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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#3180 of 4409 Re: How reasonable is it to expect [brucelinc]
Aug 02, 2010 (5:04 pm)
Now the news is that the MKT, like the Ford Flex, will be going away in 2013. No second iteration for either one of these relatively new efforts. Ford has had no luck lately with these people movers/minivans/CUV-like wagons. Neither the Freestar or Freestyle caught on. The Taurus X was no better sales-wise. The Flex has largely been a sales flop too. Not that any of these were/are not good vehicles, but they have not been able to catch the wave of some of the competition.
The 2011 Explorer has its work cut out for it. This former sales leader has been dying on the vine for years, and it is still another (heavily reworked) iteration of the the Freestyle/Taurus X/new Taurus. It is longer and wider than the 2010 Explorer, yet if anything looks a bit more compact, and the third seat is in fact less roomy. Starting at around $30K may work against it, especially when given an obvious competitor, the new Kia Sorento (former rear wheel drive body on frame, now front-drive based unitized) costs so much less to start.
I keep hoping Ford knows what it is doing here, but meanwhile (to get back to the thread topic), the prediction is for an Explorer-based vehicle for Lincoln. We have lately seen how that did not work for the MKT, which went from polarizing, but eye-catching concept to a long, relatively dowdy wagon. I keep thinking those incessant focus groups are carefully rejecting the very features that would make any vehicle a real standout in the marketplace.
Anyway, I am just wondering...do you think a vehicles like the 2011 Sonata or Kia Soul or the new Mini were focus-grouped to death before coming to market? I don't know, but I don't think so. Heck, I don't know if the Explorer America concept would have sold well (I think it would have, but what do I know?), but the 2011 Explorer, with its awkward details (nice interior though), bears no relationship to the concept.
We will never know what Ford could have done with the 427 sedan concept, or the 2002 Continental concept or the NaviCross for Lincoln, but we should know by now that carefully dumbed down things like the Five Hundred, the 2008 Taurus, the MKS, the MKZ, the cool Fairlane concept turned into the too-long, too expensive Flex...such efforts don't really work out. Thank goodness for the F150, the Mustang, and now the Fiesta. But what does Lincoln have that will light a fire in the salesroom? Nothing, even though all their vehicles are decent efforts.
I am sad that the MKT is such a dud. I had such hopes for it when I saw it in concept. In real life, it compares very well with competitors like the Audi, but so what if the buying public doesn't see it? The Aviator concept that preceded the MKX was the same way. The significant details lost in preparing it for market lost the attention-getting part that the 2011 Sonata found. Yes, sweat the details that have nothing to do with looks (Hyundai is doing that now), and then give it the looks too.
Ford is on a roll with the F150, Mustang, Fiesta, Fusion, and probably the 2012 Focus (though the competition in this class is really heating up next year). Lincoln has no standouts. None. I hope whoever approved the MKS design many years ago now (we shouldn't count the MKZ, a stop gap effort after Bill Ford actively tried to starve Lincoln), has gotten the boot. Caution has been nothing more than wasting precious resources. Following will not keep this boat afloat. Meeting the competition will not keep this boat afloat. The world does not need Lincoln. Lincoln needs to pull a 1961 and blow everything out of the water.
#3181 of 4409 Re: How reasonable is it to expect [gregg_vw]
Aug 03, 2010 (5:22 am)
That story was bogus. Ford is actually working on a Flex refresh that insiders say is stunning (whatever that means) and the MKT won't go away until they have a better replacement. The market that the MKT competes in is small anyway so it will never have huge numbers. But both have high ATPs and the Flex has high conquest rates so they're still valuable.
I don't disagree with the state of current Lincoln products, but I just don't understand your lack of faith in future Lincoln products. You seem to think Ford needs to be GM to compete which I REALLY don't understand given their financial performances to date.
#3182 of 4409 Re: How reasonable is it to expect [akirby]
Aug 03, 2010 (9:25 am)
I don't think Ford needs to be GM. You seem to think GM needs to be Ford. Under the circumstances, I think they are both fine with the plans they have adopted, given their respective situations.
Yes, I do question why I should have faith in future Lincoln products. The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln. The MKT was supposed to be a solid effort from the newestLincoln thinking. There is no reason Ford could not hire the talent to make Lincoln a competive division. But something isn't translating in the process. I don't know what the problem is at this point, but they need to fix it. They do not have unlimited time in which to keep missing the mark.
#3183 of 4409 Re: How reasonable is it to expect [gregg_vw]
Aug 03, 2010 (9:40 am)
The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln.
The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been like trying to restart a cardiac arrest victim's heart with a foot of telephone wire and a AAA battery.
THIS is what Lincoln once again needs to be!
#3184 of 4409 Re: How reasonable is it to expect [gregg_vw]
Aug 03, 2010 (10:34 am)
The MKZ, MKX MKS, MKT have been incremental stabs at reviving Lincoln. The MKT was supposed to be a solid effort from the newestLincoln thinking. There is no reason Ford could not hire the talent to make Lincoln a competive division. But something isn't translating in the process. I don't know what the problem is at this point, but they need to fix it. They do not have unlimited time in which to keep missing the mark.
Ford made $5B the first half of 2010 and there is no reason to think they'll earn any less in the 2nd half with the Fiesta hitting full stride. They're making so much money now that they're paying down debt in huge chunks. And they're able to do this while still investing heavily in new vehicles. So please explain to me why Lincoln is in so much danger and can't take 2-3 years to get its act together like Ford did with the Ford brand? Unless Ford starts losing money again (which seems impossible at this point) then I don't see the problem.
The MKT is the only clean sheet Lincoln at this point. The exterior is questionable and it's in a very small market segment so it's hard to judge it based on sales volume. The MKS and MKZ are still holdovers with only minor tweaks done in the last 2 years - they're nowhere near their potential once they get a clean sheet design. The Navigator will only be a niche product now (as are all full sized SUVs) but has to wait for a new F150 based platform along with the Expedition - can't justify a unique platform for such small sales potential.
The MKX is the closest thing to a clean sheet design from Lincoln other than the MKT but it still must share a greenhouse with the Edge until the full redesign (this was just a mid cycle refresh). But the new interior is stunning and blows away the SRX especially with MyTouch and other features as do the drivetrains. Exterior styling is a draw - I like both. But I think the MKX also has more interior room. We'll have to wait and see how it sells compared to the SRX.
Let's count the Cadillac duds in the interest of full disclosure:
first gen CTS
first gen SRX
The next gen Lincolns will have no excuses - they're fully funded now and with Mercury (and Volvo and Jag and AM and LR) out of the way there should be no excuses.
You really can't judge Lincoln on what it's done so far - the question is what does it do now that it's getting the attention, funding and resources that it's been lacking for years.
GM is "getting by" with lots of fleet sales and huge incentives. Ford is making money hand over fist with half the brands, only slightly lower sales volumes, half the employees, lower incentives and fewer fleet sales.
Ford fundamentally changed how they do business. GM has not.
Ford is building one vehicle that can be sold globally with minor variations. GM is taking Opels and putting Buick badges on them (again).
I'm still waiting for you to explain the business rationale for keeping GMC. That to me is the single most glaring evidence that GM still doesn't get it.
Aug 03, 2010 (1:22 pm)
" In real life, it compares very well with competitors like the Audi, but so what if the buying public doesn't see it?"
And there's the rub...if the buying public does not see it or does not want it, it dies...
I always thought that the Lincoln LS was a beautiful, understated car, that was well made (never had one)...yet, just today in conversation about cars, one guy mentioned he had a friend who owned an LS that was pure junk...he referred to things like, "if she was lucky enought to have it start and run, she could go to work that day" and "it spent more time at the dealer..."...
Maybe it was only that one car, but it was not what I was expecting to hear about the LS...
#3186 of 4409 Re: gregg vw [marsha7]
Aug 04, 2010 (6:12 pm)
The 2000 - 2002 LSs had a number of issues, but as far as I know from 2003 on up they were pretty good. I know of a number of people who had early LSs who basically swore off Lincoln forever. Some because of problems and others because Lincoln abandoned the sport sedan segment, altogether.
The Aviator had some engine problems, too, and that has not helped Lincoln's reputation. Of course, at least one poster here had an early LS and an Aviator but I don't think he has given up on Lincoln.
In my opinion, today's Lincoln products, MKS, MKX and MKT in particular, are far better than they are given credit for. The image of the brand is very tarnished, however. I don't know of many people who would aspire to own a Lincoln. While the current products are good, they just aren't distinctive or special enough to overcome the boring, stodgy, "just a gussied up Ford" image. The XYZ naming has been a source of confusion, too.
#3187 of 4409 Re: gregg vw [brucelinc]
Aug 04, 2010 (6:27 pm)
I like where Lincoln is headed - finally. And I do look forward to owning another one someday.
#3188 of 4409 Re: gregg vw [akirby]
Aug 04, 2010 (8:19 pm)
I like that I can throw in some opinions here and get some discussion going. Lincoln needs people to talk about it, good or bad. Subaru for chrissakes gets about 100 times as many posts on edmunds...talk about a boring brand. I don't care if people agree with me. I will still get to work (I wish I never had to work another day in my life), and will still enjoy my evening martini.
Even though Lincoln really does suck as a brand, it was still my favorite luxury car when I was at an impressionable age. I don't think anyone can blame me for thinking or saying that a lot of people who make a lot more dough than I do, really screwed up what was once an actual luxury brand. And now that there has been an effort to really turn things around, they are still issuing bonehead decisions that lead to no increase in sales. Ford can make all the money it wants (and I hope it does), but if they cannot figure out how to make Lincoln relevant, the brand will still be toast.
#3189 of 4409 Re: gregg vw [gregg_vw]
Aug 05, 2010 (5:28 am)
Gregg - I really do respect your input even if I disagree with it. And I don't think anybody will disagree that Ford really screwed the pooch on Lincoln the last decade or two. And Ford cars for that matter. It's taken Mulally over 3 years to fix the Ford brand and fill in missing voids like the Fiesta with best in class products. That will be almost complete early next year with the new Focus and Explorer.
We've only seen bits and pieces of the new Lincoln so far. The Ford team knows exactly what is required to make Lincoln competitive and based on what happened with Ford so far I have no doubt that they'll make it happen as quickly as possible. But cut them a little slack - they've only just begun.