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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#1569 of 4409 Lincoln & The New World Order
Jan 13, 2007 (5:54 pm)
Lincoln's chances are very narrow at this point. If you listened to Mr. Horbury in Detroit you can hear between the lines that this, the MKR, is the last best chance for Lincoln to appeal to the management. It is not the public vote that seems to matter, but the one that Bill & Elena make.... YET ARM has the reigns, and having driven every Ford product randomly has come up with very good points about what Ford Motor product should be---especially his recent WSJ remarks and interview on WJR in Detroit at Cobo Hall. "This part is helpful...this part has got to go...." ARM refered not only to bits and pieces on Ford products, but much of its management structure. No doubt, ARM will flog the Mark R, and he will have to decide.
Cadillac has expanded its production overseas to meet the realities of the New World Order in the auto market. It built 2,185 cars in Europe in 2006. It's KD plant in China is running at full tilt. RHD models are also in the works to appeal to the Asian market that depends on driving on the left. Cadillac even sold 1,172 cars in Japan---of all places where tariffs, taxes, and regulations double the price of the car. (Keep in mind that even Lexus only sold 10,293 cars in Japan against 183,037 in America!!, and imports captured a mere 261,534 sales in Japan---but 75% of all cars sold above $45,000 in Japan are foreign!!!) Where is Lincoln and Ford Motor? Lincoln could be built overseas as well...both for Mark R, and Town Car.
Lincoln must reach the same appeal without forsaking its roots. Clearly all the show cars here-to-fore that devolves to the classic roots of Lincoln never get built. The MKR, built from the Mustang platform with IRS, seems to be the most expediant alternative. Replacement for the Town Car can't arrive until 2010 at best. MkR could see the end of an assembly in production form before 2009. Mr. Horbury poured it all in for the MKR. The 'Poor Man's Aston' look of the MKS got nowhere. And Aston is history at Ford Motor despite building 4,461 cars last year---a record for Gaydon and the marque. So the MKR must carry the chalice.
Since it seems Bill & Elena Ford seemingly will let no Lincoln pass onto the showroom floor that looks at all like anything from the 1960's or even the 1950's, Mr. Horbury played the 'Phantom' card: going back to the 1940's yet pointing to various aspects from the different generations---noting the 60's roofline, the scythe line in the 70's, and the hint of 1941 in the Grille. Considering the Ford's nixt every approach in that direction (ask Mr. Reitzle), what Mr. Horbury did was nothing short of a master-stroke.
I canvassed about 100 people in my workplace with the Car & Driver article and asked them: "Would you pay money for this?" Only 14% of the people I asked said no---they didn't get the grille design. Everyone loved the curves on the side and the flared front wheel arches, and the hind quarters sticking out giving the wheels that 'power' bulge. Some likened it to a 600 Mercedes---and liked it better. Everyone recognised the car as a Lincoln, and all of them said it was too bad they hadn't built a nice car in a long time.
My own view considering my dislike for the Mark S, is that this has a great chance of success. Obviously the roof will be revised and the grille tightened up, among other features. But the platform is paid for, the IRS cheap to do on the rebound, so it can roll out the door soon enough at a new Lincoln factory.
It is immaterial to bander about Ford's patent neglect of its car-lines. ARM has rightfully mortaged everything to save Ford Motor---10 plants and a lot of other assets in his $23Bn loan package. GM & Chrysler's favorable reviews from the global press at Cobo Hall will only help Ford when they bring out viable products. Even Bill Ford admitted that "Our way is to do direct comparisons..." when it came to measuring its products against Japanese and European products---Ford is inviting people to drive their cars directly against the competition. That is what they must do with any new Lincoln---match it up against M-B, BMW, Cadillac and Lexus.
The MKR interior also has to represent a quality level far above anything they have done. Cadillac subcontracts its entire interior 'cockpit' to Inteir & Magna systems. Ford Motor and Lincoln must rely upon Collins & Aikman (in bankruptcy and directed by former Lincoln LS engineer and Ford Executive Ann Stevens), among other suppliers to make the Lincoln a go. So must the chassis engineering. Using a Mustang platform leaves a lot of room for improvement and different engine packages. They could run V6 and V8's to appeal to different types of buyers and markets. The ride & drive engineers have their work cut out for them. (Remember that the original 1975 Seville started from a Nova platform---but you would never know that driving one!)
Yes, I'd would have loved to see all those prior show cars built---but MKR is what is left in the pile. Imperial is moments away, and Cadillac is now ascendant. Thus the Lincoln Team must put all the chips on the Mark R table. Mark S won't see the light of day before hand, if at all.
(sources: WWJR Radio Bill Ford & Alan Mulally interviews with Paul W. at Cobo Hall, WSJ, FT, Automotive News)
#1570 of 4409 Re: Lincoln & The New World Order [douglasr]
Jan 13, 2007 (7:36 pm)
the problem for lincoln is volvo and jaguar. gm does not have the same issue for cadillac.
#1571 of 4409 Re: Lincoln & The New World Order [douglasr]
Jan 13, 2007 (8:40 pm)
The article mentioned the '75 Seville being a Nova platform. As I recall it had leaf springs and a solid rear axle, but boy o' boy, some great looks! Now if Lincoln could make something like the Seville of that era, then I would be amazed. It has style without sacrificing good window glass area. You could actually see out of it and hand an elbow out.
I would love to see any make of car with a lower, and wider stance, and less of a big butt to the car. These tall cars, with too tall belt lines and enlarged ends are a bit too much.
#1572 of 4409 Lincoln & NWO II
Jan 13, 2007 (9:51 pm)
Jaguar remains a problem child at Ford Motor. The on again off again announcements about its fate also reflect the confusion within the top ranks at Ford. It should be noted that Volvo also tied Lincoln in terms of sales---as did Audi. Lincoln sold 81,206 cars in 2006, Audi 80,113, and Volvo 82,607. The Audi figure becomes important considering Messrs. Winterkorn and Wiedeking's comments that they intend to raise Audi's market share by 50% through 2012---and they will do it by capturing Ford Motor customers. Jaguar sales crashed to a paltry 30,424 in North America, yet matched Lincoln world-wide at 84,193 (production).
The Mark R is based from a Mustang. The Mark S from a Volvo/Jaguar platform. Replacement for the Town Car is due from Ford-Australia. Thus Lincoln's fate (for now) is being piggy-backed onto other Ford Motor platforms, without having a unique frame of its own. Lincoln has the better chance of revival than does Jaguar with its upcoming C-F show sedan (which looks like a demolition derby crash between a Jaguar and a Volvo) designed by Ian Callum. (Mr. Callum must be working under terrible constraints!) The precipitous fall in Jaguar sales seems not to be abated, and it should come as no surprise if Jaguar sales fall to less than 25,000 next year. Sir William Lyons did better than that when he ran the company.
Thus it falls to Lincoln---the fulcrum point in the Ford Motor empire---to revive the fortunes and the name of luxury at the Blue Oval. Astons will be gone. Replacements for the XJ and XK will be years away, even reskinned versions. Few people will want to buy a Jaguar that is nothing but a Volvo clone. (The same holds for Lincoln too, but the difference is that real character and performance could be added to separate it from the mundane Volvo line)
Ford Motor should not homogenize its products, especially Volvo, Jaguar, and Lincoln. If anything they need to make the differences even more apparent and distinctive to capture buyers. A wide spectrum of customers could be brought back to Ford by doing so. That is why the fate of Lincoln remains crucial, and especially true if America is not to be left with one (albeit Imperial is coming) and only ONE American luxury label remaining. Cadillac should not be left standing alone against the competition to represent our country in terms of automotive heritage.
That is the legacy that Ford Motor must defend. If the Blue Oval is to mean anything beyond Mustangs and pick-up trucks that young Mr. Ford is so enamored. I would advance the equal argument that Mercury should be made into an Audi fighter...and compete against the lower end of BMW and Mercedes products, not to mention various Asian brands. Ford can't make the mistake of doing what Roger Smith did at GM in the 1980's and 1990's.
The Mark R could start the revival...followed by core products and the eventual opening of a Lincoln factory within the United States with adjunct production overseas. Given the slough at Jaguar, they could even use Castle Bromwich to build Lincolns for European and Asian sale.
(sources: Automotive News; FT)
#1573 of 4409 Re: Lincoln & The New World Order [douglasr]
Jan 14, 2007 (1:17 pm)
(Remember that the original 1975 Seville started from a Nova platform---but you would never know that driving one!)
Interesting, I had a Nova, my uncle had a Seville, in 1975. You're right, driving a Seville, you wouldn't know it was a Nova platform underneath, however you would if you looked at the Roofline - because they were exactly the same. Only I would notice that, however.....only I would.
#1574 of 4409 Lincoln & NWO III
Jan 14, 2007 (8:10 pm)
"Frankly, we toyed with the idea, but the team agreed it wasn't the right way." Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor's new Production Chief stated with respect to the new Lincon cross-over. They didn't "just drop a grille and a badge on it..."
It will be a long slog back. The competition is very far ahead. November 1, 1945 Lincoln restarted production after World War II. Lincoln would build only 16,645 cars for "1946". Imperial followed with 1,400, and Cadillac would build 1,145 1945 and 29,194 1946 model year cars. That year Ford Motor was third behind Chrysler in the marketplace. It would take Lincoln more than 40 years to catch and surpass Cadillac---which it did briefly. Now Ford Motor is once again in nearly the same position as it was in 1945---third, but part of a market that is three times as large.
Lincoln has retrenched. The long road back begins now. Just as Cadillac has revamped its product and regained position and market share, Lincoln can do the same. Cadillac must not end up being the sole proprietor of the luxury market among "American" marques. Lincoln now has the advantage of lower expectations from the public and an "underdog" position. Thus it can capitalise on the corporate resources to march two paces ahead from where it now sits.
Since no "voice" exists within Ford Motor to promote Lincoln other than design staff members, as Mr. Lutz promotes Cadillac, and an obviously eager team is promoting Imperial at DCX, then it remains to point out what can be at Lincoln....
(Sources: Automotive News; Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars 1945-1985, Motorbooks International 1987)
#1575 of 4409 Lincoln & NWO IV
Jan 16, 2007 (9:17 am)
...the real problem remains that as Ford Motor slips in market share in North America, it lowers its global sales totals. This becomes obvious when compared against the gains of VWAG-Porsche (effectively now one company).
VWAG sold 5,733,000 cars and trucks world wide in 2006, a gain of 9.3%, with a profit before special items of E526 per vehicle ($700). VWAG gains attained double digits in some markets, such as the 22.3% gain maide in Asia-Pacific, with Audi gaining 38.2% in China alone. Ford Motor sold 6,631,718 vehicles world-wide in 2005. That number is expected to drop to 6,100,000 in 2006 if not even lower. That means that given Ford Motor's own projections, and VWAG-Porsche's expansion plans, by 2009 the two companies should reach parity in terms of sales. VWAG is spending the
same amount of money within the next 24-30 months at E24.3Bn
that Ford Motor is committed to spending. About E149 per vehicle sold based on future projections.
The "throw-weight" of capital investment is essentially the same, what is at stake is far greater for Ford Motor: a a make or break deal. If VWAG succeeds under Messrs. Piech, Wiedeking and Winterkorn, it will become the third largest auto firm in the world by volume, surpassing Ford Motor. Lincoln and Audi sell the same numbers of cars in America, but world-wide Audi surpasses Lincoln, having sold 1,337,000 vehicles. Certainly the two brands are often divergent in their market segments, but Audi is upgrading, and even Ford acknowledges it as a would-be competitor for Lincoln....
Thus it becomes true that the final match has begun for Lincoln. Why cars like the Mark R becomes more important...evne the Mark S. It's a few minutes to midnight at Lincoln and Ford Motor.
(Sources; VWAG January 11, 2007 stock reports; Porsche AG Annual Report, July 31, 2006; Automotive News.)
#1576 of 4409 Loving Lincoln
Jan 16, 2007 (9:36 am)
No problems or issues with my 07 MKZ! I love it and everyone who rides in it loves it. Lincoln is doing something right!
#1577 of 4409 Lincoln...and loving it. .
Jan 16, 2007 (10:43 am)
Nice to hear from a driver (BT) of the latest car...MKZ. At least it is a start...
#1578 of 4409 Re: Lincoln...and loving it. . [douglasr]
Jan 16, 2007 (11:18 am)
I like everything about the MKZ. I purchased a AWD Vivid Red one with Black on Nickel Satin. Loaded it up with all of the options for around 35k. The car rides like a champ and is extremely quite. My brother owns a Lexus and states that the Lincoln ride is smoother. The Nav is really easy to use and follow. I especially like the fact that the Nav and sound system is all touch-screen. I owned a Zephyr (sold it to a buddy) and I can feel the difference the additional horses make. So yes, I am a happy camper with no complaints.