Saturday, April 13, 2013

Will China save Lincoln?


Ford will be selling Lincolns in China in 2014.

They have claimed for years that Lincoln can be an international brand. Even hinting at possible European sales for a while.
Which of course, would never work. As the name Lincoln is practically unknown over there. 
Brands like Lexus and Infiniti are still having a hard time . Even Cadillac, whose name is widely recognized, is a minor player in Europe.
So why Ford thought of selling Lincolns over there is a mystery…

Now comes China. The savior of has been brands...
I guess Ford is trying to “pull a Buick” over there now.
Buick sold about 162 000 cars in the US in 2011. (Lincoln sold 77 000 cars in 2012)
But over 1 million in China in 2012 alone!

So I can see why Ford wants to sell Lincolns over there.
They could even fold the brand in the US and just sell in China and be successful!
Here in the US, it seems that Lincoln is now mostly a rental car brand. 
I never see a MKS without a rental car sticker on it.
The new MKZ has been getting average reviews, and so far has sold very few units.
The upcoming "Fancy Escape" MKC seems really nice. But it will be pricey. And still mostly an Escape...
It can be done. If Lexus can do it, I am sure Lincoln can sell fancy versions of Fords. 

But that name, Lincoln... Who under 65 would ever step into a Lincoln dealership? Even if they were making the best cars in the world they would still have this horrible image problem.

What do you think?

Should Lincoln give up in the US?
Can they still sell cars here while Cadillac is getting more and more popular?
Should they become a China only brand?

14 comments:

Tard said...

Lincoln is going to fail at their desired pricing point as long as there is no fundamentally good answer to the following question: "why should I buy this Lincoln over similarly priced competitors?"

Image - no.
Price - no.
Performance - no.
Comfort - no.
Features - no.
Tech - no.
Quality - no.
Service and customer treatment - no.

They need to hit a few yes's in those categories for more sales to be made, but no's in every category means no sale. Their only claim to fame - a somewhat bigger sunroof and a push button transmission - isn't justification to part with $45k.

Lincolns would sell if they only cost about 10% more than the Fords upon which they are based, but at 25% or more higher you are way better off going to a brand that offers you the same or more for your money, and that you don't need to explain why you chose Lincoln.

Besides, the friends of the folks who bought Lincolns all complain about the dealership experience.

Dav said...

Honestly... I recently test drove the 2014 MKZ and found it to be an impressive driving and well-appointed vehicle at a very reasonable price point.

I also found the styling, inside and out, to be quite striking and forward-thinking.

If the 2014 MKZ is any indication as to where the company is going - They Deserve To Do Well.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed when it comes to your Ford posts it always something negative. My opinion you seem to be very biased against Ford anyway. In my opinion Lincoln will be fine, Ford will be fine.

Hube said...

They need to try harder.

- Ditch the double wings style and hire new young designers with fresh ideas.

- Rear wheel drive!!! use the platform of the the new Mustang.

-Stop using common parts
with Ford cars like gauges, multimedia, buttons, etc

-Exclusive technology like 9 speed gearboxes, adaptive damping and others.

Anonymous said...

They should never had sold jaguar, that is a brand that has international recognition.

Anonymous said...

When you offer an amazing product, the brand image and sales will reflect that. So far the products have been half hearted, nicely styled cars with feeble underpinnings for a premium brand. And Lincolns image and sales reflect that. They've been attempting to pull the wool over customers eyes for over forty years and, frankly, the competition is too fierce now for Lincoln to continue this way in the US. As the Chinese market matures and learns what a luxury product ought to be, this won't work there either.

Mobis21 said...

Lincoln? What the hell is a Lincoln today. That is Ford's biggest problem and they remain in denial of its irrelevance in the U.S. market place.

Lincoln is failing because Ford refused to invest in modernizing and updating the brand by creating rear wheel drive cars rather than clones of Ford vehicles that premium buyers demand.

Their current design language only perpetuates the stereotypical archetypal so common to their bygone heydays.

Anonymous said...

The criticisms here of Lincoln apply equally well to Lexus, Acura, Infinity. And the only one (of these) selling more than Lincoln in the US is Lexus. The MKZ is a phenominal vehicle in both styling and technology. It's Hybrid version puts most Hybrids to shame. And in China they will have no more problem selling cars than Lexus/toyota (which means they shouldn't expect BUICK numbers in the near future.) They can't hold a candle to a BMW--but neither can Lexus and they seem to do just fine at fooling most of the people most of the time. I wouldn't count them out. Ford invented automobile manufacturing (first efficent assembly lines) and has been one of the top Manufacturers world-wide for over a century. In fact, without the distractions of VOLVO or Jaguar or LandRover; I think the future of Lincoln looks brighter than ever.

Education Project said...

This is the same company that used to own Aston Martin Volvo Land Rover and Jaguar.

Ford's revival is impressive and purely a product of chance, and what had held them back before was the entire system that had allowed them to barely get by through the entire last decade. If you re-watch their little documentary series on youtube, "Ford Bold Moves," it is painful to see that an entire company admitting all the garbage they used to tolerate, at every level of the company. That system, of mediocrity, was supported throughout all level of management, and they're just now seeing the benefit of not settling for anything less then a first-rate product.

But even now, they still have much to learn. Hyundai and Kia prove that Mercury and Ford could have existed side-by-side. But the argument from corporate to staying the course was that the American consumer doesn't want that, just like they didn't want European Ford's. It's too radical, and as a moronic executive framed it: "The product cycles just don't line up..." As if American's would have complained about getting a Mercury Mondeo in 2008 simply because the Milan was launched 2 years earlier.

And VW has proved that you can have a vertically integrated model, with brand overlaps, and do strikingly well. It's profit last year rivaled Exxon Mobile and Chevron. VW has something akin to ONE FORD wherein platform and part-content sharing is exceedingly high but they also allowed these brands much greater autonomy. Audi has its own R&D, independent of VW, housed in a completely different location.

VW also builds its components, so instead of buying them from an OEM parts supplier, who would profit off of that, they do it in-house, while building a great body of knowledge in how to build a better car! VW gets to keep that money to itself, pay well-trained VW employees to do that work, and still has the same level of efficiency that a traditional manufacturer has by then sharing that tech with other brands it owns.

That Ford could have been the VW of North America is a could-have-bin that now resides in the trashbin of history.

What remains for Ford is clear. They aren't in a position to negotiate the way forward considering they've mortgaged everything they own, down to the Blue Oval, just to stay afloat. So, by default, they have to be Conservative with Lincoln. They would launch a new Continental tomorrow if they could, but the budget is tight, they have to stick to going after the biggest segments: D-segment sedan, E-segment executive, and now, with the MKC, a J-segment compact SUV. They obviously need a C-segment sedan just to remain relevant amongst car buyers, so that, along with a refresh of the MKX and MKS are their obvious next moves. So given their current circumstance, and working with what you have, please try to do everything in-house. Bringing in and staffing FoMoCo with the brightest engineers will pay off immensely, which Ford is beginning to do. But take it a step further, and allow Lincoln some autonomy. Decentralizing and disconnecting Lincoln from the main brand began when they moved LiMoCo headquarters to New York, along with Design, and Marketing, but they can do a lot more to go further. Invest in Lincoln's own R&D staff, and staff them in NY as well. And let Lincoln pioneer tech that also makes it into Ford's, because people resonate better with a VW that has a Porsche developed platform, and VW tech is seen in a more elevated light, if it qualifies to be used in a Porsche. And make nothing less a product worthy of its pricepoint.

Education Project said...

This is the same company that used to own Aston Martin Volvo Land Rover and Jaguar.

Ford's revival is impressive and purely a product of chance, and what had held them back before was the entire system that had allowed them to barely get by through the entire last decade. If you re-watch their little documentary series on youtube, "Ford Bold Moves," it is painful to see that an entire company admitting all the garbage they used to tolerate, at every level of the company. That system, of mediocrity, was supported throughout all level of management, and they're just now seeing the benefit of not settling for anything less then a first-rate product.

But even now, they still have much to learn. Hyundai and Kia prove that Mercury and Ford could have existed side-by-side. But the argument from corporate to staying the course was that the American consumer doesn't want that, just like they didn't want European Ford's. It's too radical, and as a moronic executive framed it: "The product cycles just don't line up..." As if American's would have complained about getting a Mercury Mondeo in 2008 simply because the Milan was launched 2 years earlier.

And VW has proved that you can have a vertically integrated model, with brand overlaps, and do strikingly well. It's profit last year rivaled Exxon Mobile and Chevron. VW has something akin to ONE FORD wherein platform and part-content sharing is exceedingly high but they also allowed these brands much greater autonomy. Audi has its own R&D, independent of VW, housed in a completely different location.

VW also builds its components, so instead of buying them from an OEM parts supplier, who would profit off of that, they do it in-house, while building a great body of knowledge in how to build a better car! VW gets to keep that money to itself, pay well-trained VW employees to do that work, and still has the same level of efficiency that a traditional manufacturer has by then sharing that tech with other brands it owns.

That Ford could have been the VW of North America is a could-have-bin that now resides in the trashbin of history.

What remains for Ford is clear. They aren't in a position to negotiate the way forward considering they've mortgaged everything they own, down to the Blue Oval, just to stay afloat. So, by default, they have to be Conservative with Lincoln. They would launch a new Continental tomorrow if they could, but the budget is tight, they have to stick to going after the biggest segments: D-segment sedan, E-segment executive, and now, with the MKC, a J-segment compact SUV. They obviously need a C-segment sedan just to remain relevant amongst car buyers, so that, along with a refresh of the MKX and MKS are their obvious next moves. So given their current circumstance, and working with what you have, please try to do everything in-house. Bringing in and staffing FoMoCo with the brightest engineers will pay off immensely, which Ford is beginning to do. But take it a step further, and allow Lincoln some autonomy. Decentralizing and disconnecting Lincoln from the main brand began when they moved LiMoCo headquarters to New York, along with Design, and Marketing, but they can do a lot more to go further. Invest in Lincoln's own R&D staff, and staff them in NY as well. And let Lincoln pioneer tech that also makes it into Ford's, because people resonate better with a VW that has a Porsche developed platform, and VW tech is seen in a more elevated light, if it qualifies to be used in a Porsche. And make nothing less a product worthy of its pricepoint.

Anonymous said...

"I've noticed when it comes to your Ford posts it always something negative. My opinion you seem to be very biased against Ford anyway. In my opinion Lincoln will be fine, Ford will be fine."

I don't know about that, but anyone who takes a honest look at lincoln the last 20 years should only be shaking their heads. It is clearly a neglected brand and their attempts to revive it have been half hearted. Unfortunately the $$$$ that was lost it jaguar/RR/AM and other Nassar endeavors should have gone into lincoln.

Anonymous said...

There is lots of opportunity for successat Lincoln - but they need to do a few things right.
- Embrace their past. Look at Caddy - that's exactly what they did w/ CTS...the nod to the fins/ tail lamp...the nod to the vents over the CUE, hell - even the grill is classic Caddy. Lincoln has yet to do that.

Market the brand - I know a guy who owns a 2nd gen MKZ - and hand no idea about the 2014 model. Sorry - that POS ad for the2014 is an embarasement - and that agecy should be gassed.

MKZ was an ok start on rebuilding the brand - but the entire portfolio needs help...where is the halo car??? And - sorry to say it, I'm not a fan of the grill (which is a GREAT oppportunity for them to change it for that nod to the past...)

Anonymous said...

Buick was the most popular car by far in China in 1930. The Chinese still want them!

Anonymous said...

btw...you are right...Lincoln would have failed in Europe. Of the three luxury brands mentioned only Lexus manages to sell some cars here. Infiniti is still new, but I see them sometimes. I almost never see Cadillacs, though.