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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms
Bloomberg
June 12, 2013
by Craig Trudell

For those who think the car-buying experience stinks, Ford Motor Co. (F) is teaching its Lincoln dealers about fine cheeses.

Ford is spending more than $1 billion to try to resurrect the Lincoln brand and knows it needs not just better cars, but a luxury car-buying experience that will attract younger, better-educated and wealthier buyers. So it’s putting dealers through training at the Lincoln Academy, where they raise their consciousness and sharpen their senses with exercises including sampling cheese.

It’s a challenge. When one of the trainers asked how old the dealers’ customers are, several shouted out numbers in the 70s and 80s.

“People who literally live their whole lives to aspire to buy a Lincoln,” responded Doug Fiedler, a Lincoln Academy trainer who consults for the likes of Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Norwegian Cruise Lines. “That’s not a good business model.”

And yet whiffs of concern in Dearborn, Michigan, over the state of Ford’s luxury brand are starting to clear from the air thanks to the MKZ luxury sedan, Lincoln’s first of four new models in four years. MKZ posted sales records in each of the past two months and spent fewer days on dealer lots than BMW’s 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, according to data from Bloomberg Industries and researcher Edmunds.com.

Ford, the only one of the three Detroit-based automakers to avoid bankruptcy in 2009, has been on a roll, with record North American pretax profit of $8.34 billion last year and a 0.8 percentage point gain in market share so far this year. Still, Lincoln is important to its future because Ford needs a successful high-profit luxury line to complement a range of vehicles in its namesake brand that is the best in a generation.

Ford slipped 0.9 percent to $15.37 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 19 percent this year, outpacing the 13 percent rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Full article available at link.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 10:12 PM
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Re: Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

the lincoln academy is a good idea, but also is to present new cars
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 08:30 AM
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Re: Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

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Originally Posted by joseodiaga4 View Post
the lincoln academy is a good idea, but also is to present new cars
I agree, best dealers without new cars, will sell nothing. The MK C must be on dealers by fall 2013, the new MK X by 2014 summer, the next Navigator by 2014-2015 winter and the new MK S by fall 2015.... some delay in this launch schedule will be bad for the brand recovery plan.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 09:01 AM
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Re: Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

Last time I visited the dual Ford/Lincoln dealer for a recall (abt 1 year ago), I tried to imagine myself as a Lincoln customer instead. First thing to dull the experience, was the service entrance. All vehicles regardless of brand, type, or age, pull up to a large bay door, which (after waiting for someone to notice) opens for you to pull in. You are now presented with cars in various states of repair on one side, and the service counter (from the 80's) on the other side. You wait in line behind Ford customers, and the employees are running back and forth, and the phones are ringing off the hooks. It smells like a service bay of course. You provide your information, and sign the old style printout. From your position at the counter, you can see some of the lifts with mostly Fords being worked on. I didn't wait for my car, but looked at the waiting room, which would have been home at a tire store. You walk back out a side door, and to the parking lot, which has no sidewalks or safe places to walk.
On the return trip to pick up my vehicle, I noticed parking was very scarce, and my wife had to double park to let me out. There are no signs to lead Lincoln owners to exclusive parking, because there wasn't any. I walked back in the service bay, and up a small ramp, where everyone had to pay (or in my case sign) and get your keys. The checkout is a glassed in area with a small pass-through akin to a walk up check cashing facility. Through the glass, You can see the ancient desks and file cabinets cluttered with folders and files as you wait for someone to come to the window and print out the old form on a daisy wheel printer. The attendant slips the printout under the window slot, and after you sign, she tells you to wait outside untill someone drives the vehicle up to you.

What Lincoln should do:
You pull up to the dealer, and right away see the Lincoln name over a drive through roofed area. You get out, the automatic door opens for you, and you walk into a pleasant lobby, and are greeted by a well dressed person, who takes you keys, offers you refreshments, and enters your order via tablet. They promptly hand you keys to your loaner, and walk you out to it. You recieve an e-mail and text when your car is ready, and they ask where an when is a convienient time to drop it off and pick up the loaner.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
Sherlock Holmes
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 09:31 AM
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Re: Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

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Originally Posted by Logans Run View Post
Last time I visited the dual Ford/Lincoln dealer for a recall (abt 1 year ago), I tried to imagine myself as a Lincoln customer instead. First thing to dull the experience, was the service entrance. All vehicles regardless of brand, type, or age, pull up to a large bay door, which (after waiting for someone to notice) opens for you to pull in. You are now presented with cars in various states of repair on one side, and the service counter (from the 80's) on the other side. You wait in line behind Ford customers, and the employees are running back and forth, and the phones are ringing off the hooks. It smells like a service bay of course. You provide your information, and sign the old style printout. From your position at the counter, you can see some of the lifts with mostly Fords being worked on. I didn't wait for my car, but looked at the waiting room, which would have been home at a tire store. You walk back out a side door, and to the parking lot, which has no sidewalks or safe places to walk.
On the return trip to pick up my vehicle, I noticed parking was very scarce, and my wife had to double park to let me out. There are no signs to lead Lincoln owners to exclusive parking, because there wasn't any. I walked back in the service bay, and up a small ramp, where everyone had to pay (or in my case sign) and get your keys. The checkout is a glassed in area with a small pass-through akin to a walk up check cashing facility. Through the glass, You can see the ancient desks and file cabinets cluttered with folders and files as you wait for someone to come to the window and print out the old form on a daisy wheel printer. The attendant slips the printout under the window slot, and after you sign, she tells you to wait outside untill someone drives the vehicle up to you.

What Lincoln should do:
You pull up to the dealer, and right away see the Lincoln name over a drive through roofed area. You get out, the automatic door opens for you, and you walk into a pleasant lobby, and are greeted by a well dressed person, who takes you keys, offers you refreshments, and enters your order via tablet. They promptly hand you keys to your loaner, and walk you out to it. You recieve an e-mail and text when your car is ready, and they ask where an when is a convienient time to drop it off and pick up the loaner.
OHHH!!! All you hope and want from a Lincoln dealer is given to me when i go to my Ford dealer in Caracas, Venezuela, to get a service for my 2012 Explorer!!!! Plus, coffe, free internet by wi fi or in a terminal, satellite TV in a extra big HD screen in a luxurious waiting room, with leather covered seats and sofas. I never saw the work area, because the employees pick up the car at the lobby and drive it inside the dealer. Always the car is given to me , when the work finish, with plastic protectors in all the seats, wheel , and completly washed and polished!! I love the Ford service in my city. But, the car assembly quality is not good. The plant in Valencia, Venezuela , is not doing a good job now.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 03:01 PM
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Re: Lincoln Tries Cheese to Lure Mercedes Buyers to Showrooms

The dealership experience is almost as critical as product. Several dealers are stepping up their game, and for sure the next few years are important on this front for Lincoln's dealer network. You can't have great costumer service alone without product, that is certain. It takes both. But can you imagine buying a flagship product at a dual dealership who has Lincoln as an afterthought? No way. Lincoln will never be perceived as a luxury brand without getting the dealers in line.

So I have to believe that they are being quite methodical about things. They are rolling out product, the next few years will be pivotal. But at the same time, they are focusing on the dealership experience, and hopefully the timing will work out so that when all Lincolns represent the "new Lincoln", so will the dealerships.
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