more dedicated resources than Ford can afford. Lincoln at this point has no reputation and does not stand for anything. Their present line contains nothing most people would want to buy and drive, with the possible exception of the new MKZ. (I'd certainly consider an MKZ hybrid if I hadn't already chosen a Volvo).

    Funny they are only now establishing a separate design studio for Lincoln. One would have thought they would have done that with the ramp up of resources given to the Lincoln brand last year. Better late than never. Once the current line-up is wiped away (years yet), the boutique image may be possible.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437

    I doubt that they will be conjuring up a completely new name for the brand. Continental was once a separate brand, but that seems unlikely. Seems I was reading a suggestion somewhere (but I don't remember where) that they were considering Lincoln Motors or Lincoln Motor Company. Along with the brand name modification, I bet they will re-do the MK names as well.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    They could make a compact one and call it - The Babe.

    Today's feel good story in the Detroit Free Press:

    The car Babe Ruth drove: 1948 Lincoln Continental
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Funny they are only now establishing a separate design studio for Lincoln.

    They hired Wolff over a year ago and established a separate design studio organizationally soon after. They're just now showing off the new building but the design staff and 150 other dedicated Lincoln staffers have been working on the Lincoln rebuilding plan for well over a year.

    The new small crossover will be the first one to be done 100% by the new design team. That vehicle plus the MKZ and new MKX will be the volume models just like they are for Cadillac and Lexus.

    Not sure what you mean by they can't afford the investment to be #1. You don't become #1 in sales by building "bmw killers" like Caddy. You do it by having a broad lineup of cars people want to buy. Rather than go after one or two "halo" cars on expensive new platforms they're trying to have 7 really good vehicles in multiple segments with Lexus like dealer service. The fact that they have a dedicated staff of 150 and plans for 7 vehicles tells me they are willing to make a significant investment to turn Lincoln around.

    The "we don't have to be #1" comment is the same one Ford has made for years. They're not going to chase a sales crown in lieu of profit.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    edited October 2012
    Not sure what you mean by they can't afford the investment to be #1. What's to understand, Allen? I am basically saying the same thing as you. However, you chose to say that Cadillac chasing BMW may not be the best strategy. I assume you are acknowledging in that statement that to go after BMW's range and volume and status would cost big time (and eat into if not consume any potential profits)--and that you prefer Ford's approach of a now dedicated reasonable investment that will not be ruinous for the company should it not succeed.

    Ford is doing well, but to pour the many billions it would take to begin matching the number and pace of new models coming from both BMW and Cadillac in the next two years, given the sorry state of Lincoln right now, would not be a wise move by any measure. Lincoln sales right now are about as low as they are going to go (before they throw in the towel). A "boutique" designation may be just what is needed to save the brand from oblivion, as boutique precisely means they don't have to go up against Audi/Mercedes/BMW/Cadillac while they sort out how to make Lincoln relevant again. Volume can come later, if this dedicated team discovers a formula for making this moribund brand into something that some real car guys wouldn't mind being seen driving.

    BTW, you know as well as I do, that Ford uses all kinds of approaches to sell iron. Yes, they have learned well that dumping cars into fleets for sales titles does not usually pay off. However, with the F150, they are not going to let the sales title they have held for so long go away just because Chevy has a new popular model. Incentives, fleets, dealer buys, whatever it takes will be utilized until Ford has its own newest version. Reminds me of the stories recently of the Focus taking the #1 title of the world's best selling car from the Corolla. As it turns out, it depends on how the models are counted around the world, the technicalities of which allow both companies to make the same #1 claim right now.

    Anyway, sometimes I think you just love to argue, or at least assume that people disagree with you, even when they don't. :P
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    I just think that given what Lincoln has planned over the next 4-5 years they can be just as successful as Lexus and be very profitable doing it. I also think it's a much better business plan than trying to make "bmw killers".
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    I hope you are right, despite there now being so many more players than there used to be. The business will remain cut-throat competitive, at least until some brands and models drop out.

    During the time Lincoln takes to field its "seven new models," most of the competition will issue at least as many, if not more, new or revamped models. Lincoln has a fighting chance now, given that the overpaid powers-that-be have finally realized how the game has changed.

    Car buyers are an ever fascinating lot. It is almost amusing how Toyota reputation is carrying the Camry to the top of the sales (and profits) charts, even though it is not even the second or third or fourth best-rated mid-size.

    "Very profitable" is another iffy thing. Ford has realized that significant investment beyond what they had thought needs to go into a true revamp. If Lincoln sales do not pick up significantly after those truly new models begin to come to market, profits will be even slimmer. Right now, even though Lincoln models are already competitive, sales of the MKS for example, are too low for profit to be there.

    Potential Lincoln buyers will have excellent choices from Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, and yes, Cadillac. Both Acura and Chrysler (more direct competitors right now) are revamping their lines in the next couple years. Jaguar is adding more models, engines and AWD. Volvo has a plan for increasing its range and models. Other brands will enter the fray from Europe, electric car companies, and who knows where else. They cannot all be successful at once, as the field of luxury buyers does not expand to match all the additional choices.

    Mazda is putting out some very appealing models right now, and the coming new versions of 3 and 6 and Miata look to be near or at the top of their categories. But the company is struggling for lack of enough sales to pay for the new model investment. Subaru was in the same spot as a small company, but appears to have found a sweet spot for success right now. Mazda hasn't yet, despite all they are doing.

    Good planning is essential, but it is not a crystal ball. Being just as successful as Lexus involves more than selling well-designed, competing models. People will cling to Lexus, as they do to the Camry, because of that stellar reputation, deserved or not. Lincoln is coming back from essentially no reputation at this point.

    However, if Lincoln fails to make inroads despite now having a better plan, Ford can sweep the mess away (as it did with Edsel and PAG and Mercury) and still be ok.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    I consider seven models to be the minimum to really compete fully as a full volume luxury brand. And I don't think the Lincoln brand is so damaged that people will avoid it. I think all they need is distinctive vehicles with great exterior and interior designs, luxury features at least on par with the competition and hopefully some that most don't offer (like the retractable glass roof) and a Lexus like dealer experience to be successful. While it would be great if they could also throw in a couple of high performance vehicles I don't consider it a requirement for success at this point. Get the brand self-sufficient with a full model lineup and upgraded dealer experience first - then go after the niche vehicles.

    It's not as sexy as Cadillac going after BMW but it's a lot safer and more cost effective. Although it is good to see that Cadillac will be sharing platforms going forward.
  • Perhaps you would feel better if Cadillac were making Lincoln killers.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    It's going to be a tough fight no matter. Europe is in the dumpster so look for the manufacturers to dump more luxury product on their US dealers.

    Race for Luxury Car Sales Crown Could Prove Brutal
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,950
    Maybe I can get that $399 lease on an S350 Bluetec, just to keep sales ahead of the pack :shades:
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