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The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG was one of the luxury compacts shown at the Frankfurt auto show.
Automotive News

FRANKFURT -- Small, sassy and premium.

That's the essence of the growing luxury compact segment that dominated new offerings by premium brands at the Frankfurt auto show. The goal: Lure younger buyers who like luxury touches but lack a big budget.

Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar introduced concept or production vehicles in the segment.

"All of the manufacturers have read the same tea leaves," said Johan de Nysschen, president of Infiniti. "That's why you see this very strong extension by the premium brands into this new segment."

Audi predicts the compact luxury segment will quadruple in size, and quickly. The segment is in the neighborhood of 50,000 units in the United States in 2013, according to Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America.

Internal projections and numbers from R.L. Polk suggest the segment soon will grow to 200,000 units or more, and that's why Audi is rushing in with new product, Keogh said. "It's much easier to grab the segment when it's forming."

The competition isn't waiting either.

Mercedes-Benz showed the CLA45 AMG high-performance version of its first front-wheel-drive compact car for the United States and the concept GLA compact crossover. The CLA45 goes on sale in the United States in November, and a production version of the GLA arrives in September 2014.

In Europe, where the CLA and the smaller A- and B-class hatchbacks already are on sale, compact vehicle sales have grown 60 percent since the beginning of the year, said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of parent company Daimler AG.

To meet its 2020 target of becoming the world's biggest luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz needs to "leverage our growth in the compact segment," Zetsche said.

Mercedes-Benz has shown four of its five fwd compact models. Only the smallest, the A-class hatchback, won't be sold in the United States.

Luxury compacts do not dilute the brand if they're done correctly, he said. Admittedly, the first generation A- and B-class cars boosted sales, but "they were not brand shapers," said Zetsche. "They did not give momentum or agility to the brand."

The new crop of compacts are "dream builders" and are drawing younger buyers to the brand, he said. "That is what we wanted to accomplish. The S-class buyer wants to be associated with a brand that is lively and attractive with younger people as well."


Audi wants to lead


Audi's Keogh said the brand plans to "launch an entire segment" through the beginning of 2015, with the A3 sedan, Q3 crossover, A3 cabriolet and plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron fleshing out the brand's compact luxury lineup within 12 to 14 months.

The A3 sedan goes on sale in the United States in the beginning of 2014. Both the Q3 and the A3 cabriolet that Audi unveiled in Frankfurt will arrive in the second half of 2014, he said.

Keogh said Audi learned from its push into SUVs with the Q5. The brand ramped up slowly over the course of several years and now has a capacity of around 40,000 units per year, but still sells fewer SUVs than some other premium brands.

Audi historically has tended to settle into second or third place in the segments in which it competes, Keogh said. But the compact segment is one in which Audi thinks it has a shot at being the biggest because it has had more success with smaller sedans and a younger clientele than some of its rivals.

"We don't want to just put our foot in the water and build the segment over four to five years," he said. "In our minds, the brand is ready, the network is ready. We want to be as aggressive as possible."

Even Jaguar wants in on compacts. The brand showed the Concept C-X17 crossover with a new aluminum unibody architecture that will spawn a new sedan in 2016 to compete with the BMW 3 series. Eventually, Jaguar also will build the smaller crossover.

Jaguar learned from sister brand Land Rover that smaller vehicles bring conquest buyers, said Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, who will become the group's sales operations director on Oct. 1.

About 85 percent of the buyers of the 2-year-old Range Rover Evoque compact crossover are new to the brand, Goss said. The average age of an Evoque buyer is 44, compared with 48 for the bigger Range Rover vehicles.

The new aluminum architecture is flexible enough for Jaguar to create a number of smaller vehicles, he said. Read More.....
 

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Could this be a clear sign that a compact Lincoln sedan, a sibling to the MKC, is on the fast track to compete with the FWD Audi A3 and MB CLA?
 

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I completely agree that small luxury will be the rage and very quickly, if for no other reason than attainability by even more people.
I actually don’t know if Lincoln has a C-class sedan coming, but IMHO, they don’t need yet another shared Ford product that only takes sales from Ford. The Focus Titanium is no slouch in the luxury department either. The MKC is a much smarter choice, offering more room and functionality and 95% of the driving dynamics. It also broadens the demographic because young families would not have to trade up if a kid is on the way with its taller utility. If/when Lincoln offers a higher performance version of the MKC, and I bet that too will have a big influence on small luxury. Can you imagine a 325-375hp version of this….

 

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The MK C is the smarter choice to enter in the compact luxury sales war for Lincoln. But, eventually, Lincoln will need a compact FWD sedan to compete with Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti. Maybe the next gen Focus platform could let Ford make this correctly
 

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Yes, a sedan and coupe would be necessary for some of us who wouldn't consider a wagon/suv type vehicle. While I like the MKC, I wouldn't buy one because it's not a coupe or sedan. I drive my car 99.5% of the time with myself only and no other passengers so why would I want something like an suv type wagon? I'm not into it and will find a different Brand that meets my needs if necessary.

So as stated above, Lincoln would steal sales away from the Ford Titanium etc... Now I know why it's taking so long for Lincoln to get some new products that we actualy want to buy and not have to buy.
 

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IMO, and only IMO,

Lincoln would be foolish to spend billions on a Lincoln-only small sedan in the C class or smaller, because volume would be so small, especially alongside what would surely be a much better selling MKC (also C-class).

Now, if they simply started with a Focus sedan and trimmed it up above the already premium Titanium, which can run over $30K, it again would be more of the same they are being criticized for.

Lincoln, according to some, is damned regardless of what they do.

And again,

IMO only
 

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IMO, and only IMO,

Lincoln would be foolish to spend billions on a Lincoln-only small sedan in the C class or smaller, because volume would be so small, especially alongside what would surely be a much better selling MKC (also C-class).

Now, if they simply started with a Focus sedan and trimmed it up above the already premium Titanium, which can run over $30K, it again would be more of the same they are being criticized for.

Lincoln, according to some, is damned regardless of what they do.

And again,

IMO only

The entry level $30k Audi A3 is the VW Jetta(which is the Golf sedan) lightly re-skinned. Ford would just do the same with the next gen/larger Focus. The market for small luxury vehicles is going to be huge globally, which is what Ford/Lincoln is focused on.

So for Lincoln, a compact luxury sedan as a companion for the MKC is a must if they want to compete globally.
 

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IMO, and only IMO,

Lincoln would be foolish to spend billions on a Lincoln-only small sedan in the C class or smaller, because volume would be so small, especially alongside what would surely be a much better selling MKC (also C-class).

Now, if they simply started with a Focus sedan and trimmed it up above the already premium Titanium, which can run over $30K, it again would be more of the same they are being criticized for.

Lincoln, according to some, is damned regardless of what they do.

And again,

IMO only
If they are to stretch the wheelbase like they did with the MKC and Escape and add more aluminum suspension components as opposed to using the same exact wheelbase and same exact suspension setup then they wouldn't be criticized.
 

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I don’t know anymore.
We were told for years that Mercury would become the premium small class and Lincoln would be premium large.
That of course all changed suddenly and they killed Merc.
I loved the original idea. You already had Lincoln Merc dealers, and they could sell their own exclusive luxury versions, some Ford based, some not. My guess, mostly Merc for Ford based and more exclusive for Lincoln. Not unlike Chevy-Buick-Cadillac.

But then again, Lincoln can do it all I guess.

So confused.
 

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I have this theory that non-full-lineup Brands like Lincoln
and even full-line-LUX mfgs like MB & BMW,
tend to have a particular size that epitomizes them and on a near DNA basis tends to continue to be their ICON** almost regardless of how well they implement their other models:
MB = S-class
BMW = 3-series
...which implies that MB beats BMW on a Lux DNA level...
so
I agree with Lincoln refraining from a MkFocus (this decade)
&
Much Prefer that the smallest Lincoln 'car' be the LincStang
which
includes a built-in delay (2015cy?) until the existing lineup has been brought closer to its potential.

plus of course
my preference that sub-Z F-Awd cars be marketed under a different Brand...



** note
imho Lincoln hasn't had an Icon in quite some time
tho the Classic Continental still comes to mind
so it needs to be even more careful about any candidates
 

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I don’t know anymore.
We were told for years that Mercury would become the premium small class and Lincoln would be premium large.
That of course all changed suddenly and they killed Merc.
I loved the original idea. You already had Lincoln Merc dealers, and they could sell their own exclusive luxury versions, some Ford based, some not. My guess, mostly Merc for Ford based and more exclusive for Lincoln. Not unlike Chevy-Buick-Cadillac.

But then again, Lincoln can do it all I guess.

So confused.
Killing Mercury VERY unnecessary, imo.... I hope Mark brings the brand back while CEO.
 

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IMO, and only IMO,

Lincoln would be foolish to spend billions on a Lincoln-only small sedan in the C class or smaller, because volume would be so small, especially alongside what would surely be a much better selling MKC (also C-class).

Now, if they simply started with a Focus sedan and trimmed it up above the already premium Titanium, which can run over $30K, it again would be more of the same they are being criticized for.

Lincoln, according to some, is damned regardless of what they do.

And again,

IMO only
I agree 100%, Lincoln should not spend billions on a Lincoln only C platform. However, I think they should spend more than simply trying to better the Titanium Focus, much more.

As for Lincoln being damned regardless, for many, yes they are. But in the C-segment I think they have more wiggle room in the platform sharing area so long as the end results are markedly different and superior.

My biggest question about a C car for Lincoln is do they go toward the Audi A3, and more traditional C car, or do they attempt to chase the CLA, which would be more easily fit into the current Lincoln dynamic. Personally I think aiming towards a more differentiated CLA like car is preferable.

My last thought, Lincoln was ahead of the game when they debuted the original Focus based Lincoln years ago. It is unfortunate that they will be late to the party when/if they do finally arrive.
 

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...My biggest question about a C car for Lincoln is do they go toward the Audi A3, and more traditional C car, or do they attempt to chase the CLA, which would be more easily fit into the current Lincoln dynamic. Personally I think aiming towards a more differentiated CLA like car is preferable.

there's also the opportunity for 'something completely different'
like:



...My last thought, Lincoln was ahead of the game when they debuted the original Focus based Lincoln years ago. It is unfortunate that they will be late to the party when/if they do finally arrive.
well (
)
besides aesthetics (or lack thereof), my very personal assessment was that the 3-across front seats were near-meaningless &yet/so without that feature, the premise of the entire "C-Concept" was meaningless as well
tho
minus ^that chicanery/subterfuge/shannigans, I'd be interested to see what Max could come up with for a C-car
.
. .
. . .
of course, I'm Very interested to see ANYthing that *Max* (& his team) comes up with
 

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I agree 100%, Lincoln should not spend billions on a Lincoln only C platform. However, I think they should spend more than simply trying to better the Titanium Focus, much more.

As for Lincoln being damned regardless, for many, yes they are. But in the C-segment I think they have more wiggle room in the platform sharing area so long as the end results are markedly different and superior.

My biggest question about a C car for Lincoln is do they go toward the Audi A3, and more traditional C car, or do they attempt to chase the CLA, which would be more easily fit into the current Lincoln dynamic. Personally I think aiming towards a more differentiated CLA like car is preferable.

My last thought, Lincoln was ahead of the game when they debuted the original Focus based Lincoln years ago. It is unfortunate that they will be late to the party when/if they do finally arrive.
"markedly different and superior"

Simple enough words, except they scream huge added cost to develop and produce that would have to be shared by the customer. So where exactly would this superior sedan fit dollar wise against the $35K MKZ sedan. above or below it?

See the problem yet?

differentiation = cost

And "compact luxury" seems to be all over the map in terms of size, as the Focus is very small, at least much smaller than a CLA.
So perhaps "foolish" is a strong word for a Focus based sedan, but DO I however think a coupe would make much more sense, especially after trying to egress/ingress 2nd seats in cars like the ATS, which is actually close to midsized. A coupe allows nice big doors for everyday use, instead of a compromise to compensate for back.

as for your last thought, what exactly was a "Focused based Lincoln" again, because I don't recall Lincoln having that.
And as for the so called party that barely exists that you already believe Lincoln is late to arrive at....way to give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet again.
 

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"markedly different and superior"

Simple enough words, except they scream huge added cost to develop and produce that would have to be shared by the customer. So where exactly would this superior sedan fit dollar wise against the $35K MKZ sedan. above or below it?

See the problem yet?

differentiation = cost
Yes, anything beyond building a Focus with a slightly different front and rear facia is going to cost. It appears Audi, MB, and BMW believe there is a market willing to pay for it. If Lincoln wants to play in that segment it can't do it with a mildly face lifted Focus.

The bigger issue as you pointed out is the MKZ starting at $35K. That is the unfortunate situation Lincoln finds itself in at the moment, needing to offer more car for the money than their direct competition. That clearly puts a major squeeze on their ability to compete profitably as the market moves into the lower priced C segment. That sucks for Lincoln given that offering a desirable C car would give Lincoln a leg up in bringing younger buyers into the fold.

And "compact luxury" seems to be all over the map in terms of size, as the Focus is very small, at least much smaller than a CLA.
So perhaps "foolish" is a strong word for a Focus based sedan, but DO I however think a coupe would make much more sense, especially after trying to egress/ingress 2nd seats in cars like the ATS, which is actually close to midsized. A coupe allows nice big doors for everyday use, instead of a compromise to compensate for back.
The idea of introducing a coupe into the C market is an interesting one. The one that comes to mind from the past is the Acura Integra which was much loved by boy racers, but probably not the direction you're thinking for a Lincoln coupe.

as for your last thought, what exactly was a "Focused based Lincoln" again, because I don't recall Lincoln having that.
I was referring to the Lincoln C concept from a few years back which was based upon the focus, yet very wide, and very tall, and very unattractive! But what it did show was Lincoln was ahead of the game a bit in seeing premium brands moving into the C sized market.



And as for the so called party that barely exists that you already believe Lincoln is late to arrive at....way to give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet again.
I was simply pointing out that from the time when they showed the above C concept, which nobody else was doing, until such time as they enter the C sized (non-CUV) market they will have gone from leading to following.
 

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^ why am I not surprised that I pretty much disagree, with everything you said, yet again.

Lincoln is gambling that a roomy, sporty, and oh so functional CUV will sell far better than a cramped sedan.

I agree with them.

nuff said.
You make debating difficult in that you're incapable of sticking with apples to apples discussion.

Lincoln isn't gambling at all with the MKC, it appears to be a great vehicle that is positioned in a growing market segment, one which is already occupied by many premium brands. Many of those same brands that have "gambled" on the small premium CUV market are also "gambling" on the small premium sedan market.

Truth be told Lincoln was onto the small premium sedan market early, then walked away as the competition joined the fight.


Yet another compact luxury segment that will grow, and Lincoln will be ahead of that progression.

BMW X1/X3
Audi Q3
Acura RDX
RR Evoque

If by ahead of the progression you mean following the lead of others then I agree!!

Your delusions are strong, I don't get the idea I'll ever break through that force field of undeserved positivity!!
 

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You make debating difficult in that you're incapable of sticking with apples to apples discussion.

Lincoln isn't gambling at all with the MKC, it appears to be a great vehicle that is positioned in a growing market segment, one which is already occupied by many premium brands. Many of those same brands that have "gambled" on the small premium CUV market are also "gambling" on the small premium sedan market.

Truth be told Lincoln was onto the small premium sedan market early, then walked away as the competition joined the fight.




BMW X1/X3
Audi Q3
Acura RDX
RR Evoque

If by ahead of the progression you mean following the lead of others then I agree!!

Your delusions are strong, I don't get the idea I'll ever break through that force field of undeserved positivity!!
When did I change topics? Am I no consistent here, about small luxury, both sedan and CUV? Why are you pretending I did so?

And yes, there were a few others in the forefront of this segment, but some you listed were better competitors to the MKX, which I believe has been around since before ALL you listed.

And give us a call when a BMW or Acura or Audi outdoes FoMoCo in CUV's. Heck, the Escape Titanium offers same or more luxury than all you listed there, and Escapes alone pretty much outsell all of BMW here in the states. Certainly outsells Audi, by a factor of about 2.

As for any "force fields" and Sci Fiction references, you might want to check that hate and anger you have against a brand that is still building and has a long way to go, as it leads to the dark side of negativity.

Me, I like the positive view I have from the inside out., and it IS in fact deserved.
Can't expect you to understand that either.
 

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I completely agree that small luxury will be the rage and very quickly, if for no other reason than attainability by even more people.
I actually don’t know if Lincoln has a C-class sedan coming, but IMHO, they don’t need yet another shared Ford product that only takes sales from Ford. The Focus Titanium is no slouch in the luxury department either. The MKC is a much smarter choice, offering more room and functionality and 95% of the driving dynamics. It also broadens the demographic because young families would not have to trade up if a kid is on the way with its taller utility. If/when Lincoln offers a higher performance version of the MKC, and I bet that too will have a big influence on small luxury. Can you imagine a 325-375hp version of this….

yes I can imagine that wings, I can´t wait to see a 300hp+ version of the mkc
 
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