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From the November, 2011 issue of Motor TrendBy Angus MacKenzie, Todd Lassa
Since 2007, Ford Motor Company has sold off Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo and closed Mercury, leading many to speculate whether Lincoln would be next. Could the Ford brand cover the automotive spectrum? No. Late in 2010, Ford hired Austrian Max Wolff away from General Motors, where he headed Cadillac's exterior design. If our interviews with Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for Global Product Development, and J Mays, chief creative officer and design group vice president, are any indication, Ford intends to put Wolff's talents to good use. Lincoln plans seven new or significantly refreshed models over the next three years.



Motor Trend: Why are you getting serious about Lincoln now?

Kuzak: All successful auto companies have a premium brand, and when you're successful, premium brands drive very good profits.

You had some good premium brands, but sold them. Any seller's remorse?

No seller's remorse. We've learned from our experience trying to manage all those brands. The starting point for Lincoln will be the U.S., and becoming successful in the U.S. as a brand and product lineup and a business will be a priority. We believe there are opportunities globally, but we will focus on the U.S. initially.

What lessons have you learned from Lincoln and other luxury brands?

They must be fully differentiated vehicles, starting first with the exterior and interior. Badge engineering is not part of the thought process. We will have a unique driving experience that is truly Lincoln.
- Angus MacKenzie


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Motor Trend: One of the pillars of the Ford brand's new design language is "visual premiumness." What does that mean for Lincoln?

Mays: It leaves room for Lincoln. I'd just like you to recalibrate what you're thinking and say, as we did, have we been underachieving on Lincoln? Is there more upside on Lincoln than maybe we've always given it credit for? Because I don't think there's a ceiling on how appealing we can make the vehicle. I'm positive we can design an even more upscale, elegant Lincoln than [the Ford Evos concept]. I just want to set the bar higher with Lincoln than maybe most people are anticipating.

You've tried a modern interpretation of the '61 Continental, which in its day was a departure from what anyone had ever done.

When I brought Gerry McGovern in, we went down that path for about three years. And I'm as big a fan of the '61 Continental as anyone, but we don't have the right platform or frankly the right culture right now for that kind of car. What I'm charging Max with is finding the purity of the brand without relying on retro to get there. We're off to a good start with him. That'll become apparent when you actually see something.
- Todd Lassa



http://www.motortrend.com/future/future_vehicles/1111_lincoln_future_car_plans_taking_shape/
 

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J Mays: "And I'm as big a fan of the '61 Continental as anyone, but we don't have the right platform or frankly the right culture right now for that kind of car. What I'm charging Max with is finding the purity of the brand without relying on retro to get there. We're off to a good start with him. That'll become apparent when you actually see something."

We have the right culture for a modern Continental. Lincoln doesn't seem to realize that RWD is mandatory to become a successful luxury brand. Obviously, he hasn't seen Cadillac's Ciel Concept. They need to start developing RWD cars for Lincoln. RWD is in the brand's DNA. Cadillac tried going all FWD in the 90's and failed.
 

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A whole lot of nothing except that they wont do a retro Continental
 

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Hm..O.k .
Here in Europe premium brands are Mercedes, BMW, Audi, jaguar ...and let say Lexus. Most of this brands have sedan in middle class(C, 3, A4, IS), middle high class(A6, 5, E class, XF) and high class (A8,7 series, S class, LS, XJ). Also they have top version with at least 400 hp in most of this classes(or will in future). They also have sport models like Audi R8, mercedes SLS, BMW 6, Lexus LF, Jaguar XK. This is only part of portfolio from those premium brands.
Now what does Lincoln offer?
MKZ- Is this good enough to go against 3 series , c class, A4 or even future ATS? Will there be version to compete against M3, C amg, RS4 or ATS-V?
MKS-does it compete against A6 or A8? What will be most powerful version?
Where is S class competitor? Where is a sport model to go against R8, SLS etc?
Will Lincoln even offer V8 in their cars?
It seems even Infiniti has better lineup than Lincoln.:(
 

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Hm..O.k .
Here in Europe premium brands are Mercedes, BMW, Audi, jaguar ...and let say Lexus. Most of this brands have sedan in middle class(C, 3, A4, IS), middle high class(A6, 5, E class, XF) and high class (A8,7 series, S class, LS, XJ). Also they have top version with at least 400 hp in most of this classes(or will in future). They also have sport models like Audi R8, mercedes SLS, BMW 6, Lexus LF, Jaguar XK. This is only part of portfolio from those premium brands.
Now what does Lincoln offer?
MKZ- Is this good enough to go against 3 series , c class, A4 or even future ATS? Will there be version to compete against M3, C amg, RS4 or ATS-V?
MKS-does it compete against A6 or A8? What will be most powerful version?
Where is S class competitor? Where is a sport model to go against R8, SLS etc?
Will Lincoln even offer V8 in their cars?
It seems even Infiniti has better lineup than Lincoln.:(
MKZ is a midsize and thus competes more with the TL, CTS, 5 Series, and ES. I would say the MKZ right now is pretty middle of the pack. It needs a new V6 since the 3.5 is not really competitive anymore though it is reliable. It does have a 6 speed automatic with SST which is pretty much a standard. The MKZ hybrid is excellent though, it is more economical than the HS and it is better looking and has better materials.

MKS is a full size and would compete with the A8, 7 Series and XF. Though I don't think that is where they want to position the MKS. It is EXTREMELY behind the competition if you place it in that category. The only thing it really has going for it is the 3.5 EcoBoost, Self Parking Feature and the Vista roof. It is in dire need of an update. I would like to see it get placed on the MKT's longer wheel base and offer reclining rear seats.

MKX and MKT are pretty competitve in their respective markets. Though I would like to see the MKT get the updated 3.7
 

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^^ asrapid, in addition to Andrew's comments,
sounds to me like you may have been misled by some of Cadillac's misdirection/insanity:

the CTS is very close to the same size as the MKZ
& they're both in the 5-series/E-class segment size-wise.
The MKZ is very much a non-enthusiast American car imho
AND just barely Lux and then in the old fashioned chrome&padding method
(tho as Andrew says the Hybrid version qualifies in the Tech department - imho the petrol v6, even with a good Awd available is less so.
Hopefully the rumored "Nano" small v6 will help remedy that part
AND hopefully2, further efficiency methods like Plug-In or Energi/Voltec drivetrains will become available)
as for the European market - I have no idea when or even IF Fomoco will add diesels to Lincolns ... just a hunch but it feels to me like they're slowing down their plans that they'll SKIP diesels by waiting for hydrogen or something - which I don't agree with.

re: the MKS
imho it's pretty much the "Nicest-Disaster" I've ever seen!
- styling which missed a bit at intro and now has quickly aged
- size of an A8 overall length yet taller so looks less "tailored" (it's slightly bigger than non-lwb 7-series)
- and imho has a 'parts bin' of features - like "well, we had this available so stuck it in" rather than starting from a First Class shopping list

My main gripe is that it seems Fomoco "has no shame" about what they're willing to have in Lincoln's showrooms
& no urgency about really fixing it - almost like they can't TELL anything is wrong or consistently doesn't quite measure up.

Things may change drastically in the relatively near future
IF they recant their No-Rwd approach - as it recently seems they might.
BUT
my grip still stands:
I don't see evidence yet of them DEMANDING EXCELLENCE...or really knowing what that MEANS.
yet
imho they have all the basics on tap
IF they wanted to, they could stick the 5.0v8 in the MKS & MKT
as they will HAVE TO in any future Rwd cars

Cadillac (GM) is just as crazy (in their own way)
the ATS which should compete with the 3-series is so compromised already that it's more of a distraction/waste of time (& money) than a real challenger.
Hopefully a Lincoln sportsedan/coupecabrio co-platformed with the nextgen Mustang will at least have a better starting point.

For an S-class rival (which imho GM is just not capable of)
imho Fomoco can start with the Falcon and not have that far to go to hit the target!
(tho actually, imho, the S-class AND E-class plus the 7-series AND 5-series are MISTAKES,
there should be One model in between those sizes ... which is what I hope the Continental, co-platformed with the Falcon, turns out to be)

Nonetheless - even just weeks from our autoshow season & with everything I seen/heard - I still can't give better than 50/50 odds that Fomoco won't throw in the towel with Lincoln and give up ... not immediately perhaps but by 2015, if they don't feel like working hard enough to build more than "just another Mustang"
or
if they haven't developed F-Awd C-segment vehicles for Lincoln long before then (haven't heard anything recently - sounds like they've postponed them to me)

as I said a long time ago
the real problem might be that the name of the family who owns the business is FORD
& they just can't accept (deep down inside) having any Brand with a different badge ranked higher :yikes:


further reading: the Mission: LINCOLN! thread
 

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Mercury C557
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There is a lot of lost opportunity for Lincoln by not showing a more plush LWB MKZ at the Beijing Show.

however
- maybe the Chinese don't like seeing things way before they can get them?
or
- if a lwb MKS WAS available in China before the US, I might just have to take a trip to Dearborn & go postal




edit/addit
here's a LINK to a new thread that has NOTHING to do with Lincoln
No, Really
the author never even mentions Lincoln...

...so WHY am I thinking of them??
 

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Now that the Z-Hype is over.....what comes after the new MKZ?? What should/will we look forward to at the LA Show in November? What is the next chapter of the Lincoln Revival? Will Aviator replace MKX? Will we see something bigger than the MKS as an MKT sedan to go with the current MKT hatchback? The Lincoln MKMustang?(LS or MKR for this one) I still like the Concept C even though i'm the only one who does. Any convertibles? I'm really hoping for big surprise.
 

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Now that the Z-Hype is over.....what comes after the new MKZ?? What should/will we look forward to at the LA Show in November? What is the next chapter of the Lincoln Revival? Will Aviator replace MKX? Will we see something bigger than the MKS as an MKT sedan to go with the current MKT hatchback? The Lincoln MKMustang?(LS or MKR for this one) I still like the Concept C even though i'm the only one who does. Any convertibles? I'm really hoping for big surprise.
Next up is the Escape based crossover.
 

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Now that the Z-Hype is over.....what comes after the new MKZ?? What should/will we look forward to at the LA Show in November? What is the next chapter of the Lincoln Revival? Will Aviator replace MKX? Will we see something bigger than the MKS as an MKT sedan to go with the current MKT hatchback? The Lincoln MKMustang?(LS or MKR for this one) I still like the Concept C even though i'm the only one who does. Any convertibles? I'm really hoping for big surprise.
I like the idea of the C, I am just not crazy bout the styling...

The Escape based crossover is next, and there have been some rumblings of an Explorer based Lincoln but we shall see.. Honestly I hope they don't go that route because that will be way too many SUV/CUVs to cars
 

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Now that the Z-Hype is over.....what comes after the new MKZ?? What should/will we look forward to at the LA Show in November? What is the next chapter of the Lincoln Revival? Will Aviator replace MKX? Will we see something bigger than the MKS as an MKT sedan to go with the current MKT hatchback? The Lincoln MKMustang?(LS or MKR for this one) I still like the Concept C even though i'm the only one who does. Any convertibles? I'm really hoping for big surprise.
I've said it before but - imho CY2012 is mostly unEVENTful for Lincoln,
CY2013 starts out with the new Z - which seems so far to me that Lincoln doesn't want to dilute the impact ... to the extent I'm not expecting anything else, at least nothing Big, until after the Z has been on sale for a few months
so
maybe NYC-2013???
not that I want or agree with that!
 

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I find the new Fusion to be better- and classier-looking than the new MKZ. This brand needs a RWD fullsize flagship sedan.
 

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a new-to-me article from last month that didn't get posted afaik...

Ford Tries to Save the Lincoln Brand - NYTimes

Mario Tama/Getty Images
By JAMES B. STEWART
Published: April 13, 2012

...To reinvent Lincoln, Ford has focused on design to an unusual, perhaps unprecedented, degree...

...Lincoln is indeed storied within design circles. When Ford recently acquired a rare Continental Mark II from 1956, Mr. Wolff had the car moved to the new Lincoln design studio in Dearborn, where it served as inspiration for a new generation of Lincoln designers. In 1956, Lincoln sold the Mark II for a then-exorbitant $10,000, about the same price as a Rolls-Royce and twice that of a Cadillac. Fewer than 3,000 were built...

...The most iconic Lincoln design may be the 1961 model, considered the masterwork of the legendary designer Elwood Engel, which was seared into the American consciousness as the car in which John F. Kennedy was riding when he was shot in Dallas. It shared with the Mark II an elegant simplicity that was a sharp departure from Detroit’s recent taste for flamboyant tail fins...

...“I look at the 1961 Continental and I see beautiful proportions, great details, elegant restraint, with just the right amount of chrome,” Mr. Wolff said. “In that sense, there are some similarities. If you look at the MKZ, you’ll see some of the same craftsmanship and detail, but it’s very simple. There’s not a bit of added surface language. It’s refined and elegant. But we’re not reimagining the past. It’s not a retro look. We wanted to break the mold. It’s provocative for Lincoln, and we believe it will change people’s perceptions.”...

...While Mr. Wolff may have had a free hand, he was guided by copious amounts of consumer research. “Cadillac and BMW have a very aggressive look that basically says, ‘Get out of my way,’ ” Mr. Wolff said. “We wanted to define our unique space in the luxury market.”

“We found that our potential customers in an idealized state think of themselves as magicians,” Mr. Farley continued. “They can flow effortlessly from a social to a business environment, from big cities to adventure travel. The image that came to mind was a stingray: powerful but graceful.”...

...“We wanted to break the mold,” Mr. Wolff said. The roof of the MKZ, which features a 15.2-square-foot glass panel, “is unique,” he said. “The center console is unique.” The redesigned front grill is meant to conjure images of “an eagle’s wings.”...

...Ironically, Cadillac decided to radically redesign its Cadillac line after Lincoln surpassed it in sales for the first time in 1998. Its distinctive knife-edge styling was introduced with the marketing theme “art and science.” Mr. Wolff was among the Cadillac designers who took the concept and refined it, especially on exteriors of more recent models like the CTS Coupe. Cadillac sales went from about 120,000 a year in the late ’90s to a peak of over 230,000 in 2006. Though buffeted by the financial crisis, sales were up 10.5 percent in 2011 ... and Cadillac had a 10.2 percent share of the luxury car market...
 

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Re^: "Ford Tries to Save the Lincoln Brand"

just for the heck of it, here are a couple of my comments from elsewhere that "provoked" some replies


Lincoln feels like a jigsaw puzzle to me ... one where the most interesting pieces have yet to find their place in the picture - or even in the puzzle's BOX so far

&

here's a different metaphor:

to me, Lincoln 'reads' like a MYSTERY (it's not long ago that I thought it might be another Murder Mystery!)
but the 'twists & turns':
- the MKS & T getting new grilles that are significantly different from earlier ones YET nothing like the newest one (Z)
- in the S's case, going way beyond the minimum for an exterior tweak while not going as far as the new suspension may warrant, certainly not as far as they went with the SHOTaurus
- seeing Max Wolff say that they MIGHT not use the newest Look on any other models (than the Z)
- followed by another interview with Mr. Wolff saying the grilles WILL "co-ordinate" while not necessarily being directly related
- AND the briefest of mentions about the 3 improvements of most interest TO ME (Nano2.7v6, 8spd tranny, Bespoke Program), FOLLOWED BY SILENCE...​


are frustrating to the point that, if it was a TV show, I'd switch to practically anything else on in that timeslot & IF a friend was still watching it, ask them to let me know if-when "IT GETS INTERESTING", because Now, it's Not (to me) ... almost feels like they're re-running the same episode over & over and the "new season" is months away
 

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Re: Re^: "Ford Tries to Save the Lincoln Brand"

are frustrating to the point that, if it was a TV show, I'd switch to practically anything else on in that timeslot & IF a friend was still watching it, ask them to let me know if-when "IT GETS INTERESTING", because Now, it's Not (to me) ... almost feels like they're re-running the same episode over & over and the "new season" is months away
[/indent]
Would you rather have it like the show Lost, where every week it delivered more and more sensational, intelligently intricate and exciting pieces of what to expect for the supposedly all revealing finale, only to have the end product answer none of the questions people were looking for, and switch to a ridiculously overused and tired conclusion.

I don't think Ford is trying to hoodwink us. I think they really had no investment plans or budget for Lincoln until last year, and are now trying to make the most out of the little they have.
 

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Re: Re^: "Ford Tries to Save the Lincoln Brand"

Would you rather have it like the show Lost, where every week it delivered more and more sensational, intelligently intricate and exciting pieces of what to expect for the supposedly all revealing finale, only to have the end product answer none of the questions people were looking for, and switch to a ridiculously overused and tired conclusion.

I don't think Ford is trying to hoodwink us. I think they really had no investment plans or budget for Lincoln until last year, and are now trying to make the most out of the little they have.
THANKS for starting your post as a question, Logan!!
first: No, not exactly. and I wouldn't want them to poke me in eye either ;)

my problem, more than what imho Fomoco-Lincoln is DOing
is how they're "telling their story" ... and its "cadence".

IF, as it seems to me, they're moving slowly (for now), then they have to be even more careful with promotion/hype.

So the mixed signals (as I perceive them) really bother me.

The 'story' I'd like to hear
- has a gradual build up of their slogans - "Now it gets interesting" feels a bit premature
- the completely unrelated (to the past or future) grilles on the latest MKS & T confuse me
- the "unique v6" and Bespoke Programs PREVIOUSLY mentioned by Fomoco PLUS the mentioned-then-silenced MKuGa leave me hanging
- the inequality of forcing the dealers to spend big bucks while Fomoco says they won't invest much (relatively) troubles me

Being confused + hanging + troubled are not feelings that build optimism - imho!

My way of countering that is to try my best to read between the lines as to what's coming
which leads to my speculation & 'suggestions' & impatience
but that gets some fanboys down on my case :(
 

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I guess I am just glad Lincoln survived, when it seemed they were headed for the guillotine. I believe FMC is just staring to believe in Lincoln, and realizing some of the obvious blunders can't be rectified easily. I almost gave up on them when I saw the marketing genius of calling their version of "My Ford Touch". My Lincoln Touch". It seemed they were doing their best to draw similarities between the two brands, instead of the needed differences. It also seemed like they were trying to cull as many dealerships as possible by killing Mercury, offering no replacements, and encouraging Ford and Lincoln dealers to combine. It just looked like the perfect setup for the cheapest execution possible.
The way forward will be no primrose path or yellow brick road. Every mile gained will be hard fought and full of ruts, bumps, and potholes. Ford has made enough wrong turns with Lincoln. If they pay attention to the road ahead, they will make progress. If not, the investment needed to fix further mistakes will be too big a pill for Ford to swallow, and that might mean the end of Lincoln.
 

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Kill it off as a separate brand. No need for dual outlets if they are just fancy Fords.
If a four door Mustang is in the works call a Marauder or Torino or better yet break the SHO label from the Taurus and make it its own model.
If the right vehicle designs come along use old Mercury names or have a Mark IX sold at Ford dealerships (without with out the Lincoln name attached).
 
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