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WSJ article-
(only snippets as you must be a subscriber)

"Laggard Lincoln Drags on FordFord's Lincoln once was the top-selling luxury car brand in the U.S. but has fallen to eighth place as its sales slid. Now, with the impending demise of Mercury, Ford needs to revive the nameplate

For 10 years Ronnie Lohr was a steady buyer of luxury cars. But when it came time to replace his Infiniti earlier this year the 66-year-old retired marketing executive drove off in a Ford Taurus instead.

For Ford Motor Co., Mr. Lohr's choice was a nice win. But it illustrates a problem the company faces as it adds more attractive and upscale models to its Ford brand: Its own luxury line, Lincoln, is floundering.

Lincoln generated as much as $2.5 billion in annual gross profit in the late 1990s, driven by its Town Car and Navigator sport-utility vehicle, said a ..."

Well I say the writer wrote this now because Lincoln is about to reclaim its top spot among Luxury Brands.

Six or eight years ago I wrote an article which illustrated that Lincoln at the time was the luxury brand leader. Perhaps if I could find a copy of it, I can paste it here.

At the time the plant manager sent me a t-shirt for the article, but I never got it as it went to the address of the website!
 

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...At the time the plant manager sent me a t-shirt for the article, but I never got it as it went to the address of the website!
well ^that^ sucks :yikes:

re: the article
THIS LINK let me read the whole thing with Firefox (tho it didn't with IE)
so
a couple things from the WSJ:

...Another is that Lincoln owners aren't very loyal. Just 40% of Lincoln owners turn in their vehicle for another Lincoln, compared with 52% for BMW, 57% for Lexus and 66% for Mercedes, according to a 2009 J.D. Power study.

Then there's the issue of Ford cannibalizing Lincoln. In May, 20% of buyers who traded in a Lincoln bought a Ford, up from 14% in May 2005, according to Edmunds.com...


Imho
the real "cannibalizing" is FORD stealing design themes (from Mercury) if they want it
& features/options (from both L & M).
I've mentioned that I had the opportunity to ask Nancy Gioia about having Mercury "take the lead" in hybrids & alt.drivetrains
to which she replied that she wouldn't support One Brand having an exclusive on any technology
BUT
for Lincoln, imho, SOME of that has to be allowed & protected (imho)
and I'm not merely talking pricepoints here (( imho Lincoln HAS TO be priced above Ford but
Mercury had the 'Strength of Character' to maintain its identity at any price - just FoMoCo had no idea what that was or its value )) but philosophy and 'Mission'

..."The recent Lincoln products are very nice, but there isn't much evidence that they have cut through the clutter," said Earl J. Hesterberg, chief executive of Group 1 Automotive Inc., a major dealer network whose operations include Lincoln stores.

Mr. Hesterberg said Lincoln needs a flagship sedan, preferably with rear-wheel drive, that has features that aren't found in Fords. "I don't have a good understanding of what the key reason is to buy a Lincoln," he said...


Imho
Lincoln MUST HAVE mechanical differentiation from Fords - without it Lincoln is just a trim level...
...frankly something Mercury could have 'handled' imho
but Lincoln won't
 

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I think the 2010 Taurus represents what is wrong with the Ford/Lincoln arrangement. The 2010 Taurus has more personality and looks much more upscale and sophisticated than the MKS. Given a choice between the two, I would easily choose the Taurus over the MKS. It has more character and I wouldn't have to look at that hideous split wing Lincoln grille.

I actually think FoMoCo should have waited to develop the MKS until it could have done so on the D4 version of the platform. With a longer wheelbase, a D4 based version of the MKS should have an interior volume advantage over the Taurus. When I look at the MKS, I simply don't see a Lincoln flagship sedan. It's a pleasant looking sedan (except for the grille), but it isn't a "I gotta have it!" type of design (which is what Lincoln desperately needs).

When FoMoCo has the Ford brand offering more stylish vehicles than its premium Lincoln division with the same available features, it's hard for any buyer to justify the higher price tag of the Lincoln brand vehicle. I think FoMoCo has the talent and vision to turn Lincoln around, but they may want to move some of the new and next gen products ahead so that they can get Lincoln back on track.
 

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I also think Lincoln needs to expand beyond sedans and CUVs. Lincoln needs some image building type vehicles. A couple of stylish coupes and/or coupe-cabrios would do a lot to draw more attention to the brand.
 
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