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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#3786 of 4170 Re: October sales [akirby]
Nov 03, 2012 (7:08 am)
Yes, the CTS is at the end of its product cycle, and the 2014 will soon arrive. That Cadillac is increasing sales at all is a very good thing in this market for the same reasons I previously stated. You don't think that the 2013 MKZ (poke the bear: if it ever gets here ) won't cannibalize already meager MKS sales? It is almost as roomy, and arguably better looking.
Again, this is cut-throat stuff. Mercedes and BMW did not get to be on top here by sitting on their heels. Because I am old, I remember well when BMW started to move upmarket while not abandoning the lower end of luxury.
Mercedes has done the same over time. Right now, Mercedes sells 19 separate model lines in the US, with plans to introduce 11 additional (not replacement) models in the next couple years. Now, of course they are much better equipped to do this, because for one thing, their reputation is intact, and they now have a proven track record for selling several profitable models in the $90,000 to $150,000 range, where Cadillac, Acura and Lincoln cannot reasonably go at this time.
Even so, several of their new models will be entry level luxury. If Mercedes and BMW (or Lexus or Acura or Infiniti) offer a model competitive with a new Lincoln, Lincoln will be at a competitive disadvantage for awhile by having an unproven name.
You don't think that anyone expects Lincoln to be #1 in two years? That goes without saying. To at least be back in the race in two years and lapping at the heels of Infiniti and Acura would be awesome, but it will be tough to even reach that level of sales. Even if Lincoln continues to be underwritten by the Ford brand for many years more, it could still take a generation before Lincoln bests Audi or Cadillac again.
Unless BMW and Mercedes pull some truly stupid moves (it could happen), Lincoln is unlikely to ever attain their stature. That's ok. Being a solid force to steal significant Cadillac sales would be enough.
#3787 of 4170 Re: October sales [gregg_vw]
Nov 03, 2012 (10:43 am)
You don't think that the 2013 MKZ (poke the bear: if it ever gets here ) won't cannibalize already meager MKS sales?
Absolutely. The difference is the MKZ is built from an existing platform while Caddy used new platforms for the ATS and XTS. Caddy needs more incremental sales to cover the platform costs.
#3788 of 4170 Re: October sales [akirby]
Nov 03, 2012 (11:26 am)
I read that the ATS platform will be used for the next generation Camaro, and possibly a future Buick model. The total of these whould solve the volume matter. Also, a future generation of the Chevy SS sedan may replace the Holden platform with the ATS platform, but that's speculative at this point.
#3789 of 4170 Re: October sales [akirby]
Nov 03, 2012 (11:36 am)
Cadillac created the ATS, not to create a halo car, but to get into a volume area as Lincoln intends to do. The new CTS coming in a few months shares architecture, albeit stretched, with the ATS. The XTS shares a platform with both Buick and Chevrolet (see 2013 Impala). And Cadillac is already selling more than double the number that Lincoln does. Those are luxury models remember...where the profit per unit is higher. That's why Ford wants Lincoln. That's why VW worked so hard to build up Audi. VW now makes about as much profit with Audi's much lower volume as it does with the entire VW brand.
#3790 of 4170 sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige
Nov 04, 2012 (1:03 am)
I just cannot believe the remarks posted on this blog site. Most of the posters here believe that giving Lincoln a different body style with some exclusive- for the first few years- electronic do das really does put Lincoln with its American Ford Fusion/Mondeo platform on par with BMW , Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Vauxhaull, and Cadillac V series. Do any of you know what a prestige mark is? Only the unenlightened and misinformed person would buy any Lincoln when one can get the same vehicle in a lower priced Ford.
#3791 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [unitedkingdom]
Nov 04, 2012 (2:40 pm)
I disagree, unitedkingdom. I don't think most posters believe that "giving Lincoln a different body style with some exclusive- for the first few years- electronic do das really does put Lincoln with its American Ford Fusion/Mondeo platform on par with BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Vauxhaull, and Cadillac V series."
However, Lincoln has to start somewhere if it is to survive. What they have been doing for the last dozen years or more is not defensible. Going forward, they know they have to do more than different styling and some exclusive electronics. But they are starting from the ashpile they have created.
Plus, while you may know better, there are lots of people who prefer a more exclusive brand, even if it does not deliver substantially more than the mainstream nameplate on which it is based. That is true with many products, not just automobiles. That is why the Lexus ES (Camry or now Avalon) has been such a success for Toyota. The Infiniti JX and QX are closely based on Nissans. Audi and Acura share some architecture with certain VW and Honda models. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that the TT has underpinnings shared with the Golf and Beetle does not stop people from paying much greater sums for the Audi. It is a proven way to get sales, and sales are something Lincoln does not have. The MKZ is based on the Mondeo, but the Mondeo is a good design and a good starting off point.
Perhaps all those buyers are unenlightened and misinformed. Many brands must say thank goodness for such buyers or the new Honda Civic would have tanked. If some U & M buyers pick up the MKZ (which is more differentiated from its Ford counterpart than any Lincoln has been in years), it helps Lincoln get back into the market abd earn some revenue. It buys time while better designs are forthcoming.
Again, I think that Lincoln has to set its sights on stealing sales from the likes of Acura and Infiniti until they begin to approach parity with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. They can compete with Acura for example with well-designed, shared platforms. They can build slowly in a very competitive market, but what they cannot do without additional resources is design and market fully exclusive designs right now or in two years time. That is an unfortunate reality.
Meanwhile, if some buyers do think the new MKZ is on par with some of the brands you mention, so much the better for Lincoln right now. The inept executives have proven their uselessness, and if Lincoln survives, you will actually see some prestige product from them in the next few years.
#3792 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [gregg_vw]
Nov 04, 2012 (5:32 pm)
I agree with you. However, I wonder whether Ford Motor Co. can survive, long term, with just the Ford brand. It seems to me that Ford Motor Co. needs a luxury brand, but if not Lincoln, then what?
#3793 of 4170 I Guess That the Good News. . .
Nov 04, 2012 (6:24 pm)
is that various people cared enough to make 3792 posts related to the brand.
It's a start.
It's been more than a half-generation since Lincoln did anything really interesting and I'm guessing that it'll be most of the balance before they do it again. Anyone who remembers that Lincoln used to amount to anything will be dead or in the waiting room by the time anything worthwhile happens. At that point the brand will be starting with a clean slate, much like Hundai did a couple of years ago. Well, isn't that special.
Where I work they preach (but don't practice) the concept that being nimble and quick is what wins the battle and the war. I guess something that takes 5-8 years qualifies as nimble somewhere, but not in today's economy.
#3794 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [hpmctorque]
Nov 04, 2012 (6:54 pm)
Ford is doing great on its own right now so I'm not sure why you think Ford needs Lincoln to survive. If anything Lincoln is a cost center right now not a profit center. They could kill it tomorrow and Ford would be fine.
Lincoln needs volume vehicles not niche halo vehicles. They need much better dealer service which they're also working on. This is a marathon, not a sprint and Ford can af-ford to wait a few years for all the pieces to fall into place.
Anyone who understands business plans can see what Ford is doing with Lincoln. It may not be sexy and it may take longer than people want but it will pay off with profits much sooner and be more foundationally solid going forward.
#3795 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [akirby]
Nov 05, 2012 (6:29 am)
I hear you, right now things are okay for Ford and, in the short term, Lincoln is more a more of a negative than a positive for the company. The reason I suspect that Ford Motor Co will be handicapped without a luxury brand, in the long run, has to do with margins and market volatility. That is, profit margins tend to be greater on luxury cars than on mass market ones, and luxury brand volume is less sensitive in times of economic downturns. For these reasons, If Ford is unable to turn Lincoln around, it's my guess that the company will either buy a luxury brand or merge with another automaker. The best possibility for Ford, however, is to eventually restore Lincoln's position as a major luxury brand.
As an aside, for the life of me I don't understand why Ford discontinued the Lincoln LS. I believe that was a mistake. Granted, the LS wasn't a great car, but discontinuing rather than improving it sent the message that Ford was giving up on differentiating Lincoln from its mass market brand. I think having Lincoln be primarily RWD, as Lexus is, would have helped Lincoln regain its luxury standing. The next Mustang platform could provide Lincoln with an opportunity to add some much needed excitement to the brand.