Last post on Dec 07, 2013 at 9:04 PM
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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#4131 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [akirby]
May 04, 2013 (10:52 am)
Cadillac is temporarily sharing a platform with the 2014 Impala and the XTS. They also share the Escalade platform with Chevy, not unlike most every company that still makes a body on frame full-size SUV. The SRX however is not the same as the Equinox (which shares its architecture with the GMC Terrain). The CTS, CTS coupe, CTS wagon, ATS and coming large car (which will be the flagship, and probably the death knell for the XTS) share nothing with Chevy.
Maybe GM is starting to get it? Get what? Ford's solution to re-making Lincoln?
GM has spent a ton of money on Cadillac. To go back to dressed up Chevys at this point would make no sense. They have re-built some market share--not an easy task in this VERY competitive and crowded market. They have re-established some credibility. They now have a market in China and a beginning one elsewhere.
This fight is not going to get any easier at all. Platform sharing can work, if the engineering and details are done with great care. So can FWD/AWD.
But the market continues to demand greater exclusivity. That is one reason why VW uses completely different architecture for the Passat and CC and A4 (the A4 is engineered with the engine further back, like a RWD design). It could be coincidence of course, but Audi sales have grown remarkably since Audis have stopped looking like mainstream FWD models.
Making excuses for Lincoln will not help them. This brand needs to pull out some stops, whether they share all platforms with Ford or not. I doubt that there is any cheap way anymore to gain purchase in a field of luxury brands that is light years better than it was just 10 years ago. Starting to get it? Let's see if Lincoln is starting to get it first.
The MKZ will sell, as there is a market for Avalons and ES350s and Azeras. But these are not the cars that are garnering accolades and building the reputations of their brands. Lexus can cater to this crowd and make big bucks, because after all, they are Lexus, and in addition to the 350, they have many exclusive models as well.
There is not much of a market remaining anymore for cars like the Taurus and Impala and and Lacrosse and XTS. As that market shrinks slowly, the slack is being taken up by mid-sizers, small CUVs and compact cars. GM sees the writing and that is why there will be a RWD full-size Cadillac and a RWD Buick Regal. I fear a re-designed MKS, even if not so tall and ungainly looking, will still not attain lots of sales, because FWD large cars in general are losing ground.
The MKC will be coming into one of the market's current sweet spots. If it can catch a break, it may outsell the older SRX. But where are the innovative ideas that create market categories...past examples of Ford being many: Thunderbird (4 seater, and later 4 door), Mustang, Explorer, the Mark coupes, Navigator? The MKT debacle was about as bad a botch as the ovoidly weird 96 Taurus and the Edsel.
Focus groups will often lead you astray. I've been in a few, and I cannot imagine how that data garners such importance, when studies show that people will say and do things in these conditions that do not translate at all to their behavior in the real world.
The Taurus should stand as a ready and constant reminder to Ford how easy it is to botch a better idea. Or how easy it is to go from top to bottom because you think you understand what is going on when you really don't have a clue. They have managed to claw back some respectability to the Taurus name after so many years of mucking it up. But it is still stop-gap, and Ford knows the current Taurus could easily be a better machine than it it is.
Transfer that to Lincoln. The MKZ will satisfy many customers but it will not change Lincoln's reputation. Subsequent iterations and products will have to do that. Maybe Lincoln is starting to get it?
#4132 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [gregg_vw]
May 04, 2013 (12:28 pm)
I guess you missed that the ATS platform will also be used for the Camaro and another Chevy car in addition to the CTS. Can you imagine the outcry if Ford tries to use the Mustang platform for a Lincoln flagship? Some will forgive it as long as it's RWD but others will say that Lincoln is an also-ran because it's not using bespoke platforms.
You're putting too much importance on "reputation". The only thing Lincoln needs is good luxury vehicles that are nothing like Fords.
And no - it doesn't make any difference if they start with a Caddy or a Chevy - platform sharing is platform sharing.
#4133 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [akirby]
May 04, 2013 (2:31 pm)
You just don't seem to get it, Allen, but that is ok. You apparently do not have any influence at Ford now.
For pity's sake, I cannot imagine anyone would make an outcry if Ford used the Mustang chassis as a basis for a Lincoln model. People have been crying for that for years. And it would only improve the Mustang. Further, I don't think anyone would confuse a Camaro with a CTS, even when they eventually share some of their architecture. Same with Mustang and Lincoln.
You say the darnedest things sometimes trying to illustrate your point that Lincoln is doing just fine now with their plans. Yes, in fact the only thing that Lincoln needs now is good luxury vehicles that are nothing like Fords. They do not have that now, and the MKZ is not yet an example of that.
Reputation is important, and it is built. Lincoln squandered its reputation, and intends to build it back.
If Lincoln could differentiate its vehicles from the Fords sharing the same architecture, as much as the ATS and 2014 CTS are differentiated from each other, that would be terrific. But even so I predict that if Lincoln survives, they eventually will have at least one model that Ford does not offer...unless of course it is related to the Mustang...in which case we will all cheer.
#4134 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [gregg_vw]
May 04, 2013 (2:50 pm)
Excellent summary and commentary!
#4135 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [gregg_vw]
May 05, 2013 (11:43 am)
If the MKZ is a "tarted up Ford" then why wouldn't a mustang based Lincoln be the same? You're either sharing a platform or you're not.
The MKZ is only about 80% of where Lincoln wants it and it needs to be. But even so it seems to be selling very well with minimal capital investment compared to what Cadillac has spent on the ATS and CTS to date. That's a win by any stretch of the imagination and it tells me that they're on the right track.
What if the MKZ continues to outsell the ATS and CTS?
May 05, 2013 (1:58 pm)
I got asked if I wanted to trade, after I was told they did not see a problem. And this was with another dealer after multiple issues with bad workmanship from the first and this problem likely evolving from bad service at previous. Not just me also. Grandson bought used truck with warranty. Transmission starting to slip, kept it nearly two weeks and then told him they did not see problem.
I'm at this different dealer because previous worked on rear brakes and then it started veering to left with brake apply. Mechanic said he did not see problem. Service writer drove, said no problem. I showed him and told me I had to talk with service manager. Service manager drove and said not a problem, blamed it on road. Then they are testing on wrong road for all vehicles they take in. Luck happened, Lincoln repshowed up, he drove. Yes there is problem, but not brakes, must be alignment. All within green area except toe. They aligned and I paid. Still goes left with brake apply even though straight handling has improved a bit. NOTE: anytime I ask for align at tire shop they bump all settings toward nominal. Not this bunch of clowns and now my steering wheel is crooked. Also for any further work I need to take back to previous shop, the ones that resulted in hard pedal and weak brakes after working on front brakes. Service like this can kill you. Then I learn son-in-law is having issues with this dealer as well on a new powerstroke 4x4.
These situations roll down hill from Ford so don't bye the buck passing. And if you've got some dream vehicle, you need to have someone else build.
I told sales they were daft. You can not fix, why would I want another.
Lincoln rep comment on first bunch of clowns, "they're withering on vine."
I conclude FL is and so is the rest of Detroit.
#4137 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [akirby]
May 05, 2013 (6:08 pm)
Allen, you are incorrigible. I did not say the MKZ was a tarted up Ford.
You also state that "you're either sharing a platform or you're not." Well, let's go back a few years to when you claimed that buyers could not tell that the Explorer and Mountaineer shared the same body. Well, I begged to differ on that, and I beg to differ on your black and white thinking now.
The 2014 CTS and ATS will share a platform, but no dimensions. Different wheelbases, length, width and height. Two different sizes and classes. Yes, they share a platform, but not in the way Fusion and MKZ do.
If the Mustang and a Lincoln sedan share a platform, you will also see completely different cars for different buyers. Ford will not put a Lincoln sedan on the same wheelbase and dimensions as a Mustang coupe.
The VW Phaeton, Audi A8, Bentley Continental coupe and convertible, and Bentley Flying Spur sedan all share architecture. Nonetheless, they do not share dimensions or much of anything anyone can perceive. The A8 uses aluminum architecture. Yes, they all share some underpinnings, but they are not perceived to be related like for example the Sonata and Optima are (which incidentally don't even share a windshield).
The next Camaro will be based on Cadillac architecture, not the other way around. The next Mustang could easily be based on Lincoln ideas of what that architecture should be. There is long precedent for that within Ford. The 1961 Lincoln was accompanied by the 1961-63 T-bird. The later Mark coupes were issued with luxury Thunderbirds.
Even within Ford now, there is platform sharing that spawns some really different creatures: Taurus and Explorer, and Flex and MKT with a longer wheelbase. Setting aside that the MKT was not one of their better ideas, no one confuses it with a Taurus (or MKS).
So you can do what Cadillac does at great expense and develop platforms that are RWD and not much shared, or you can use a good platform in many different and creative ways.
Or you can do what Lincoln has been doing with MKS, MKX and MKZ and hope for the best, i.e., "what if the MKZ continues to outsell the ATS and CTS?" Stranger things have happened. (Witness the Camry still near the top of the mid-size charts, despite its excellent competition.) But it is not a good bet in this fiercely competitive premium market.
I don't think many people notice at this point that the Fusion and MKZ do share a windshield, front door glass and all hard points. They did a good job differentiating the bodies. But I do hope this is the last time they cheap out details like that.
Fords have gotten better, much, much better, and the performance and level of equipment you can get on a Fusion Titanium is little different from many MKZs. Ford has moved many of its models upmarket.
I think that is why current Lincolns strike some people as Mercurys. They are not as different from Fords as when you compare a Malibu and a CTS. The difference is more like comparing a Malibu and a Regal, or an Impala and a Lacrosse.
So there is platform sharing and platform sharing. Ford has already proven it can completely differentiate vehicles using the same architecture as a base. Heck, no one would ever think unless you knew that the previous Volvo S80 and Taurus shared architecture. Ford did it then (unfortunately, neither model for different reasons took the market by storm.)
So, do it NOW, when you intend to offer a real premium car. Dedicated platform, shared platform, hybrid platform, who the hell cares if the resulting premium vehicle has its own personality, and even better can run with the best?
#4138 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [gregg_vw]
May 05, 2013 (7:41 pm)
Once again you totally missed the point. First I was simply correcting your statement that ATS/CTS wasn't sharing a platform with Chevy. And if you read my earlier statement you'll see that I think platform sharing is actually good if executed directly. I never said that ATS/CTS platform sharing was bad. Quite the contrary - they should share a platform.
However - using the same platform for the Camaro would either result in a less than perfect Caddy platform (if it's cheapened for the Camaro) or a far too expensive Camaro platform (if it's not cheapened). Both can work but there would have to be compromises somewhere and the same would apply to mustang/Lincoln.
Personally I don't care about platform sharing as long as the vehicles are different enough and both are well executed. I was simply responding to those folks who always say that platform sharing is terrible when Ford does it but have maintained Caddy was better because the platforms were not shared. Now that GM is sharing even the Caddy platforms they can't really say that any more.
BTW - my comment was about the Explorer and Aviator because the Aviator had a unique interior and I stand by it.
#4139 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [akirby]
May 06, 2013 (6:47 am)
Well, to be perfectly correct, the Camaro and Cadillac do NOT share a platform. The plan is for the future Camaro to do so. The current Camaro and the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan share a platform. Again, I don't think anyone will see those two as the same or similar either now, or when they are both renewed. That flexible architecture is going to be used a lot in years to come, for Cadillac, Chevy and eventually a flagship Buick.
The ATS platform for a future Camaro will NOT be a "far too expensive Camaro platform." It's a better size for a Camaro than the current Holden platform. It is obviously a very adaptable platform. Lincoln could execute a similar plan at some point. Whatever compromises you think are necessary could be handled with varying lengths, wheelbases, height, width, suspension tuning, even unique front subframes (Hyundai's solution to creating the Sonata and Azera).
But bottom line, everything is a compromise, even deciding to build a unique platform with its inherent costs and possibility of killing other potential models. It just depends on how much compromising you are willing to accept as "acceptable."
Also--you previously did make the same claim about the difference between the Explorer and Mountaineer, as you did with the Explorer and the Aviator bomb.
#4140 of 4409 Re: April MKZ sales [gregg_vw]
May 06, 2013 (4:33 pm)
Cadillac is to start to engineer the new gen ATS platform next year to be used on the next gen ATS-CTS in 2018. It also continues with the Omega premium platform supposedly produced using carbon fiber components to lessen weight while making the platform the most rigid uni-body presently available. The next gen Camaro is to be introduced as a 2016 model with the present Alpha platform which would be obsolete to Cadillac in a few years when the new Alpha is introduced. However, Cadillac division is trying to thwart the sharing of its platforms . The division believes that to compete with other premium marks Cadillac platforms should be used exclusively on its products. Some GM executives are open to letting the Camaro contiue with a Zeta2 platform as well as its use on the limited production rwd Buick Riviera. So who knows what the future holds. But Cadillac is really doing some exciting engineering once only done by the the European premium marks. The sad thing is that the further Cadillac moves ahead ,Lincoln moves backward. There was a time when Lincoln produced a better engineered or product than Cadillac.
I went to a Lincoln dealer to inquire what is meant by value pricing . It was comparing prices of similarly equipped Lincolns against similar BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Audi, Hyundai Equus. The comparable Lincolns beats them in price by at least 7K. Now to a premium buyer , I'm wondering why are these other makes more expensive than a Lincoln. What is the Lincoln Lacking?