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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#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.
#3796 of 4170 Lincoln: What a Mercury Should Be!
Nov 05, 2012 (6:51 am)
I believe Lincoln's current lineup would make for some very nice Mercuries, but as Lincolns, they leave much to be desired. As it is, Lincoln is now what Mercury was - gussied-up Fords.
#3797 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [hpmctorque]
Nov 05, 2012 (6:56 am)
Yes, you make the point well. Ford will need a viable luxury brand in the long run, just as every other company seems to agree. Even Hyundai and Kia are beginning to offer luxury models, and that effort will morph into a luxury brand at some point. Ford is fine now as Ford only short-term (in fact would be better off without Lincoln) but as Ford only their recent growth is now close to stalling, even while many other brands are showing doubl digit increases. It wouldn't take much for some other brands to steal some of that market share Ford has won back. Ford especially needs a luxury brand in Europe. BMW is weathering the downturn there much better than Ford and Opel and Vauxhall and Fiat.
#3798 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [hpmctorque]
Nov 05, 2012 (7:02 am)
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've related this before so the regulars can skip it. The LS was a great idea and a pretty good car (I bought one 6 months after it debuted) but it never had a viable business case. The Jag platform and engines were very expensive (just look at all the aluminum in the suspension). The business case was to sell it in Europe and do 100K/year total. That was never realistic. Plus PAG did not want Lincoln infringing on Jaguar so Lincoln never got the supercharged version of the Jag V8. Had they been able to shoehorn the 4.6L V8 in there on the assembly line that would have kept the costs down and allowed a higher performance version.
I firmly believe that Mulally would have built a great global RWD sedan platform that would have been even better had he been hired a few years sooner or the economy had not collapsed. I think they are getting there with a global mustang and parts sharing with the Aussies but it's still just too expensive with limited short term payoff to do a true global RWD platform. But I do think it's coming - eventually.
I think having Lincoln be primarily RWD, as Lexus is, would have helped Lincoln regain its luxury standing.
Lexus is only primarily RWD if you count models. If you count sales it's a different story.
ES 5,971 CT+HS 1,202 Total FWD 7,173
IS+GS+LS+LFA Total RWD 4,474
If you were starting over would you rather have 2 vehicles that sell 13K per month or 6 different ones that only sell 6K per month?
#3799 of 4170 Re: Lincoln: What a Mercury Should Be! [lemko]
Nov 05, 2012 (7:15 am)
Hmm, hadn't thought of that. Interesting, though.
#3800 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [gregg_vw]
Nov 05, 2012 (7:17 am)
I agree with each of your points.
#3801 of 4170 Re: sales volume at the expense of quality and prestige [akirby]
Nov 05, 2012 (7:23 am)
Good points! However, I think the main problem with most Lexus RWD models is with a so-so execution rather than the strategy.