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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

Lincoln’s billion-dollar question - AutoExtremeist
December 5, 2012
By Peter M. De Lorenzo


Last week, on the first of two media days at the L.A. Auto Show, the Lincoln display was filled with some of the most iconic cars from its history. The next day the entire display was filled with versions of the all-new MKZ. And on Monday, December 3, Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Ford Global Marketing Chief (and Lincoln brand leader) Jim Farley went on a media tour in New York with stops at talk and business shows to introduce “The Lincoln Motor Company,” signaling the relaunch of the brand into the American luxury market.

And so it begins. The reinvention of Lincoln is going to be dominating the airwaves and media sites for the next 60 days. You won’t get far before running into a piece of communication about Lincoln. For instance the lead print ad that appeared on Monday in national newspapers provocatively asks and answers the following question: “Does the world need another luxury car? Not really.”

And that is the High-Octane Truth, because the U.S. luxury market doesn’t need another luxury car. It’s a segment already piled high with luxury brands like Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz all overlapping and sniping at each other for the same piece of luxury market real estate. And the wannabes like Hyundai are hovering at the perimeter waiting to gain a foothold. And now Lincoln wants back in...

...Lincoln, in a tip of the hat to its roots, is going after the premium motorcar ideal, one not solely limited to luxury, but that includes refinement and a composed capability as well.

That means you won’t see any lap times listed by the new MKZ from the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife. And I say thank goodness
...


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 04:58 PM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

Should they just go after the ultra luxury market if the luxury market is saturated?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 08:54 PM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

nice read I always liked Peter DeLorenzo's work. He seems optimistic about Lincoln but until they build me a proper LS replacement I won't be as much

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

Quote:
Originally Posted by nruggiero View Post
Should they just go after the ultra luxury market if the luxury market is saturated?
First...I need it specified how plain old 'Lux' customers would be served, since if FoMoCo doesn't do that, they got no bizness going UltraLux
imho.
Plus
I'd really need a dial attached to the word "ultra"

think it's a Fact (could be wrong) that Lincoln has always, from the start, been a Luxury Brand
(various degrees of success, of course)
but really only the 50's Continental MkII was UltraLux afaik
(and as I know you know, N.R., that was a separate Division)
so
I'd START with Lux and keep UltraLux ambitions firmly grounded in what FoMoCo calls "sustainability" & "guiltless luxury"
&
as I say, "Excess is rarely in good taste"
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 09:29 PM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

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Originally Posted by 2b2 View Post
First...I need it specified how plain old 'Lux' customers would be served, since if FoMoCo doesn't do that, they got no bizness going UltraLux
imho.
Plus
I'd really need a dial attached to the word "ultra"

think it's a Fact (could be wrong) that Lincoln has always, from the start, been a Luxury Brand
(various degrees of success, of course)
but really only the 50's Continental MkII was UltraLux afaik
(and as I know you know, N.R., that was a separate Division)
so
I'd START with Lux and keep UltraLux ambitions firmly grounded in what FoMoCo calls "sustainability" & "guiltless luxury"
&
as I say, "Excess is rarely in good taste"
Ford should just quit the lux business and start building big rigs again like they used to do because I really don't see this "reinvention" as a successful one. They could build the most fuel efficient trucks in the industry.

I'm beyond frustrated.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 02:44 PM
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I agreed with all of his column 100%. It might have made sense to go after BMW, MB et al in the late 90's, about the time GM started to gear up Cadillac.

In 2012, I don't think it's as feasible in this market and, as I've said, I don't think the brand had as much good will and legacy to build upon. The problem was that for much of the modern auto era, Mercury was little different from Lincoln. Now there's no Mercury.

The world doesn't need and the market isn't asking for yet another BMW knockoff. I personally think Lexus is making a mistake leaving their cushy contemporary luxury niche and gunning for BMW/Audi performance. I am sure Lincoln will be happy to saunter into that space.

I don't think Lincoln ever will or should be BMW/MB, but I bet they would be very happy being a good Acura or Buick...

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 05:21 PM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

So...

...one thing the esteemed Mr. DeLorenzo didn't mention as much is "product". While I do think that attacking the perception of Lincoln is a needed step, it's up to the much-discussed 150 new employees, the design center, and the billion dollars reportedly invested in the marque to seriously outperform its recent efforts. In short, Look at the MKX, MKS, and Navigator..and say NO.

Those three are arguably the most blatant offenders in the "gussied up Ford" category. The approach that got them into production has, in a word, failed. The entire brand can't outsell the Mustang month-to-month, and the Mustang is definitely a niche car in this era of ever-smaller engines and hybrids. I also chose the Mustang (as opposed to saying Lincoln can't consistently sell one-third of the Fusion's sales) by pointing out that the customers all over sites like this and especially in social media ask for what they want VERY consistently:

1. RWD.
2. BIg Comfort.
3. Big Power.
4. A new "Town Car".
5. A new coupe/convertible.

I watch all the Ford/Lincoln corporate threads on Facebook, and those five things are always on the wish list-always. People chime in about their Town Cars and the 300,000 miles on the respective clocks, and how they'd like a new one. They talk about their Mark VII/VIII and how much they liked a big, powerful coupe. They ask for a roadster/convertible. They ask for the best elements of what's come before, hoping for new products that have all yesterday's charisma with today's technology.

I'll admit, it pisses me off 'til I see red that the best "Town Car" on the market right now is the 300C. There's a fair number of Mark VIIIs for sale where I just moved, and I both think about trying to afford one and feeling bad that nothing in a Lincoln showroom stirs the soul in the same way...and the Mark VIII wasn't really that well-received or that big of a success. ****, today its successor would likely have to be a "sedan/coupe" like others out there. Long doors and modern parking lots don't mix.

Lincoln needs to do a very public reinvention, and the perceptions can be partially changed by the media blitz underway...but reinventing the product is possibly more important, and I'm not sure the MKZ is enough of a first step in that direction.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 08:21 AM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

I wouldn't call the 300C a Town Car replacement...more like mid-eighties Continental replacement.

Now, if the MKZ is not enough of a first step, let's look at the next steps.. (compact CUV, Large SUV, Large car based on stretched mid-size platform...all based on Ford products(Escape, Expedition, Taurus) with new skins.

This will work fine if Lincoln wants to compete with Buick, Acura, Volvo.

My question is...Can Lincoln generate a profit while doing this. If not, it will be liquidated. Ford has a whole lot of things they need to spend serious money on in the near future.

The early bird gets the worm..but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 11:42 AM
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Lincoln I think now is making a step in the right direction, but they should have done this a couple of years ago.

The Navigator is too old and should have been changed to an MkN or something to put it in line with the rest, or Lincoln could go back to the names instead of 3 letters. Zephyr just sound regal, no pun intended. The MkT could be Town Car and the MkS could be something.

Adding a couple more vehicles would be nice and maybe the MkC would have been a nice classy small car. I still want to see a MkR. Such a nice looking beast.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 11:52 AM
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Re: Lincoln going after the premium motorcar ideal - AutoExtremist

Quote:
Originally Posted by nruggiero View Post
Ford should just quit the lux business and start building big rigs again like they used to do because I really don't see this "reinvention" as a successful one. They could build the most fuel efficient trucks in the industry.
If the rear drive rumor is to be believed then I see hope for the "reinvention" of Lincoln.
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