By on May 2, 2012

We all know Google’s evil hivemind constantly scans your GMail and targets advertisements to your recent mail threads. As a result, I’ve seen stuff from “Reliable Pregnancy Testing” to “Hundreds Of Collings Guitars In Stock” over the past few years, but what I saw this morning — “Check Out The Features Of The 2011 Lincoln Town Car” — intrigued me.

Why is Ford paying good money to direct people to the website pictured above?

While Chrysler falls flat on its face with inept social media and General Motors buys the bloggers’ bar every year at NAIAS in as heavy-handed a fashion as humanly possible, Ford’s gained a reputation for navigating the mostly navel-gazing and valueless world of “SM” a little more competently than the competition. They brought self-professed guru Scott Monty on board nice and early in the game and have reaped all sorts of rewards, up to and including giving a hundred Fiestas to a bunch of slackers for no particular reason.


The point is, Ford usually dances where the others bumble. Why pay good money, then, to point people towards a dead-end website for a discontinued car that doesn’t even say something like, “Hey, check out the MKS!” My suspicion is that Ford, like many companies, has let their “spend” with Google spiral out of control. Ask any small businessman who uses AdWords how easy it is to blow through your prepaid budget. Google may be free for the little people, but that’s because they are in the business of selling little people to big fish.

Little mistakes like this add up. Too much wasted ad money, too many free Fiestas, too many 1000-hits-a-month bloggers on press trips, and pretty soon it’s time to cut costs elsewhere… like on the door panels of the MKT. You know what would have been a better idea than spending money advertising the 2011 Lincoln Town Car a year after its demise? Building a new, and better, Town Car. As it currently stands, the iconic Lincoln, just like that puppy your mom and dad sent to the farm when you were six, is gone, and it’s never coming back.

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36 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: And It’s Never Coming Back Edition...”

  • avatar
    Brian E

    “Why is Ford paying good money to direct people to the website pictured above?”

    Because managing AdWords sucks? It’s one thing for Google’s search results to be as crappy as they are these days – especially if it’s more profitable to ignore my query and return results for something that people are advertising on – but the interface for Google’s actual paying customers sucks too. Google has no strong incentive to fix it, since the inefficiency benefits them, and they’ve got the best access to the eyeballs out there.

  • avatar

    I just Googled “Lincoln Town Car”, and it appears that Lincoln’s page for the Town Car is still functional.

  • avatar
    Byron Hurd

    It’s possible, however unlikely, that Ford keeps it active as a way of monitoring interest in the dead nameplate. Why they’d want those metrics, I’m not entirely sure, but there’s plenty of room for speculation.

    Rumor mill: go!

    • 0 avatar

      Hopefully, they’re ditching the “MK_” nomenclature and bringing back names like Town Car (and maybe even the Continental)!

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah — I use a lot of TLAs in my job, and I can’t keep the MK[A-Z] cars apart. MKX and MKZ really just fall in to the same bucket in my brain.

        But that’s fine, because I’m not in the target market (I’m family-man in my early 30s, and my 10-year-old Escape with air conditioning, cruise control, leather seats, and a moonroof fulfills my personal need for affordable luxury). Also, I question why the Lincoln and Mercury brands exist at all. In other words, I’m clearly not the guy they’re trying to reach. Clearly.

      • 0 avatar

        Luke42, having owned a 1992 Towncar until mid-2008, I have also wondered why Mercury and Lincoln even existed.

        Don’t misunderstand, our Towncar served my wife well, but it was far from problem-free. Didn’t matter to her though, she married the mechanic to keep her going. And I spent many hours tooling and wrenching to keep our Ford and GM products running with the help of Autozone.

        Interestingly enough I have not had to wrench on our 2008 Japan-built Highlander, or my American-made 2011 Tundra, or our now-Italian-owned 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee, imported from Detroit.

        I can see Ford making a comeback from the near-death experience of 2008/2009, but I wonder how much better Ford would be doing if it deep-sixed the Lincoln brand the way it did the Mercury brand.

        Lincolns of today are nothing but gussied up Fords suffering from visions of grandeur. And so are the people who buy them.

      • 0 avatar

        Is it really fair to compare the maintenance needs of a 16 year old car against new ones?

      • 0 avatar

        @highdesertcat: “…I wonder how much better Ford would be doing if it deep-sixed the Lincoln brand the way it did the Mercury brand.”

        I keep wondering if it would make sense to put the Ford logo on all of their cars, and then make the luxury version the “Lincoln Edition”?

        After all, as someone in his 30s, all of the Mercurys, Lincolns, Buicks, and Cadillacs of the 1980s (when I started paying attention) were identifiably the same cars as the Fords and Chevys that they were based on. Leaving the original logo on it, and making a “Fusion Lincoln edition” would acknowledge a decades-long reality — while still using what brand-equity the name still has left.

        GM seems to be producing enough unique-looking vehicles for Buick and Cadillac that they might be able to rebuild those brands from this badge-engineered demise some time around the time my son is my age. I’m not sure that Ford could or should do the same, though, because their regular cars are looking both upscale and affordable.

        “I can see Ford making a comeback from the near-death experience of 2008/2009”

        Ford seems to be doing a lot of the right things after their near-death experience, at least when it comes to selling cars to me.

        I like small cars for lots of reasons (some practical, some not), and Ford has finally brought their competitive small cars here. Alas, I’ve gone from needing a hot-hatch to needing a family wagon — and the C-Max may be exactly the right vehicle at the right time for me personally to be looking at purchasing a new/efficient multi-purpose family-hauler.

        I know that extrapolating from my personal needs is poor practice and no substitute for proper data and market analysis. But it’s hard not to see the likelihood that they’ll be getting three dozen grand from me in a year as anything other than a good thing for the company!

      • 0 avatar

        Every car is going to need some wrench turning at one time or another, I haven’t had to do a thing to my 2008 Pontiac but that doesn’t mean I’ll never have too. Incidentally the ’92 TC ran a new and somewhat funky for the time 4.6L OHC V8 on the fantastic AOD 4-spd. I would expect some wrench turning on that drivetrain and would thank the car gods it served you as well as it did and didn’t blow up as Cadillac 4100s did when they were first introduced.

      • 0 avatar

        The Lincoln edition Ford is really not a bad idea, only trouble I see there is what do you do with all of the Lincoln dealers? If you just convert them to Ford dealers, that might piss off the existing Ford dealers. If you shutter the brand you piss off the Lincoln dealers, erode confidence in the Ford dealers, and put alot of people out of work. I think Lincoln needs to stop the Xerox machine and come up with a few innovative models.

        So the Fusion/Zephyr (I refuse to call it MKZ) ok people seem to like the Fusion, keep cloning that one. The MKS is a disgrace dump it and create a real Continental with long lines, a sexy look, and maybe offer hybrid/electric option. There’s talk of a radical Mustang redesign on based on the Evos, whether that comes to pass or not, do an Lincoln based Evos coupe with AWD and convertible option, its sad Lincoln doesn’t currently offer one. Lincoln offers what like 3 different SUV/CUVs, do any of them sell? The Navi doesn’t have the appeal anymore and I think hands down loses to the Escalade in the SUV clone category. Pick ONE good one guys because three clearly isn’t working, Cadillac sells the tar out of its tarted up Mexican built Equinox, why can’t you with the MK whatever the Edge is based on? So four models, Zephyr, a new Continental flagship, a Evos coupe, and an SUV/CUV/grocery getter. Your welcome Alan.

      • 0 avatar

        Robert.Walter, our Towncar had issues when it was new and under warranty.

        First the transmission wouldn’t shift right; kept slipping like stepping on a wet banana peel. They tried a lot of different things including replacing the vacuum activator but for the 3rd repeat warranty call they decided to drop the tranny and completely rebuild it at the dealership.

        The OLD guy who did the rebuild told me he had his training on the C6 in 1968, and he really knew his stuff. Blew me away! Had the guts of the entire transmission spread out like an exploded-view on a sheet of wax paper on the floor of the repair bay. Never looked at a manual, didn’t even have one, just worked from memory.

        After replacing the clutch bands and reassembling the tranny he took a Dremel tool to the valve body and ground out all the hydraulic holes and passages. Never had a problem with that tranny again until we hit 78K and had it completely rebuild, like new, in El Paso, TX, by a commercial small-business rebuilder on I-10.

        But we also had troubles with the drive shaft, which had to be rebalanced, and exhaust gaskets, which may or may not have been due to the premature tranny R&R during the warranty period.

        Once the warranty expired though, one thing failed after another, first the AC compressor. I had that rebuilt by a professional AC shop since I had disastrous results rebuilding the AC on my Olds Custom Cruiser myself, and didn’t want to repeat that agony again.

        Then the alternator went out, and a couple of months later the water pump suddenly blew the front seal. This was all in the 60K-65K timeframe.

        Since the Towncar was used in my wife’s real estate business to show property it had to endure lots of starts and stops so the starter motor quit working at 55K. Suddenly and without warning, the middle of nowhere, outside the hamlet of Ruidoso, NM, as far away from civilization as imaginable.

        It was no joy to replace that starter motor on the 4.6, laying on my back in the driveway, once we got the Towncar towed home from Bonita Lake.

        For the rest of the week my wife commuted to her work in the mountains in our Olds Custom Cruiser. That doesn’t exactly project an image of a successful real estate business showing property in a 20+ year old station wagon.

        Most of the failures on the Towncar occurred right after the warranty expired, but most of them I was able to fix myself including the HVAC motor, wiper motor, window motor, starter solenoid, valve cover gaskets, both head gaskets, fan clutch, and other small stuff like trim falling off and having to be super-glued back on.

        Once fixed or replaced by me they lasted for the duration of the ownership.

        Luke42, I never stand in judgment of what people drive, choose to drive or can afford to drive. Buying a car is such a personal thing that’s driven by a lot of factors, financial being just one of them.

        My intended point was the Lincoln Towncar and the Lincoln brand may or may not have served Ford in the past, depending on who is asked and what their ownership experiences were.

        I view the Lincoln brand as being a drag on the Ford franchise, just like Mercury was. From my perspective, because my wife and I bought Ford and GM by choice until 2008 when we switched to Toyota, I see no need for the Lincoln franchise UNLESS Ford can make it distinguishingly different from the Ford line of vehicles, like you mentioned GM is doing with Buick and Cadillac.

        As far as GM is concerned, I believe that GM would be better served (and be more profitable for the shareholders) if GM divested itself from Buick by pimping it off to some Chinese partner, and then importing the Chinese-made Buick to North America.

        GMC is a redundant vehicle line and should be folded into Chevrolet, although the GMC logo could be a trim level all its own in the Chevrolet line, like a Denali.

        Were GM to streamline their production and operation to where they can focus solely on the Chevrolet division and the Cadillac division, I bet that GM’s chances for survival would be greatly improved.

        28-cars-later, I agree that it would be a problem to convert the Lincoln dealers, but that is inherent to anything redundant.

        Isn’t this why Fiatsler is in such a tizzy with former Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealers who were, basically, dumped?

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know about this “Lincoln-edition Ford” idea – reminds me of when Chrysler shuttered the Imperial division (which at the time offered only 2- and 4-door Imperial LeBarons) after the 1975 model year and labeled the same cars, somewhat decontented, as Chrysler New Yorker Broughams instead. I don’t think there was ever a consensus that in retrospect this was a particularly good idea. (There had never been Imperial dealerships separate from Chrysler dealerships, though.)

        With respect to Lincoln’s marketing: Still sucks. They’ve now replaced a stupid long slogan (“It isn’t just luxury – it’s smarter than that”) with a ridiculous although shorter slogan (“Now it gets interesting”). If you have to SAY your car is “interesting,” you’ve lost the battle already; it’s like advertising a performance car as “exciting.” Moreover, the attributes mentioned that are supposed to convey the supposed interestingness – for example, French stitching – are just silly.

  • avatar

    Please allow myself to introduce. I am the crown prince of Nigeria, and have some excellent news for you, Mr. Baruth. Two years ago, during Ford Motor Company’s difficult times, my father, his royal highness, the King of Nigeria, purchased the tooling for The Lincoln Town Car, as well as its Grand Marquis and Crown Victoria brethren.

    Since this purchase, we have moved the factory tooling to a brand new production facility, beside the royal Nigerian palace, in the former home of my cousin, the archduke of Lagos. Unfortunately, my cousin has brought suit against my father in the Nigerian Supreme Court for placing the factory on his former land.

    If I may be so bold, if you would kindly consider a small investment. If I could ask you and each of TTAC’s best and brightest participants to each pay the sum of US$10,000, we can win this lawsuit, and start producing these cars of the panther. In return, we will return your cash within 3 months, and present each of you with your choice of a brand new Town Car, Victorian Crown or Marquis Grande.

    Thank you ever so much for your dear appreciation for this sincere offering.

  • avatar

    “1000-hits-a-month bloggers on press trips”

    I must be doing something wrong. CID is averaging about 500 pageviews a day and I’m not getting deluged with offers of press junkets.

  • avatar

    I wondered what made adds for male enhancement, sleeping pills, and handguns come up.

    Mystery solved.

    • 0 avatar

      I get ads for dating women over 50 (I’m in my mid-30’s) and $799/month leases on various luxury cars. They need to send me those ads in about 15 years.

  • avatar

    I can’t be the only one who clicked on the image and read the description, can I?

    “The first time I f*** you, I might scare you a little, because I’m a man, and I know how to do things.” Image courtesy Ford.

    Was that intentional Jack? Oh my.

  • avatar

    Isn’t Lincoln planning on using “Town Car” for the professional car/livery version of the MKT, just to twist the knife?

  • avatar

    Well, I just got an email from “My Pontiac Team” this week, complete with pictures of the last group of Pontiacs….although the substance of the email was to encourage me to buy a Buick. And do you know when I started getting emails from the Pontiac team? In 2005, when the engine on my Montana seized, and I had called to complain….which went nowhere.

  • avatar

    No, puppy isn’t gone. Redd went to live with that couple with the farm out in the country. He’ll be back, you’ll see.

  • avatar

    So no more pictures of the advanced Nokia brickholder in the center console?

  • avatar

    Hey, guys, watch out! That Nigerian invitation to invest in a Town Car factory may be a scam! I sent that guy $10,000 to resume production of the DeSoto Avenger. A month has passed, and now I can’t get him to reply to my emails. Do you know how I can get my DeSoto?

  • avatar

    Ford’s willing to diss money on the decoy brand. Important to get out there in the social media to the under 30’s loud & clear. This is testing new water with the old rock. Rock will hit bottom but first makes splash with Baruth baby.

  • avatar

    I drove through my local Ford Lincoln Merc…er Ford Lincoln dealer’s lot tonight, and found several (desirable) NEW Mercuries available. No Town Cars, but a new Grand Marquis. Are there still new Town cars sitting on lots to be scarfed up by collectors or car buffs ?

    • 0 avatar

      There’s no such thing as a new Mercury anymore. After the Mercury brand was officially discontinued dealers who still had Mercury vehicles in stock had to purchase them and title them in the dealership name, so any unsold Mercuries are used cars with the first owner of record being the dealership.

      Here in the land of retirees we had no problem getting rid of our last Mercuries, in fact we were buying Grand Marquis from other dealers up north because as the word spread amongst the blue hair crowd that the car was going away we had a sudden run on them. It could be possible that a dealer or two might have some unsold still, but it’s more likely that they were just particularly nice used cars parked on the new car lot as possible switch vehicles, which is pretty common.

      We’ll typically keep a certified pre-owned vehicle or two in particularly nice shape in the new car show room to make it easier to show potential new car buyers who don’t want to pay the price for a new car buy who have a mental block about buying used – having the car right in the middle of the new ones makes it easier to show how little difference there is between brand new and one or two years old with low miles in great condition.

  • avatar

    Personally, I get a kick out these targeted ads. In a nostalgic mood one day, I owned a bugle as a kid and was curious to see how much one cost now. Went on Amazon and looked one up. For the following two weeks, almost half of the web sites I went on featured an ad either on the top or along side the webpage of a sale on a bugle!

    No, I didn’t buy one…

    Same thing happens when I price a new Impala…it’s quite tempting.

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