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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#235 of 4398 Re: Lincoln versus the World II [douglasr]
May 27, 2006 (7:46 am)
Bold, well thought out plan, douglas. Unfortunately you aren't running Ford. Even if you were, it'd be 2012 or so before Ford could bring anything like that to market if they started today.
Neither am I of course (probably a good thing) but I want to add my 2cents. Having been part of a focus group a year and a half or more ago, I saw what I'm 90% sure was either 2 versions of the TC replacement, or a TC and a Continental replacement (my preference). One (or both) of these will surely be the 'D' sedan due in 2008 or 9 I forget which.
The cars are stunning to look at. They outshone all the other comparison models in the focus area incl Lexus, Caddy, Infiniti and more. Absolutely beautiful cars, one with a more sporting look than the other (my choice for Continental). They do not resemble anything Ford has on the ground right now. Probably more like the MK S than anything, but more Lincoln-esqe than the Acura-like MK S.
All that said, I of course do not know what platform they're on or what drivertrains they'll have etc. The natural guess is that they're stretched 500s/Volvos. Their size will probably demand more punch than the Organ maker's engine in the MK S or the 3.5 six for sure. What will that be? Anyone? V10? :>) Probably only one of them will actually make it to mfging and that would be a shame, they are that different. It will probably be the more sedate one as well cause I spoke to a couple of other group members who picked the sedate one as their favorite while I picked the sportier of the two. (And remember, this was the favorite of all the cars shown incl top of line Lexus, Infiniti M, etc. Stunning vehicles, I hope they drive like they look.
#236 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [euphonium]
May 27, 2006 (8:26 am)
Not lookign to argue or anything...just out of curiosity...isn't replacing a Lincoln with the Jag still supporting the same company?
I hope you buy a used one...those things will depreciate to the ground.
#237 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [euphonium]
May 27, 2006 (2:56 pm)
"If no more Town Cars, this traditional Town Car driver will replace his 4.6 with an XJ8."
Interesting thought - that's the direction I was headed for a sedan, and got sidetracked by an S-500 along the way, which had so many things wrong with it, I bought a Lexus as a rebound consolation prize...... I still would like the XJ-8, thought it's a bit low for me.....
Not sure the transition will work though that smoothly. It wasn't an automatic switch at all.... I wonder if Bill realizes that a Town Car and an XJ-8 are not only 2 way different cats - they are way differently priced!.
#238 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [nvbanker]
May 29, 2006 (8:45 pm)
It's the difference that attracts me to the Jag. I've just completed a 3,000 mile loop and did not see one 2004 or 5 XJ8 & my trip included WA, ID, WY,UT,AZ, CA, OR & WA.
None in Sedona.
Still though, I'm curious to see the 07 Town Car.
#239 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [euphonium]
May 30, 2006 (5:22 am)
Why? It looks exactly as it has for many years. It remains hard to distinguish from a 1998.
BTW, the 1998 was actually a rebodied and slightly stretched 1991 Grand Marquis (the 1990 to 1997 TC had its own body distinct from the Crown Vic/GM). The 1991 Grand Marquis was a rebodied 1979 Grand Marquis. In other words, there's nothing new to see. And there's no hope of a new Town Car before the the 2009 model year at the earliest...if Lincoln is still selling cars then.
#240 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [nvbanker]
May 30, 2006 (5:28 am)
"If no more Town Cars, this traditional Town Car driver will replace his 4.6 with an XJ8."
I think the traditional Town Car buyer will replace his with a uplevel Chrysler 300 or Cadillac DTS. An XJ8 is too exotic.
#241 of 4398 Lincoln & "The Springfield Plan" v. World
May 30, 2006 (6:35 am)
....just as Lincoln benefited from GM's switch to FWD in the 1980's, Chrysler and GM will benefit to Ford's failure to invest in its car platforms and upgrade what works. Tom La Sorda at Chrysler is planning the expansion of Brampton to handle the special Imperial production line-up, and the lwb 300's. Mr. Lutz was quoted by Edmunds that they had infact confirmed they can sell 100K plus Camaro's per year to make that platform feasible...a four door varient of that car not far off either. So RWD is where the specialty cars are going.
Town Car, and Lincoln never left that market. Mr. Press at Toyota had declared Lexus will go after that market---upscaling their LS series cars. Cadillac continues to increase sales of their V series and baseline cars as they have improved dramatically under Mr. Lutz. Messrs. Ford, Fields, and Ms Stevens want to bring flexble production capacity to most Ford plants, up to 82% now, and higher into the decade. If they are not going to move Town Car Production to China, then...
The Springfield Plan might save Lincoln in America. Chicago will get the 'stretched' Ford 500 within 18 months and the public won't buy the bet in my estimation---Versailles was a joke as a rebodied & pimped Granada---any rebodied Ford 500 would have to be completely unrecognisable as such in order to succeed. But we already know its individual Lincoln plant will be gone. Both Cadillac and Imperial will waste no time in pointing that fact out.
Ford Motor needs to pick a site outside Springfield Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln for whom the car was named by Henry M. Leland. Close enough to Ford's manufacturing facilities in Chicago, easily accessed by rail, Lincoln Motor could be reestablished at Springfield. The original stone masonry of the "Lincoln" name from the Livernois Plant was preserved by the Lincoln Foundation, and could be purchased and built into the new modern structure. $300Mn would finance the building. Ford could hire the same architect that built the Leipzig BMW plant, which was built with great efficiency and speed, plus winning architectural awards, and allowing a maximum production rate of one car per minute.
Town Car production could be shifted from Wixom, the production tooling refitted to accomodate the new methods of manufacture for different models---$50-75Mn to switch plants. The line could be set up much as BMW has done in Spartanburg for flexbility to produce two different (and soon three) types of vehicles. In this fashion two other Lincoln models could be accomodated with variation on each platform. Lincoln Motor restablished along with the new plant, more independent within the Ford Motor Empire. By doing so use of aluminum stampings and extrusions direct from Castle Bromwich in England could be utilised in a next generation Town Car, along with specialised engines from the Aston factory at Koln. Ford's engine casting factories would still be within a convenient radii for shippping 'V8 motors' to Lincoln.
Ask the 1,650 remaining Wixom workers if they want to relocate---half might. Give them a ten year contract, with allowances for inflation, and a given health care package amenable to both sides so Ford is not placed in the GM bind. Doing so tells the workers their wages will not be as high as they might have been, but not low enough to reduce them to subsistance or too low a standard of living. More important, 68% of all suggestions made by Japanese Auto workers are accepted---because they have a garanteed wage and employment package so aren't afraid to make changes that speed efficiency in the plant---knowing they won't lose their jobs as a result of the change. (American workers' suggestions have rarely tipped more than 24% acceptance, few willing to make changes that might eliminate their jobs!) This reason alone allows Toyota to build cars in an average of 15 hours labour versus almost twice as much at their competition. In this way the employee hours per vehicle might change with an increase in quality. Breaking down the hostile barriers between the company and the management is a key factory in the success of the competition.
And...open a Lincoln Motor Museum near the factory. Put several of each types of Lincoln automobile ever made in the museum, setting it up as an independent foundation but aided at the start by Ford Motor---which could be funded by the Ford Foundation. Much like the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum a stones throw away in Auburn, the Lincoln Museum could also house the papers of the Lelands, the respective Lincoln documents from the Ford eras. Springfield, Illinois could not object to such an infusion of cash and interest into their city---the respective Congressmen, Senators, and the Governor welcoming the investment. Much as Corvette owners do, Lincoln owners could gather at the factory and museum for shows and special events, bringing in further cash and gravitas to the entire venture.
Mr. Ford says he treats his employees like "family". He sits behind his grandfather Edsel's desk, who together with Clara Ford with a handshake saved Lincoln from tax court liabilities February 4, 1922, that would have ended the legacy of Henry M. Leland at that time. Infront of the new factory, beneath the 'Lincoln' inscription---bathed in light---should be statue of the famed meeting of the minds: Mr. Leland, Mr. Henry Ford, and Mr.Edsel Ford. The inscription below: "Now I want to make the best..."
Our economy grew by 5.2% in the first quarter of this year, can we not now instill more of that growth in the one sector that creats more jobs, and has a greater cumulative effect than any other. By doing so he could bring his workers back into the corporate fold, and rewrite a chapter in the labor relations between company and employee---afterall that is the subject that Mr. Ford wrote his college thesis on: "Labour Relations and the Ford Motor Company" Mr. Ford says he wants to regain the high ground, and compete against all comers, expecially Toyota. The Springfield Plan is a way to place the corporate bet on the table, and tell his competitors like Mr. Press---it's going to take a lot more spade work to beat Ford Motor---the back of his spade should say: 'This ones' for you Jim'...
(Sources: 'Decline & Fall of the U.K. Motor Industry'; FT; WSJ; Ford Motor Company)
#242 of 4398 Re: Lincoln vs. The World [euphonium]
May 30, 2006 (7:25 am)
Come to Bellevue...you'll see them daily. The other day I saw some odd sport model, it had big wheels and vents in the front quarter panels. Was that an "R"?
I'd think a Lexus LS would be a natural progression from a TC
May 30, 2006 (6:39 pm)
Obviously they arent going anywhere with the new lincs, just look at what they will be selling next year. Linc/Merc will be closed in five years if they dont do the obvious, make better more interesting and dynamically driven cars. First all chassis need to be replace with light weight aluminum. V6's need to make at least 300hp, v8's 400 and limited White Knight editions 500hp. Make each vehicle car and truck alike loose 500 to 2000lbs a piece. Use hybrid tech for the tree huggers and optional oil burners for the rest of us. Make them all drive like BMW's and interiors like Audi's and we may have a winner. Listen no one loves American Lux like I do but they have to make something I want and I dont like Caddies.
#244 of 4398 Lincoln v. World III; 375 Days and Counting!
May 30, 2006 (7:01 pm)
Mr. Delorean would be proud. Pontiac announces that it is switching to RWD for its future product plans, and chassis. Binding in a synergy the concept that rwd is performance, unmatched by what fwd ever attained. Regardless of your opinion on that issue, Pontiac is going back to its roots to revitalise its fate and products.
Bill Ford, Mark Fields, and Ann Stevens, author of the 'Way Forward' plan can't ignore the shift in the marketplace for specialist cars that shows that rwd still has a place within the market. And that place should also still be occuppied by Lincoln. Aston-Martin continues to fine tune its chassis with the new 500PS DBS Coupe that will debut in the James Bond Film Casino Royale. It's too bad that 'Mr. Bond' can't be seen pulling up in a new rwd Lincoln show car as much as he did in 1965---in a four door convertible! Which, of course, is possible with the technology available today---and being considered by Chrysler on the 300 chassis.
Yet word is that internal corporate termoil about the 'Wixom Decision' still exists with certain (unamed source) executives declaring that many within Ford Motor don't understand the rational for closing one of their highest rated plants (by Harbour & Associates) making a product that the market is shifting back towards---despite trippling of fuel costs. And that the announcement was premature, given that product plans for Lincoln Town Car for '09-'10 were not yet completely frozen---owing to the fact that the existing platform could remain in production for some time with improvements in drivetrain and accomodations. "The 'Way Forward' plan is a plan to nowhere..." according to one Ford Executive.
While it would be nothing less than fantastic if Ford executives 'reconsidered' their decision in light of GM's moves, (giving them appropriate cover from loss of face!) failing that, or overseas production as I have suggested, then the 'Springfield Plan' or anything resembling it, seems to be the only chance to prevent Lincoln from becoming the 'Late Nite Lady' of Ford production. Cadillac and Imperial will waste no time in making lite of their unique production facilities and quality attendant to that. Lincoln must have an answer at that time. Declaring that "Quality is Job 1" at our Ford plant making Lincolns won't cut it. (OR as Jay Leno put it in a joke: "Job Juan"!!)
The 'Last Lincoln' will roll out of Wixom 375 days from now, for by June 15, 2007, Wixom will close when the last Town Car rolls off the line. Traditionalist as I count myself to be, have just that long to convince Ford Motor that a better solution exists than the ones they have ellucidated within Q1 '06 for the fate of eighty years of Lincoln history. There is little doubt that the bets are that neither Ms. Stevens nor Mr. Fields have ever driven the great Lincoln and Continental automobiles of the past whose history they are so quick to abbrogate and divolve to Chicago---rendering the product insignificant or ineffectual with merely a rebadged Ford 500.
Mr. Ford should look at the notes his grandfather left behind, the ghosts of which hide in his desk drawers. He should take heed the market mistakes that his father made with the Mark II, despite the excellence of the product, and remake and redress the past. Bringing a brighter moment to his company and those who work for it. As Lincoln goes, so goes the nation...but will Mr. Ford follow or lead?
(Sources: Independent conversations with "Ford Executives", WSJ, Automotive News, Edmunds Online)