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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#3625 of 4400 GM chair sticking to his guns
Apr 26, 2012 (3:12 pm)
I really like the 2013 MKZ from what I see so far. However, the rest of the lineup is not competitive, given the fast paced changes in the market. The warmed over 2013 MKS and MKT are stuck with the overall shapes that doomed them in the marketplace in the first place. The MKX, with all its improvements, is still obviously an Edge with lipstick, and the poor Navigator, once the king of the world, is not even a player anymore. That old body with new clips has been around since 1998, and that 300 hp V8 is outclassed by everything in its class.
I suspect that Ford will continue to pour money into Lincoln now, until it either becomes other than a laughingstock...or until Ford goes down...who knows what the future brings, but things change far more quickly now. Ford likely cannot succeed over the long term with just one marque...I am not thinking of a company right now that has. Two marques can probably do it, but poor Lincoln is such damaged goods. Mercury with its photocopy Ford products still had a better reputation when it died.
Anyway, I see how GM and Chrysler are now growing like gangbusters. Each has many marques still, although they both have cut their marque lists considerably. GM with Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Holden (the Chevy Caprice here), Opel and Vauxhall. Opel is providing Buick with a lot of help, and Buick is a star currently, given its status in China and growing presence here again. But Opel is a drag on GM overall, and whether GM will be able to move fast enough to compete with athletes like Hyundai-Kia and the newly power-housed VW remains a question.
VW has taken the opposite tack from Ford and Honda (which also is struggling a bit with its luxury brand), and has now 11 separate marques in the group, plus several more they can re-introduce without buying anything (Auto Union, DKW, Hoirch, NSU (remember the wankel engined Ro 80 from the late 60s)? VW had a major slump for awhile, but in this past year knocked Toyota down to #3 (GM is again #1). VW projected becoming the largest car maker by 2018, but now are on track for 2016. Quite a renaissance. Meanwhile, as many new models as GM has in the pipeline and on showroom floors for all its brands, it could go down in the next few years with all that is happening in Germany, China and Korea.
It is an interesting time. My long love for Lincoln does not blind me to the fact that they aren't renewing their lineup as fast as other manufacturers have figured out how to do. MKZ is a bright spot, but they need about six more, and within the next 18 months, I imagine, to become a player again.
#3626 of 4400 Re: GM chair sticking to his guns [gregg_vw]
Apr 26, 2012 (3:49 pm)
Ford could rush new Lincolns but there is no need. Ford is comfortably profitable and is investing in long term success, not short term profit. Dealers are upgrading and I think that's just as important as the products in this market. The new design chief is putting his stamp on the new stuff. Apparently he wasn't able to change a lot on the MkZ - even so it turned out pretty good.
I still think they might have a surprise up their sleeve based on the new mustang platform.
#3627 of 4400 Re: GM chair sticking to his guns [akirby]
Apr 26, 2012 (4:55 pm)
That Mustang surprise is an excellent idea. The new Mustang itself that is coming allegedly with Evos styling would wipe up the Camaro. A few inches to the wheelbase, and voila, 4 door.
#3628 of 4400 Dare I say it?
May 25, 2012 (2:53 pm)
I see how GM and Chrysler are now growing like gangbusters.
Ya think? Give Ford, (or me) $50 Billion dollars, and I'll go like Gangbusters too!
#3629 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [nvbanker]
May 26, 2012 (5:33 pm)
Where else could Chrysler go but up? As for GM - they're still doing the same old GM tricks. Local Chevy dealers are advertising that they'll finance a Sonic for you with a 500 credit score. Chrysler is doing some good things and GM is a little better but they need more focus and to stop trying to be #1 at all costs.
#3630 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [akirby]
May 27, 2012 (3:53 pm)
GM is light years ahead of Ford in China, and it is Asian markets that will count the most in coming years. Ford is wising up and plans to introduce 15 new models in China in the next few years, but in that same time, GM will introduce more than 4 times as many that are designed from the ground up to fit that market. Ford is doing well in the US, and now even owns their blue oval trademark again. Can't fault that. But Mulally gets paid too many millions to do what any number of clear heads within that organization could have done years ago.
I know, woulda, coulda, shoulda. But to slam GM and Chrysler for actually figuring out how to not toss all the government funds right down the old rathole they were formerly stuffing their own funds into is a bit of sour grapes. These two companies, like Ford, employ a helluva a lot of people and allow a whole lot of suppliers and their employees to exist too. The TARP funds are being paid back, not lost.
It's anyone's call how laissez-faire we ought to be as a country in order to be pragmatic rather than ideologues, but both Chrysler and GM are prospering right now. Will that continue? I have no crystal ball. Ford, GM and Chrysler could all be gone in 5 years for all we know. I hope not, but Britain used to have a booming car business too.
The growth in the Korean companies is phenomenal now that they have figured out how to keep renewing their fleets completely every four years or so. Japan is not out, and it is only a matter of time before China finds its niche here. Even if it doesn't, projections are that the US market will become less and less a determiner of a company's success.
Ford needs to revive moribund Lincoln and find a way to pitch it internationally, or create another luxury brand from scratch without the baggage of the long slow ruination of the once proud Lincoln brand.
#3631 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [gregg_vw]
May 27, 2012 (4:24 pm)
All I was pointing out is that Chrysler is simply getting back to respectability and their huge growth this year is due more to how far they had fallen. I think they are headed in the right direction for sure and have some great products.
GM is a lot better but they have not cut their overhead and excess capacity as much as Ford has and they put all their hybrid eggs in the Volt basket and "mild" hybrids. They are decontenting chevys so they don't compete with Buicks and they're offering financing to people with questionable credit. They have an expensive Volt but they don't have any EVs or less expensive full hybrids.
They may do better in China and if so hopefully that will help the bottom line. But Ford simply couldn't afford to go after China before - they were too busy trying to stay in business - without government handouts. And they are handouts until GM and Chrysler pay back every penny they borrowed (which we both know won't happen).
#3632 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [akirby]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
May 27, 2012 (6:40 pm)
Bah, Ford got handouts too.
#3633 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [steve_]
May 28, 2012 (7:31 am)
Bah yourself. Those were loans, not handouts. Ford paid back every penny they got from the government. GM and Chrysler have not. I have no problem with government LOANS as long as they're paid back.
#3634 of 4400 Re: Dare I say it? [akirby]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
May 28, 2012 (9:09 am)
Here's a better link then with a
handout grant for $92.7 million to Ford in 2009 for battery research.
GM, Chrysler, Ford Share in U.S. Grants for Batteries (Bloomberg)
I bet with a bit of digging I could find all kinds of grants to Ford for infrastructure development and employee training and research. Here's one laundry list.
Some of us don't think there's a problem with government/industry partnerships. If building a highway exit and putting in a rail spur creates jobs, go for it (that's exactly what happened in Chattanooga with VW). If VW pulls out for some reason, those "grants" won't be repaid either.
Sorry, I like Ford and own some stock, but I don't think they are any more "pure" than GM or Chrysler for not taking the same bailout offer. Remember, Ford lobbied for the bailout, knowing that if their Detroit competitors went the "regular" bankruptcy route, a lot of suppliers would fail too, and that would hurt their recovery efforts as well.