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Lincoln Zephyr, Lincoln MKS, Lincoln MKX
#566 of 4409 Lincoln & The Final World Order
Sep 03, 2006 (7:12 am)
In a memo to all Ford Employees, William C. Ford Jr. stated, 09-02-06: "We have aligned Ford-Mercury-Lincoln product development much more closely with Mazda and Volvo to achieve greater efficiency and produce more exciting vehicles. We have achieved similar success with Ford of Europe and P.A.G...." And MR. Ford adds: "Over the past few months I have made it my business to become more passionately involved in the detailed operations of our business..." In his bromide on 'Leadership' he stated: "These should not be days of 'fear', as one headline put it recently...". The memo outlines the strategy emphasizing the 'Way Forward' plan, Global Structure, and Leadership are the key factors that the 'team' is now focused upon.
Lincoln sales dropped 2.2% for the year to 82,132, and down 9.5% for August at 8,979. Town Car sales down 16.6% for the year as the model winds down at 26,989; LS crashing 48.8% with its discontinuation at 7,922; Zephyr the only bright spot selling 21,938 cars for the first eight months of 2006. 35,000 cars in its first year is not unrealistic for Zephyr. Jaguar sales continued its precipitous drop, minus 30.4% for the year at 15,350 with only the XK increasing 106.5% for August selling 393 cars, and 69.2% for the year at 3,043. Come the end of this month, Lincoln will have very few cars to talk about at the Paris Show...Mark Z & S being the only thing remaining...as Wixom will close far sooner than next spring. If you don't want a remaindered TC/LS, you have no choice but to pay more for a new "Z", or buy what is left of Zephyr stock. It's getting harder to buy a car called a Lincoln....and MR. Ford seems to have ensured that holds as what is left of Ford Motor automobiles are being merged toghether into a single car line with minor variation between the brands.
With the competition moving very fast, and Mr. Nasser putting his chips on the table, one wonders what details will be left for Mr. Ford to "pay attention to" by the time the dust clears. Fear is not the word I think I would use to characterise what is now happening at the Blue Oval. Mustang sales shot upwards 64%---one speculates that people might be getting nervous that Ford will move to bankruptcy and begin to curtail production of cars they want, so they are buying them now rather than later.
Mr. Ford pushed Wolfgang Reitzle out the door four years ago July 1, 2002, and he was the last publicly acknowledged Ford Executive that had a plan to invest in Lincoln..."I think the strategy is a convincinvg oneand this principle is independent of the people proposing it...the Lincoln brand is not sharp enough and is not consistent enough..." PAG his bailiwick, and when his Lincoln plan was rejected, and its offices moved back to Detroit, he left going to Lindt AG in Germany, which just merged with BOC to become the largest natural gas supplier in Europe. Landing Mr. Fields his job, from which he as quickly promoted again---bringing him to Detroit to hold sway over Lincoln. Now the whole of PAG may well be gone...and still no plan for Lincoln has been announced, much less hinted at, other than ubuqitious comments about 'luxury for the blue-jeans set., beyond 'merging' platforms together. At the end of the day there will just be different flavors of the same platforms...unique cars at Lincoln will be gone, as is the chance for them seemingly dimming---if we take MR. Ford at his word.
(Sources: Ford Motor Company; The Car Connection, Mike Davis interview with W. Reitzle, April 12, 2001; WSJ)
#567 of 4409 Good news comes in twos?
Sep 05, 2006 (12:52 pm)
1) 15 Billion barrels or more just discovered in Gulf of Mexico! Rev up your SUVs.
2) Bill Ford just stepped down. Ex-Boeing chief taking over. Maybe Ford/L/M will take flight after all?
#569 of 4409 Re: Interesting article [scott1256]
Sep 05, 2006 (3:17 pm)
Wow, good article.
Sadly that pretty much sums up the situation.
#570 of 4409 Re: Interesting article [scott1256]
Sep 05, 2006 (3:31 pm)
"Wow" is right. It is a good article. It nails FoMoCo management.
Sep 05, 2006 (9:29 pm)
It takes a lot to send a guy who bleeds Ford Blue out the door, but Bill Jr. finally did it to me....He's clueless, Nasser fired all the "car guys" because they were white, I guess, and so what you have left, is Accounting. Make a hellova car don't they?
#572 of 4409 Lincoln & High Flight at Ford
Sep 06, 2006 (5:38 am)
"It's the best car in the world"---Alan Mulally said of his Lexus 430. "It's being keyed right now..." Bill Ford Jr. said at the press conference introducing Mulally at the new CEO of Ford Motor to Bill Ford's 'promotion' at Executive Chairman. No different than the arrangement in Germany whereby Bernd Pischetsreider reports to Dr. Piech at VWAG.
Hopefully Mr. Mulally will not prove to be the 'Roy Hurley' of Ford Motor---Hurley representing the 'Management' Curtiss-Wright brought to Studebaker-Packard in 1958 that led to the demise of the company. "The reaons he called was not to restructure, not to get rid of stuff, not to sell it off...He called because he wanted to make the finest cars in the world." Mulally said yesterday at his appointment of CEO of Ford Motor.
"I think the U.S. can compete...there's no reason why we can't be the best in the world..." He added.
Mr. Mulally must now buy a Ford Motor product. If he is smart, he will arrive in a new Lincoln when he drives into the Glass House when he starts his tennure October 1. Though there are fewer competitors within the aero industry, the stakes are higher. He may know nothing about cars, but by making tough choices saving Boeing and bringing the 777/787 and checkmating AirBus, means that the various brands now might have a chance as resuscitation at Ford. Palace Politics aside, being that WCF Jr. could not convince another auto executive to run the company, this might be the best bet.
Jaguar and Astons will go...Land Rover might form the last triad of Mr. Nasser's new company. Ford and Mulally can use that money to regain what they lost.
(Sources: WSJ, FT, Ford Motor Company, Detroit Free Press)
Sep 06, 2006 (6:16 am)
has lots on Ford's management change today as well as a serious look at what needs to be done immediately with Lincoln. Ford news in both the 'Rants' and 'On the table' sections found at the link below are good reading.
Seems like Ulrich Bez is putting together an employee buyout of Aston Martin. He wants to continue managing A-M as well as being a major shareholder.
#574 of 4409 Heck...
Sep 06, 2006 (6:56 am)
...if Mr. Mulally really thinks the Lexus LS430 is the best car in the world, perhaps he should try to get Lincoln up to that status. I would love to see a Lincoln with 1961-65 styling with a Lexus quality interior and workmanship.
#575 of 4409 Re: Heck... [lemko]
Sep 06, 2006 (7:31 am)
Amen, lemko. One thing is for sure, this is the last chance for Ford. Either Mulally will made dynamic, sweeping, (draconian?) changes and resurrect the company, or it will die unceremoniously as the last dynasty of American Business.
I agree with Lemko though - Finally we have a guy who doesn't think the Town Car is the benchmark for quality in the Luxury segment! They desperate need that input!
Driving an LS430 myself these days (only because Lincoln doesn't make a large Luxury sedan anymore), I can say from experience that it's not the best looking Luxury Sedan around, inside or out, but functionally, tactilly, kinetically, it is. If Ford can even get close to that level of tangible quality you can feel, and make it look great, Lincoln could get me back.