By on December 5, 2012

What’s up.

It’s your boy, JB. You know, the guy who isn’t allowed on your press trips any more. I’m not sure exactly why. It has something to do with me supposedly misusing one of your complimentary hotel rooms as a place to do something besides examine the press kit. I don’t know why it’s a big deal. You’re acting like I put on a satin “dragon suit”, performed immoral deeds using a mudshark, and/or threw a TV out the window. That didn’t happen. I specifically left my satin dragon suit at home that weekend so I can say for sure that it didn’t happen. Maybe that wasn’t it at all. I don’t know. We don’t need to discuss it now. Just censure me and move on.

Plus, it isn’t like you guys haven’t made mistakes yourselves, and more recently, too. I mean, Jimmy Fallon? Curating Tweets? CURATING TWEETS? JIMMY FALLON “CURATING” TWEETS? I need you to stop reading this letter right now so you can go home, cut out a section of your garden hose and savagely beat whoever came up with that idea until they can’t walk any more. Wait. Make that “type”. Can’t type any more. That’s especially important. Because I think that idea probably originated with them typing an e-mail to someone, and until that can’t happen again none of us are safe.

You’re back? Yeah, it feels gooood to really hurt someone like that, doesn’t it? That’s our little secret. Now let’s talk about The Lincoln Motor Company for a minute, okay?

Everybody’s on your case right now. Heck, even the guys at Jalopnik took time off from pimping the Chevy Sonic to get all edgy and harsh and use the f-word and stuff about your “new direction”. I’ll sum up most of the criticism in a few bullet points so you don’t have to read anything but this fantastic website right here.

  • Your whole lineup is apparently made up of rebadged Fords. Well, re-body-paneled Fords. With different interiors. That don’t look much like the Fords they’re based on. But the problem is that there’s a Ford under there, as opposed to the 1961 Continental, which wasn’t a Ford at all, other than the fact that it was engineered and styled with the express mission of becoming a Thunderbird and only wound up on the Lincoln side about two minutes before it would have been too late to make the change. I’m going to write “MKTaurus” here because I feel very smart when I do that.
  • The Ford brand is premium enough already, maybe more so than Lincoln. Well, that’s what you get for not having Daewoo do all your compacts or doing three years of “Red Tag Sales”. That’s your own fault. Sit there and think about what you’ve done.
  • You need to make premium RWD mid-size sedans like the Cadillac CTS. Especially the CTS-V. Nobody’s buying them but I want you to know that I am totally going to buy a CTS-V once they’ve been on the used market a couple of years and I finish my Associates’ degree in Business Manipulation from the University of Phoenix.
  • MKTaurus.
  • FWD is totally lame sauce and the only reason the Lexus ES350 and RX350 sell in soul-crushingly massive quantities is because they aren’t really FWD. They’re totally RWD. The GS350, which has never been seen on the road by anyone, is really FWD. So stop using FWD.
  • Your cars are extremely ugly compared to the aforementioned ES350, the new BMW F-something 3-something, and the ATS, all of which look like unique varieties of underwater fish. Except for the ATS, which looks like the old CTS.
  • MKTaurus.
  • You discontinued the Town Car. Really, that was stupid. If I had the power to do so, I would probably have all of you killed for that. My 2009 Town Car has 89,900 trouble-free miles on it, enduring some of the most shocking abuse you can imagine. Not just from me, although I’ve managed to get all four wheels off the ground while jumping train tracks. My son, too. He spills milk all over the back seat and has been known to get a little queasy while we’re jumping train tracks. I have no idea why you would can one of the most recognized automobiles in the world — a car that traces its direct lineage right back to that hallowed Elwood Engel Continental — and replace it with…
  • MkTaurus.

Enough griping. I don’t think the situation is as bad as everyone says it is. You’ve done a lot of things right. To begin with, you’ve completely ignored the “enthusiast” press and structured your product line around FWD and AWD mid-sizers. Good for you. That’s where most of the volume is. There are already three players in the segment making fake BMWs: Cadillac, Infiniti, and, ah, BMW. By going in the other direction, you get to face Audi, Acura, and Lexus.

Against that trio, I like your product. No, I really do. The MKZ is very pretty and it looks like nothing else out there. The MKtauruS (see what I did there) is actually one of my favorite cars in the whole world. It’s fast enough, it’s super-comfy, it has radar cruise control, and it has a great sound system. If you could take four vertical inches out of the doors it would be the sexiest car in the segment. The MKX is popular with the ladies. The MKT is another one of my favorites, and I love the way the rear hatch gives props to the old Fox Continental. I’m the only one who feels that way, however, so at some point you might have to let that car go.

The competition doesn’t offer anything more for the same money. Most of their customers would be just as happy with one of your products, if they had a chance to get acquainted with them on neutral ground. I know that’s why you are trying the “Lincoln Motor Company” schtick, complete with free gifts and faux-upscale this and fake-luxury that and the Ritz-Carlton and who knows what else. You want people to have a positive enough image of Lincoln to come into the showrooms and get acquainted with the cars. You’re not wrong in wanting to do that, and some of the “concierge” ideas and whatnot are amusing enough.

But none of it will work.

You aren’t stupid. You know it won’t work. You just need to be seen doing something until… what? A resurgence in the American economy, a rising tide to lift a half-million Ford owners into the Lincoln showroom? A catastrophic weakening of the American dollar that somehow doesn’t affect your mostly Mexican-and-Canadian-built product line but makes an Ohio-assembled Acura TL as expensive as a 240D was in 1984, relatively speaking? Another Audi unintended-acceleration scandal? A war with Japan over some islands? None of that stuff is really going to happen. You’re just killing time and wasting money.

The saddest part of all this is that you know what you need to do, don’t you? Yes you do. Can I just show you something real quick-like? Thanks.

What is that? Don’t answer. Let me tell you what it is. Or rather, what it was. It was:

  • A loss leader
  • A marketing tool
  • A great way to build a brand
  • Not really ever sold for $35,000, anywhere, even though the ad said $35,000 for a cloth-seat stripper that existed primarily in someone’s imagination
  • A product that sold a million front-wheel-drive Camry variants for five grand more than they would have cost at the Toyota dealer

Think about that. A million Lexus ES automobiles at a five-grand markup. They say the LS400 cost a billion dollars to develop. Well, any time you can invest a billion dollars and get five billion back, you made money. That doesn’t even count the RX350, which sells for five or ten grand more than a Highlander Limited Super Bongo Fun Time Gold Edition. How much money has Lexus made Toyota as a global organization? Enough to justify the expense of the original LS dozens of times over.

Bloomberg says you are making a billion dollar bet on Lincoln. Starting with ten million dollars or more for a Super Bowl ad. So the money is there to fix the brand. It’s just being spent on junk. Garbage. You-know-what. Marketing. Just stop it. Stop it stop it stop it.

Take your money and make something. Don’t make a “brand”. Don’t make a “plan”. Make a car. Write a check and build something that will make Americans talk about Lincoln again. They don’t have to buy it. It doesn’t have to be a success. It just needs to change your image. Don’t think CTS-V. That only changed the image of Cadillac among bored teenagers and Internet forum warriors. Think Chrysler 300. That changed Chrysler’s image with people who, you know, buy Chryslers and stuff.

History has given you a gift. Lexus had to copy the S-Class down to the width of the C-pillars in order to sell the LS400, because they had no past whatsoever. Cadillac has had to do this whole wedgy F-117 crap because the Fifties and Sixties Cadillacs people remember and love couldn’t be reissued in anything even vaguely resembling their glory. Tailfins and Dagmars won’t play in Safety First America. But you… you have the 1961 Continental. You can make that car again, and you can do it with more fidelity than you could for the 2005 retro Mustang. The front end is tall and blunt — pedestrian safety! The packaging works with modern expectations — the Charger has a long trunk and nobody complains. The car itself isn’t so huge that you’d have to squish it. Make it the same size as a Mercedes S-Class.

This is a product which should already be in your lineup as a successor to the Panther, selling for $60,000 and using the Coyote V-8. The old Town Car should have been redone from the ground up some time before 2010 and we all know it. Since you didn’t do it then, you have to do it now. Spend a billion dollars, or more, on the car.

Make sure it has suicide doors. Make sure it has chrome trim on the inside and black leather. Make sure it looks elegant and vicious and don’t cut corners on it. It should exude menace in dark colors and sunny Camelot optimism in pastels. Then announce that it’s going to cost some nice round number like $100,000 and that each Lincoln dealer will get five of them. Don’t run ads, don’t Tweet about it, don’t involve Jimmy Fallon. The celebrities and the athletes and the pop stars will come to you if it’s a real Lincoln Continental, and they’ll pay real money to be the first ones on the block with one.

The rest of America will come to your newly revised dealerships to see the cars and they will drive home in a Lincoln MKZ or whatever you have on the floor to sell them. It will be the most expensive marketing campaign in history but unlike a Super Bowl ad or a free night in a Ritz-Carlton it will change the way people view the brand. Obviously you have to call it the Continental. Not MK-anything. Not Mark Nine. The Lincoln Continental, from The Lincoln Motor Company.

It could fail. That’s a real possibility. You could release the car on the day the stock market collapses or the day that China seizes the West Coast using paramilitary forces. Or it could simply be too late to save the brand. But make no mistake. If you fail by building the best American luxury car in history, that’s a hell of a way to fail. That’s the right way to fail. That’s the American way to fail. But if you fail because you waste money on “branding” and garbage, you’ll have done more than failed. You’ll have ruined a great American brand. And there aren’t that many of them left, so they’re important, and we should save them, even if we need to be brave in order to do so. Tell Jimmy Fallon to put that in his Twitter feed and curate it.

Sincerely,

Jack Baruth
Lincoln Owner

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255 Comments on “An Open Letter To Jim Farley, Mark Fields, And Everyone Else Re: Lincoln...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Slow clap…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I disagree with Jack that Lincoln’s current product line is “good enough” relative to the competition. It’s not. Period.

      In fact, I can’t think of a single Lincoln, being the apparently unfair, negatively biased, evil & on-an-agenda-to-impale-Lincoln kind of person that I am made out to be, that could truly, objectively be deemed near the top of its segment let alone leading it. They all fail relative to the best of the competition.

      Jack is correct, however, in asserting that Lincoln is failing to invest money developing the foundations of truly luxurious, distinctive vehicles, that can stand apart from any Ford stablemates.

      Unfortunately, that’s very resource intensive (aka expensive and technically difficult), and even if they succeed in doing so, the dividends won’t show up for a period of time that’s too long to be satisfactory to anyone who isn’t first and foremost concerned with the heady mission of building excellent cars that also are value propositions (ala Lexus LS400).

      As a final question, is it unreasonable of me to SWAG that things are only going to become even more intensively competitive in the space that Lincoln is attempting to play within over the coming years?

      p.s. – THIS is a Lincoln as God himself intended it to be: http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Lincoln/2002-Lincoln-Continetal-DV-10-RMM-03.jpg

      Preferably in black. White or cream leather. Real wood and METAL interior bits. It doesn’t have to be necessarily that large, but capture that essence, make it smother road imperfections, quiet as a library, solid as a bank vault, and with enough power to outrace hurricanes. And make it RELIABLE. Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Counterpoint: “To begin with, you’ve completely ignored the “enthusiast” press and structured your product line around FWD and AWD mid-sizers. Good for you. That’s where most of the volume is. There are already three players in the segment making fake BMWs: Cadillac, Infiniti, and, ah, BMW. By going in the other direction, you get to face Audi, Acura, and Lexus.”

        That is Jack’s most powerful argument. Acura has been wounded by its styling debacle and inability to build quiet cars. Audi’s reputation seems to rise and fall and only appeal to people who don’t keep cars one day past the warranty or the lease. Lexus is a tough customer but that makes more sense than trying to fight BMW. If I had Acura/Lexus/Audi money I would be all over the restyled MKZ or MKS just to check them out. LMC could more easily be a legitimate competitor to those guys than to BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        “In fact, I can’t think of a single Lincoln, being the apparently unfair, negatively biased, evil & on-an-agenda-to-impale-Lincoln kind of person that I am made out to be, that could truly, objectively be deemed near the top of its segment let alone leading it.”

        I can’t think of a single Lincoln!!! Do they still make those?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        The thing is, deadweight, that the concept car you point out is EXACTLY the updated Continental that Jack has in mind, right down to the suicide doors! If they built that, and called it a Continental instead of XYZ, it would be just the halo car they need to get the marque off the ground. If they made an updated coupe version of the ’56 model, they would be a perfect pair. Not everyone will be able to afford one, but they would give even the triple-letter models an “I drive a Lincoln” cachet. If that’s not the point Jack is making, I’m sure he’ll correct me, but given how much history the Lincoln name has to fall back on, it. just. might. work.

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        Good points to both JB and DeadWeight. I totally agree on the 2002 Lincoln concept car. I raved about it at the time…and patiently waited for it to appear. Unfortunately, I have been fed a diet of MKTaurus or as I say, “MK-huh?”.

        A number of years ago, Daimler Chrysler (yes, a high-five to the Germans in that debacle) had the sense to do the same thing that Lincoln should be doing with the creation of the Chrysler 300C. Buyers saw what the previous 300M was, Chrysler’s tarted-up FWD Dodge. Chrysler’s new 300C was a RWD Mercedes E-class underneath. This car was built for a price, but DC had the sense to make it visually distinctive enough to remind folks of the Chrysler brand. Sales were strong, all things considered. Future Chrysler models carried the 300C heritage in visual styling cues.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I quit looking at concept cars and buying car magazines who make so much out of the concept cars a long time ago. Concept cars just prove to me that Detroit (any any other design department) can draw some hugely interesting and good looking cars but will very, very seldom make them.

        Perhaps (or likely) they know that the concept cars would never sell to the average working stiff – see the Chevy SSR pickup truck – and try to keep everything white bread and mayonnaise plain to go for volume.

        However as the quality and styling of the mid-segment cars improves to battle the imports and other brands – I find the top segment cars like the Lincoln and Caddy to be less compelling. Sure I’d be happy with a Fusion that looked really nice and had a good engine/MT combo. Saw one this weekend. Don’t tell Ford but to me it looked better than the Altima, the Accord, the Malibu -AND- the Lincolns. I don’t know if it is any good though but I’ll assume it is.

        Lincoln ought to become the brand that builds those concept cars for real. That would set them apart from the Fusions and Taurus. Give it an engine more refined or larger than the V-6 engines found in the bread and butter cars. Either don’t badge any Lincoln V-6 cars or make a big deal with badges for the V-8 cars. Gear them so they get ~28 mpg on the highway and make them smooth and quiet. Forget any styling cues for the 70+ year olds. They are done buying cars in any quantity.

        Build a four door sedan and a long wheel base Continental with the suicide doors. Drop the M-badges and use the full names. Continental, some sedan name. Skip the SUV version or make it more about Range Rover tow and snow traction capability than off-road capability.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Agreed. Great read. This will be a billion dollar boondoggle for Ford Motor Company that has never know what to do with a luxury brand. The fact that they are keeping that stupid, confusing and nonsensical M-K blah naming system tells me all I need to know.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Will this be known as the “Rincoln Motor Company” in China when they take it global?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “But you… you have the 1961 Continental. You can make that car again,”

    I thought that at first too, but Chrysler beat Lincoln to the punch with the 300…seven years ago.

  • avatar

    another classic Jack. you’re on a roll…

  • avatar
    cdakost

    What the heck does TTAC have against Jimmy Fallon?

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Probably his “thank-you notes” schtick…

    • 0 avatar
      BlueEr03

      He is not funny. Very few people see him as anything more than an annoyance. Oh, and Capital One (I think) has already played him out as a spokesperson.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Jimmy Fallon is lame. He disgraces the format that the great Johnny Carson pioneered.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed DeadWeight. Despite all of the Leno/Conan BS I still watch Leno and turn off the TV just before Failure, er Fallon.

        Speaking of Conan, was he not available? Conan would sell 10x the cars of whom you chose Ford, and he still plays well with Gen X/Y.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        When he first started the gig, he sucked rocks, hard.

        He (and the show) has gotten much better since, but I’ve noticed a trend over the last year that his ‘humor’ has devolved to mere ridicule what he thinks is uncool. The problem is that he isn’t cool, what he thinks is cool isn’t cool, and I could laugh at him for that. But now that he takes it seriously (ironic?), I can’t even do that.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        28-Cars, Conan is “known” to drive a Taurus SHO, so would draw attention to the fact that Lincoln sells a rebadged Taurus SHO.

      • 0 avatar
        phydo773

        Agreed. Those commercials are terrible, not to mention Capital One is kind of a discount-y bank card brand, as much as he is kind of a discount-y comedian. Why, when you are trying to upscale your brand would you make that kind of association?

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      He always broke character when he was on SNL, and his skits weren’t that good and his song parodies are terrible.

      As far as Lincoln, what exactly is the image they are trying to put forth by associating with him? Take Chrysler, people of a certain age think Snoop Dogg is cool, and can afford a 300 or hopefully will be able to soon. I don’t think any demographic has a positive association with Fallon. Not to say that he is universally hated, just that most people don’t care and the few that do don’t like him.

    • 0 avatar

      Lincoln only went with Fallon because Adam Sandler wasn’t available.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I heard Lincoln’s 1st choice was Arsenio.

      • 0 avatar
        ringomon

        I don’t think he’s the best ever or anything, but he’s way better at hosting that show then I ever thought he’d be. I have a feeling everyone commenting here hasn’t really watched it much. Especially lately.

        He’s much more relevant with the 20-35 crowd than any other talkshow host currently (outside of the comedy central fake news block.) It’s mostly because of his band the Roots and some comedy stuff that’s gone viral.

        Not saying that it was a wise choice for Lincoln and whoever it was that they were trying to target. Just saying.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Seriously. The guy reinvented the late night show format in my eyes. And having the Roots as his house band was a stroke of genius.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Ferguson > Fallon

        Although you can’t use the “Scottish Conan-guy” to sell cars. He works to dark and too much cussing…

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Ferguson >> Fallon

        No question. Fallon isn’t worthy to grease his gay robot sidekick’s balls.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Do 25 year old hipsters to 35 year old wannabe hipsters EVEN WATCH network TV?

        I am assuredly no hipster, but I am in that age bracket, and I don’t think I’ve watched network television (or just about any television save for a select few programs– hey AMC, why’d you kill Rubicon and go with the stupid and quite lame Zombie bullshit? Oh right, ratings, my bad; at least Breaking Bad USED to be good) in YEARS.

        I know this; we’re a skeptical and cynical lot, and no amount of marketing by even the slickest Madison Avenue brain trusts (even by nuclear level astroturfing) is going to trick us into believing that something is good or excellent when it’s actually not.

        In fact, we resent marketing.

  • avatar
    Monty

    JB – You’ve summed up, in your own inimitable style, what the internets have been telling FoMoCo since the introduction of the 2002 Lincoln Continental and the 2004 Lincoln Mark X concept cars.

    Build them. At a loss, if need be. Build 5,000 or less and allocate no more than 5 per dealer. Make the MSRP $100,000 and let the dealers add whatever extra mark-ups they can, because they will be sold out before a single dealer has one on the floor.

    It’s the opportunity to build the quintessential American luxury car, but far more importantly it’s the opportunity to create a buzz that Lincoln hasn’t had for nigh on forty years. Don’t build a copy of a German or Japanese luxury car, build an American luxury car, and show the entire world why the European and Asian versions were weak sauce until you ceded the market.

    Make Lincolns distinctly different from Fords, and make them RWD, and make them V6 minimum. No four cylinders, just boosted V6’s, V8’s and V12’s.

    FoMoCo, courtesy of the European operations, has the engineering chops to make a better handling and better engineered car than any pedestrian Ford on the road.

    DO IT.

    Edited to add:

    This editorial will generate over 100 replies by noon today, I wager, because we all want Lincoln to succeed, and there will be a lot of passionate debate on this subject. So my question to Ford is:

    Why don’t the Ford “brain trust” listen?

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Why won’t they listen? Because the enthusiast community is the boy that cried European wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Enthusiasts don’t want 100k cars. This is about Lincoln’s survival.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Depends what enthusiasts you’re talking about. I’m an “enthusiast” of V8 RWD cars. I drive a 2013 Charger R/T.

        I would have wholly considered a Ford Interceptor or Lincoln MKR concept if they had been made available as production cars. But alas, Ford did not oblige my lowly fanboy internet cries in 2007 and did not get my money in 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Thank you; anyone who needs to ask the question “what is American Luxury” has never even heard rumors of the ’02 Continental concept, much less seen it.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      No V6s of any kind in American luxury vehicles, boosted or otherwise. If the wheels are powered by the engine, V8s only.

      If the 5.0L+ V8s are too big for cars like the MKZ/ATS, build appropriately-sized V8s, including offerings below 3.0L. Use hybrid-assist, full-hybrid, start-stop, cylinder deactivation, etc to make the engines efficient for the efficiency crowd. The American V8 burble is about the only unique aspect of American luxury that still lives. If it isn’t cost effective to put a V8 in a particular vehicle, that’s a strong sign that they aren’t building a luxury car. The V8 is Detroit’s territory. They need to act accordingly, and make the V8 an integral part of the American luxury experience.

      For advanced powertrains, with no connection between the engine (range-extender) and the wheels, they can use whatever they want.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I find this hilarious. V8s became popular in the US because they are cheap. Proper luxury cars have inline sixes and twelves. Infinitely smoother, just as powerful. Not that cylinder count has anything whatsoever to do with power.

        But I think Jack is spot on.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        The engine sophistication argument misses the point.

        1. V8s have a perceived value/performance in the US
        2. V8s are considered to be quintessentially American
        3. Democratization of V8s benefits the US manufacturers

        If Cadillac, Lincoln, and Chrysler successfully utilize smaller displacement V8s, let’s say 2.4L-3.2L, they force European/Japanese manufacturers onto American turf. BMW is forced to compromise its I-6 identity more than it already has. Acura is dead as a doornail b/c Honda won’t build a V8. Mercedes, Infiniti, Audi, and Lexus eat into their profit margins to chase the American manufacturers.

        Detroit utilizes pickup trucks and full-size SUVs to spread V8 development costs. The European and Japanese manufacturers cannot accomplish the same feat. The additional luxury marketshare boosts profitability for Detroit, and Detroit use the revenues for advanced powertrains and chassis tech for small cars.

        Detroit can spread V8 development costs. Foreign manufacturers cannot. Detroit can utilize profits from both high-margin US segments to begin chipping away at the rest of the marketplace.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I they should offer an electric drive train – at least as an option. Eco reasons aside, they’re stone cold silent and offer lots of torque. I think electric will be the standard for luxury at some point in the future. Enthusiasts may like the V-8 traditions and burble, but I think most luxury buyers are going to care more about quietness. Otherwise, there are plenty of other choices on the market.

        Range shouldn’t be as big of an issue because if you can afford a high end car, you’re flying long distances and not driving. If it’s big, there should be enough space to stuff plenty of batteries. They should also offer either a robotic or inductive charging system for it as well – so you can just park it in the garage and the charging will happen without human intervention.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      I’m not sure that we all want them to succeed. No one cares about Lincoln outside of the rust belt. I rarely see a non-livery Lincoln of any vintage out here on the coast where car purchases are a meritocracy rather than a familial obligation.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      The 2002 Lincoln Continental concept car, had it become the new Continental, would have have been one of those cars that even non-car enthusiasts notice, and would have set the Germans crying in their Pilsner. Not building that was a tragedy.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Sounds good in theory, but ‘merica won’t actually BUILD anything anymore, unless it shoots, explodes, flies, hovers, or has really big wheels or tracks – you know, military or military-style hardware.

    Cars that actually are CARS like they used to be? “Fuggedaboutit”!

    Nice try, though, and wishful thinking in that alternative universe that exists only either in the past or our minds.

    Cadillac has a better shot at achieving what you wrote!

    A stretched-wheelbase Spark is more likely…

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Exactly. Marketing without a product to back up the marketing is doomed once the buying public sees that the Emperor still wears no clothes. If they need any more help with this plan, Google image search the Cadillac Ciel concept car and read Ronnie’s piece on TTAC about the 1956 Continental and how it was developed to be an exceptional, low-volume car.

  • avatar
    HeartlandJack

    Ford needed to rebadge the current Lincoln lineup as Mercury, then put out a $100,000 Town Car that would make Harleys look like Hooverarounds. The Lincoln Mercury dealers would have the same cars, and have an awesome replacement for the Town Car.

    It is obvious what Jack is saying here.

    So, why hasn’t it happened. Are they that stupid?

  • avatar
    niky

    Clap. Clap. Clap. I was in tears, halfway through. My ex-patriate pride made me want to run out the door and into the street to find a place to buy a MacTaurus, until I remembered our local McDonald’s doesn’t use real beef.

    Wonderful. Awesome.

    Lincoln could do it. They could do a Lexus, if they actually tried. But that’s not going to happen.

    Too bad.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      No one in the Big 3, let alone Lincoln, has the kind of razor focus that building the LS400 required. And I don’t think they could muster it if they tried.

      Yeah, they could build something cool. But nothing as free of comprimises as the LS400.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        I think you’re wrong – any one of the Detroit 3 could build a car equal to or better than the LS400, but they won’t.

        Detroit’s problem was, and still is, short-term thinking. Toyota went long on the Lexus, probably ten to fifteen years long-term thinking. Nobody in Detroit, save for a very few enlightened people, think much more than a financial quarter ahead.

        Volkswagen may realize the dream of global domination by 2018, because when the financial crisis hit, Volkswagen increased R&D spending. Detroit slashed R&D spending, or outsourced it to much cheaper locales – and the price to be paid for that will happen over several more years of German and Asian automakers handing Detroit its collective ass on a plate.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        Ford increased R&D as well and while integrating R&D, design and everything else across thier global structure (which isn’t some budget korean outfit or china), is outsourcing to Germany is a bad thing? RF always made the, well if GM is one way then Ford must be too, fallacy.

        As for Japan, the worm has completely turned on that one, they now have structural cost issues in thier most important market (being subsidized by foreign markets) and currency issues that severly diminish thier ability to subsidize them, lets see how that one plays out for a few more years, the results haven’t been promising lately, I don’t see any double wishbone, VVT civics, for less than Ford could build them around anymore.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    A well-written summary of what the market has been telling Ford for years.

    Every luxury brand, save for Lincoln, has some kind of cool halo car that gets people talking.

    There is talk of a new RWD Lincoln apparently, and that new “launch” video did feature a classic continental prominently. Mayhaps there is hope?

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      It can’t just be a cool halo car surrounded by a bunch of crap, look at oldsmobile’s ending (the original Aurora), or caddy’s perpetualness (that they seem to be addressing, just one more car to replace to XTS and they may be there) to see how that worked out, it just makes the crap stick out as more crappier. And Lincoln cars aren’t crap, they’re just ugly, built on solid foundations of cars that aren’t ugly and that you can buy for a higher trim level for less.

      Between Australia and the new Mustang platform they have the underpinnings for a complete line-up (make the new taurus, explorer off of the same RWD unibody platform, don’t call them $50k halo cars, and touch the clit…sweet spot of the market that has been neglected for so long). Lincoln, square off designs, lincoln = rectangle, make bottom line cars supercharged, top of line TT, yes a eco-boost 5.0 in the continental (the limited, pennicle design, using a stretched version with a SC 6.2, suicide doors and retractable hardtop). Between you have, australia not surrendered, 3 cars for Ford NA, 2 new cars for Europe and rest of world and 5-6 vehicles for lincoln, Zepher, Arrow, contintental for sedans, the mark IX and make the Flex (yes the flex looks like a lincoln already, and take away the abomination that is the lincoln flex, based off the new explorer RWD design, ford stops selling flex, call whatever). Amortizes costs of everything, perhaps buy Bristol name and re-enter europe and other area’s at latter date.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “built on solid foundations of cars that aren’t ugly”

        While I love the new Aston xerox Fusion, have you seen a Taurus lately? Yuck.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        28 cars- I feel the opposite way, the Fusion does nothing for me, I like the Taurus. I never liked Ford styling from the late 60’s until recently. I thought the original Taurus was the total “Blahmobile”, my mom’s friends seemed to love them, and then they ended up hating the next gen one. I never got either of them. It seemed like Ford cars were ugly for ugly’s sake, and their trucks were oddly styled too. That changed about 7 years ago or so. I like the looks of them and when I have driven several of them, I didn’t hate them. I don’t know if I’ll ever buy a Ford product, but at least I don’t reject it on looks alone anymore, like I did for over 40 years. But if the next Camaro looks as bad as the present one, and Chrysler screws up the Challenger, the Mustang might be my next move, but not if it looks anything like the pics of it. If that’s it, I’ll just buy a last year Challenger and wait for something else that looks ok.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Ford’s products are definitely looking better these days.Saw the new Fusion and thought it looked good. I also like the Focus hatchback. To bad I can’t get them as wagons. Yeah – I’m one of those guys.

  • avatar
    HeartlandJack

    I remember several months ago reading here a rant that claimed martketing as a big scam.

    It sure looks like this Lincoln marketing stunt is proving that blogger right!

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Pictured: Lexus LS 400

    “A product that sold a million front-wheel-drive Camry variants for five grand more than they would have cost at the Toyota dealer”

    Are you implying that the LS 400 was a FWD Camry variant, or that it brought people into showrooms who bought ES 300s instead, which were Camry variants. Sometimes your subtlety is about as soft as a hammer, and I can’t differentiate it from reality.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Pssssssss… second one. LS brought people into showrooms.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Thanks. I have to say that in this economic climate I don’t think there is any company around with enough cash in their coffers to build a “loss leader” vehicle just to see if that’ll get people into showrooms.

        They (Lincoln) need a re-bodied profit maker, like a stupid Escalade or something equally as obnoxious and as profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        Toyota has been the master of the halo car…aside from the LS, how many run of the mill Toyotas did the Prius help sell? That car was a money loser at first too. I wonder how many TC’s the FR-S has sold as well. I’d wager that the Miata has become this for Mazda…I don’t see them making much $ on the few sales they get but it keeps the zoom-zoom image alive. Chrysler has benefited from the LX cars in that they are both halo models but profitable on their own. I never did comment on DK’s post from yesterday but I definitely think the Chrysler 300 is the definitive American Luxury Car right now. Big, bold, unapologietically head turning, V8 powered, RWD, comfy, and sumptuous.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Halo cars are VERY important!

        I generally avoid new-car dealerships at all costs, but when the Dodge Viper first came out, I actually got in my car and drove 40 miles to the nearest dealer, just to see one. Of course, I looked at the ‘new’ Dodge truck while there, and whatever else they had in the showroom.

        This is EXACTLY what Lincoln needs right now. Tweets by not-funny talk show hosts (that are on TV long after the people with the money to actually BUY a Lincoln have gone to sleep) isn’t going to cut it.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        grzydj: Lexus LF-A

        That is one hell of a loss-leader / halo car that every OEM should be envious of.

    • 0 avatar
      Carzzi

      ES250 was the first Camry variant.
      /anorakoff

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    First of all…the Chinese will never take over the west coast. If ONLY they would! That would level the debt of both countries sooo much!

    Next…Jack…wait, what? So are you in fer FWD or agin it? See…with all this learning you got goin on, I sort of lost my way reading the story. But,ok…so you like FWD but want Ford to make a headline grabber and draw in people to the booth. Get the lookie lous and then perhaps some actual buyers for other products on the shelf?

    At least we have a writer here in Jack that isn’t a copy/paste so-called auto expert that really only repeats what other writers say.
    Reading the reviews today is like watching the different news outlets. Do they all really eat dinner the night before and agree to what will be said?
    It seems like it, doesn’t it?

    How many folks here have read the MKS/Taurus has a narrow driving position?
    EVERY damned review says this and yet it has, IMO, a comfortable and snug seat…one of the most comfortable seating cars I have sat in…and I test drive a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Trailer Trash says:

      “How many folks here have read the MKS/Taurus has a narrow driving position?
      EVERY damned review says this and yet it has, IMO, a comfortable and snug seat…one of the most comfortable seating cars I have sat in…and I test drive a lot.”

      While I haven’t driven the MKtauruS, I have tested the Ford Taurus, and as somebody who’s 6’1″ and a deuce and a quarter in weight, I have to agree. I found it to be a very comfortable chair and driving position. I think the criticism of the interior space is more hyperbole than anything else. Really, the panthers weren’t exactly good use of interior space either, and Ford sold an awful lot of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Snug is exactly right. A big car without even the pretense of sporty ought to let you stretch out.

      Even compact cars have space where you need it. Luxury is having space where you don’t need it, too.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        see…this is where I get confused.
        Stretch out vs leg room.
        What exactly is everybody referring to?
        Is it one or the other?
        I see the more narrow foot area…but the stretching I ave an issue with. I drive my MKS across country and have never had a need for more length than I can get. Putting the seat entirely back is more than enough for an NBA player.
        So, again…what is the complaint exactly about?

        AS far as sportyness…this car is more than enough fast for anybody. Perhaps THIS is where the reviews get confused. You can go from zero to sixty in 5.6.
        OK…so you can’t do the same thing on corners.
        So…what large luxury car can? For 48 Grand…which is what I paid for the 20210 MKS fully loaded. A fully loaded MKS blows the other cars out of the argument…extra stuff/crap wise.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Reaching the pedals means fore to aft legroom is the one dimension where you can’t improve on good enough.

        Spacious is open space around knees and hips and elbows and shoulders and head. On short drives it’s more psychological than real. But it’s there.

        Sporty in the context of cabin space is cornering hard enough to want a narrow driving position that keeps you from sliding around. With modern tires I’m sure your MKS will do that. But why would you want to?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        This is a case of personal dimensions and is often hard to predict. I made a bit of a study of this selling piston airplanes to pilots. Being nearly 6’3″ I found many shorter pilots found they were too tall in one dimension or another.

        I suspect that if you find the leg room too narrow, you have likely pulled the wheel all the way out and have the seat too close for your leg comfort. I sit with my arms too extended in most cars, but still find them okay if they are automatics. If I need to scoot up for the shifter, I end up bow legged.

        It could be something else, and often there are just good and bad fits. I was more comfortable in a 1990 Miata than a 2012 Z4. The Miata leg space perfectly supported my knee while my elbow was cradled by the door and rest, but the Z4 just never let me get in a good position though wider. Smaller was better.

      • 0 avatar
        RS

        The Focus suffers from console bloat too. Whatever happened to narrow console design? I’m looking forward to their return.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      @TrailerTrash:

      For me, it’s knee room that is the problem in the Taurus/MKS. I usually like to sit with my right knee slightly bowed out but the large center console in the cars makes it nearly impossible to do when the seat is in my preferred position.

      Here’s a picture of the Taurus interior:
      http://0.tqn.com/d/cars/1/0/5/t/1/ag_10taurus_intleft.jpg
      You can see how the console towers over the seats. It’s also largely a box with right angles meaning if I rest my leg at the corner of the console it will get sore. The large console just in general gives a claustrophobic feel as well.

      Here’s a picture of an Oldsmobile LSS:
      http://cdcssl.ibsrv.net/autodata/images/?IMG=U9OLGIF1.jpg&width=390
      See how the console and shifter are both below the front seats? Even with the seats all the way down, it doesn’t intrude on knee room.

      FWIW, Ford is not alone on this. The XTS is just as bad.

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        Right on the money — the console is the problem. The seat is fine if I didn’t always feel like I was trapped in it.

        +1 for the Oldsmobile LSS — a truly fantastic car with spacious seating all around — a lost art (Although they cribbed some of that from the LeSabre…the 88/LSS pulled it off better.).

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Heck, why not just copy properly?

        http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/Tbird100636/100_2400.jpg

        That said, the console is only about 80% of the problem. The other 20% is the pillar and door trim, which is bulked up at exactly the same height:

        http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-2010/def/2010-Ford-Taurus-SHO-Interior-1280×960.jpg

  • avatar
    86er

    So we know Ford has the money, but do they have the *confidence*?

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    Jack, man did you ever hit the nail on the head with this article. Does Lincoln even have their own engineers?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      A while back, Ford announced that Lincoln would get its own design studio, its own engines, and several other things just for itself.

      I don’t know if it every happened, because I haven’t seen any results.

  • avatar
    2011TCCE

    What sucks is, it really does seem like it will never happen. Lincoln use to sell more cars than Cadillac with half the lineup, and it wasn’t 30 years ago, more like 15. Lincoln needs a Bob Lutz or Ralph Gilles, because they don’t have someone pushing passionate cars. All this marketing would be like Microsoft trying to compete with Apple. They get you all excited, then when you go in to see the latest at Microsoft, hoping they finally have learned the error of their ways, you see they are still pushing the same old crap. I love my Lincoln, and it didn’t take marketing to get me in the door. But, like Jack, mine is a real Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Huh? Microsoft isn’t a computer manufacturer. Are you talking about Windows versus OS X?

      • 0 avatar
        2011TCCE

        I’m talking about Microsoft trying to compete with Apple on phones, tablets, software, MP3s, etc. Never said it was a computer manufacturer. What Microsoft is, is a company that puts out products that no one really wants to buy. They make products that you settle for. Like buying the latest Lincoln’s. No one aspires to own any of them. An Apple product is something you aspire to have. Lincoln needs that edge and they don’t have the products, like Microsoft.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        IT Geek here, I just have to opine:

        Microsoft, prior to maybe Xbox, never really made products you *wanted* to buy.

        Who in their right mind wanted…

        Windows 95?

        Because it was mainstream MacOS and beat OS/2 to market by about nine months IIRC. Forget the fact it was really DOS 7 with mandatory GUI, multitasking, and long file names for a world happy with DOS 6.2 and so unstable they released three different versions of it… that’s versions, not service packs folks. So you got it with your new PC pretty much whether you liked it or not.

        Incidentally 2011TCCE, the codename for Windows 95 was PANTHER!

        Windows 98/ME?

        People who bought a PC with Windows 95 and it blew dogs for quarters. Macs were very expensive, proprietary, and Linux was “just a hacker thing” for the first ten years of its life. So you bought it to sort of ‘upgrade’.

        Microsoft Office 97/2000/2003?

        For the longest time it was the only game in town, I never saw Lotus on any PC outside of a business. You had to have it for school, and you more or less had to have it in the business world.

        SQL Server 7/2000?

        Because Oracle licenses started at $50,000, MySQL was again a “hacker thing” (wasn’t taken seriously by business) for awhile, and a SQL 2K license for Small Business Server 2000 was $4,000 folks. Business need places to put data, from ten man shops to giants like GM and Toyota. You could buy the expensive license and let IT give you grey hair over managing your Oracle instance, or you bought your reasonable cheap (in comparison) Pentium II/III class SCSI server for your department and let them all share it on their NT/2000 stations. Yes I am dating myself here, but this is why people bought the product.

        Windows 7?

        Because Vista was a disaster and outside of the business world you couldn’t get a legit XP license. So if your 2006-09 era laptop came with Vista, you get to (1) buy Windows 7 home and make your son/nephew/daughter/niece/neighbor/bookie/drug dealer install it, (2) spend $500-$1500 and “upgrade” to a NEW intel based PC laptop with quality Windows 7 or (3) spend twice that on a NEW intel based Mac laptop with quality [ten year old] OSX version whatever (Yes, Apple hasn’t built ‘real Macs’ since circa 2006, google “Hackintosh”).

        Apple on the other hand makes products people want to sell their organs to purchase (yes, really). Do you need their products? You could live your whole life without needing any junk that evil company builds with slave labor… but you *want* it. This is what Ford need to figure out, you could make the argument “I need a truck for work”, “I need wheels so I’ll buy the Focus/Fiesta”, nobody can justify “Well the wife needs the MK whatever-fake-station-wagon”, or “I need a Zephyr or Ecoboost MkTaurus”.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Apple better gets its proverbial “stuff” together or people is going to get tired and move on.

        Right now I don’t see a single reason to replace my Android phone with an iPhone. My current contract ends in March and it looks like its going to be Android again. And I can bet I am not alone in that.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Sooo, who builds cars for us Linux users? You know, free and do 95 percent of what I need it to do.

        In all seriousness, I have a MacBook pro as my notebook for one reason…The MagSafe connector for the AC/DC adapter. I had multiple laptops die an early death because the connector for the power supply comes desoldered from the motherboard. Mac notebooks do not have this problem. I suppose in that respect I am like someone who purchases a Phaeton due to the trunk latches.

        Incidentally, the battery on my Macbook gives much longer life and has outlasted my previous Dells and HPs by a long shot. By the time you factor in the replacement cost of the batteries over the life of those systems and the fact my Macs give me a longer service life (due in large part to the above power connection” then the “Mac Tax” is minimal.

        I am an IT professional as well and don’t begrudge Windows one bit. I have made a nice living off of the OS’s shortfalls. Unix remains my favorite server OS though. I prefer Linux at home but I keep a Mac for the same reason people drive Camrys…It just works when I need my computer. No drama.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @mkirk

        Both my current and former employers are well ingrained in Dell so I had two Precisions (an M90 and an M6500) and the current job gives me a Core i7 Latitude which I mostly meh. I was never a fanboy but back when Apple still used PowerPC I had a great deal of respect for them, and the fact they built their OS platform on Darwin BSD instead of a proprietary kernel. Since the Ipod battery scandal I have been skeptical of their products.

        Personally I’m a fan of used Thinkpads, I have three at home which are used for personal reasons (one is a media server) and occasional side business. I have bought and sold several and the only hardware problems I encountered were ‘fan errors’ which aren’t terribly difficult to fix if you follow the manual. I can’t even imagine trying to work on a newer Macbook, sounds like a headache just talking about it.

        There is a Thinkpad/Linux enthusiast community I found a few years ago as well, thinkwiki.org.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        You must be pretty rough on your laptops’ power cords, mkirk. I have had several laptops from various companies and used to do some tech support back in the day and have never even heard of this de-soldering issue you mention. One of my machines in particular was used for traveling duty, and it got unplugged and plugged back in 7-10 times daily, and survived for more than 8 years. I did have to get a new battery for it once or twice.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      @gottacook, one word: “Zune”

      • 0 avatar
        2011TCCE

        No joke!

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I’ll up you one on that Dan: “Surface”

      • 0 avatar
        espressoBMW

        xbox

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The Zune was marketed in the end as the MP3 player for audiophiles. Trouble is the audiophiles listen to music on LPs through a recapped 70’s Pioneer receiver or something from the golden era of hi-fi if they are of limited means, or the crazy high end tube stuff if they are well heeled. The never listen to compressed digital…well maybe in the gym or something.

        I always thought the zune was a slick device though, but portable music became a fashion statement and a 400 dollar iPod touch coupled with a pair of 400 dollar beats headphones became the fashion statement of choice. As far as sound, the iPods Ive owned never had anything on a Zune or my old Creative players for that matter. But the iPod is cool.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    There’s no reason to buy an MKS over a Taurus SHO, and that in itself is a huge problem considering the MKS is Lincoln’s flagship sedan.

    As an SHO owner, I looked at the MKS EB, and aside from the nicer interior, it was the same car with an idiot tax.

    I want Lincoln to be successful, but I just don’t see it happening with Ford stepping on their toes. That doesn’t mean Ford needs to move down market, it means Lincoln needs to step it up.

    Lincoln should have died with Mercury and should have been reincarnated as something else, starting with small RWD lineup. The name Lincoln stinks. There I said it. Cadillac (Caddy has a nice ring to it), but Lincoln? I drive a Lincoln. Even saying it sounds bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Carzzi

      “I drive a Lincoln to the theatre” sounds even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      um…yes there is.
      And the reason/difference is luxury in materials.
      Now I don’t know what you see as equal, but I know both cars extremely well. And the leather alone in the MKS blows the stuffing (or lack of) out of the Taurus.
      It isn’t close.
      Ditto the materials around the entire interior.
      I just can’t understand why people do nt see the quality differense as being a difference.
      The Taurus is equal in most ways…except the extra details and luxury touches.
      And these extras are what made me choose the MKS over the Taurus SHO.
      I needed a car that would really do well suporting me over long distant, days really, of driving.
      And there is a big, big difference between these two in this way.
      Very confused by this comparison…

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        It’s not that people don’t see the difference in quality, people don’t see it being worth it. Not everyone is a dash stroker.

        The idiot tax of $10k isn’t worth it. You could wrap the headliner in leather and it still wouldn’t be worth it.

        And FWIW, I like the suede seats in the SHO much better than the leather.

      • 0 avatar
        AlphaWolf

        Agreed TT. Similarly I hear all of the time the Fusion is the same as the MKZ. But in interior materials it’s clearly not. This is where the MKZ blows away it’s Ford counterpart. The navigation system is much better integrated in the 2012, much higher in the dash, and there is tan leather available where the Ford had black leather. The 2013 is even more differentiated in little extras.

        Price wise is where Lincoln I think is losing customers, they used some Fusion bits and did not hide them well enough for the price premium. Lower the price and make every almost every feature standard and people will pay attention.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lincoln dealers are kinda whats the word… screwed… in these parts with the demise of Mercury unless they have a Ford dealer attached, the Lincoln brand hasn’t moved serious volume in years. I’m sure if you tried you could argue down the “idiot tax” quite a bit and buy the nicer looking MKS over Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Again…this is a circular argument and everybody is using moving logic.
        You and others say the quality isn’t different…then you say Brif=dge of Weir leather is not as good as suede. Um..OK.
        Cannot argue with this.
        Then others ask where oh where is American luxury.
        So Ford offers a big 4,500 pound 360 HP zero to sixty filled with everything on earth stuff…and it gets bitched at.

        Oh…so it cannot tale mountain cornering at 75 MPH. So what is it exactly you want for 49K?
        Name me the car you have found with what the Taurus or MKS offer at the prices.
        I keep getting list of cars that simply don’t give everything.
        You get the power…but you don’t get AWD.
        You get the AWD…but you pay 10K more.

        Let’s face it…there ain’t gonna be nothing that makes you like anything that’s not German.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        SPARTAN

        first…IF you are not a “dash stroker”…then you aught not to be in the luxury market as you don’t know what the hell quality is or where it shoud be.

        Next…to all those pissing on about knee room…I JUST looked at the MKS in the drive again.
        There has to be nearly 3 feet of space from door to center. Now If you have bowling ball sized nuts, I can understand you need to spread.
        But WTF!?
        I spread my damned knees as far as I could and could not get both to touch sides.
        So JesusHChrist…what in hell is everybody talking about?????

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “first…IF you are not a “dash stroker”…then you aught not to be in the luxury market as you don’t know what the hell quality is or where it shoud be.”

        Back when I used to buy new 3-series BMWs, their interiors were made of the hardest, most inbustrial, non-color-coordinated plastics and exposed, unchromed metal imaginable. MSRP on my vinyl 325 manual was $25K in 1988. In 1994, window sticker with options for the 325is was $35,900. In adjusted dollars, they were more expensive than 3 series BMWs are today, but I saw the value in them because they drove better than the alternatives at the time. The first one was also practically a life-time product. It was fully galvanized, completely serviceable, and practically timeless in its styling. I guess I was never a real luxury customer, since my definition of quality doesn’t turn into compost when left in the sun for a year.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @TT – Even for “dash-strokers” (love that term BTW), Lincoln needs more than some nice leather to justify the almost $20k price premium they are trying to get here. At $5k, maybe, but not $34k to $55k. I don’t think anyone is denying that they use better quality materials in the MKS over the Taurus, it is just that the little changes they do still isn’t worth the premium to the typical buyer. And forget the Taurus, buyers have all the other manufacturers to choose from too. The Lexus ES has a better value proposition, equal or better materials and build quality, and a nameplate that will impress more of the general public. The Genesis offers a genuinely unique chassis and engine (RWD/V8 to boot) and looks like a Lexus LS twin. There is a lot of good competition out there, and it seems the general consensus is Lincoln needs to step up their game. And it is not just out opinions, the market has spoken, Lincoln isn’t selling.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        CJinSD

        Ya…it is a cool term, but really…it was Spartan that initiated its use, not me.
        First…not only should you stroke the dash in this segment, you should do so the seats, feel knobs, look at fit and finish…oh, hell…its a lot of time and work when spending that kid of money.
        And test drive. I test drove all the cars. The Genesis all down to the ES350.
        But truth needs be told. All of them skipped on something and when totalled, the MKS DID hold it all.

        And finally…IF we are to now stop judging cars as drivers and personally and instead leave it to market success…then WHO really is the best car?
        Is Hyundai now a better car than Mazda?
        Um…really????
        Were the MOnkeys a better band than the Moody Blues…or most of the other truly better bands they outsold?

        What exactly are you giving in to here? And why does this site exist if all we gotta do is look at volume winners?

        Look…The Man Himself, Jack, says it is one of THE best cars in the World above. So why all the picky shit?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Know what sounds even worse than Lincoln? Hyundai.

      It’s not the name.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lincoln is the name of an American President and icon, its quite classy in my mind. I agree Hyundai is a stupid name for an automotive brand, but its the name of the parent corporation which was actually a big deal in the business world according to the Wiki:

        “By the mid-1990s Hyundai comprised over 60 subsidiary companies and was active in a diverse range of activities including automobile manufacturing, construction, chemicals, electronics, financial services, heavy industry and shipbuilding.”

        Personally I would have called Hyundai automotive something like “Azera” for the brand name, it sounds Eastern and mysterious.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Mr. Baruth, that was inspirational – I especially enjoyed “It should exude menace in dark colors and sunny Camelot optimism in pastels.” But I fear that any eventual Continental (which I trust will be built, why else “rebrand” the marque?) will have side and rear windows no larger than those of the MKS or the Chrysler 300. The styling has got to be strong enough to break away from current slit-window, short-rear-deck trends; for a resurrected Continental to succeed, it has to look like a Continental and not a four-door Mark IV. And it has to look good in a long-wheelbase version; of course anything would look better than those MKT livery cars with tacky “TOWN CAR” badging, which mercifully I’ve only seen one example of. Real wood would be nice, too, even though by my favorite Continental year (1972) it was long gone.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    http://www.ski-epic.com/gifs/g007_citizen_kane_slow_clap.gif

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Thanks Jack. All this needed to be said.

    I listen to WHYY while driving to and from work, and Lincoln’s been one of their sponsors for some time, mentioning how many square feet of glass the new MKZ’s sunroof is and whatnot. Only now at the end they say “Introducing the LINCOLN MOTOR COMPANY.”

    Man, they didn’t waste any time getting that out!

  • avatar
    Glenn Mercer

    So…. what you are saying (jotting this down so I get it right)… that maybe a good way to revive a luxury brand, is with really great product? That instead of marketing an image for a car you don’t have, FIRST you should make the car? Hmmmm…. this has legs. This is thinking outside the box. I like it.

    (Hopefully everyone picked up on the sarcasm there.)

    I entirely agree.

    Lexus broke into the BMW/MB luxury duopoly because the LS400 was incredible (and was sold via dealerships given enough margin to pamper customers). The marketing followed.

    I think the next Lincoln has to be good enough that luxury shoppers would feel stupid if they didn’t at least look at it. Not “as good as” a BMW, not “right up there with MB,” but clearly ahead. And the LS400 when it came out, was that (relative to our Teutonic friends.)

    Lose $10,000 a car if you have to, but nail it. Build the car, then the brand will follow. Build the brand first, and you just enrich ad agencies and media outlets.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    All I could think about the whole time I was reading that was a bunch of sophomoric smugatroids repeating, “You can’t refresh retro.”

    Of course they should go back to when they were desirable cars, do an updated version of what they were doing then, price the car so that they can raise the price up to the proper price over three years making their depreciation look good again, and do a quality job.

    They don’t know how and never did. Okay, they once had a few guys who could push the organization in the right direction, but even in the heyday they had lots of issues. When I was hanging around ford and Lincoln dealers in the mid nineties the service guys couldn’t believe the amount of problems a town car would have. They could not believe anyone still bought them.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Again Jack nails it. This is why TTAC is a daily must read and why the monthly magazines along with Auto-Every-Other-Week have become irrelevant.

    There must be people at Ford and Lincoln–oops Lincoln Motor Company I mean–that also know this but haven’t been able to get the key decision makers to pull the trigger. This is the only way Lincoln will have any kind of a long term future.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Baruth at his absolute best.

    It’s all about the cars, Lincoln. Make some good ones that don’t assault the eyes and people will come back to the brand. Embrace the idea of classic American luxury. Don’t look at BMW and Audi as the enemy — instead win back the legion of Town Car fans you have lost in the past decade. It’s okay to have a large car, with lots of luxurious appointments, ooze down the street holding its occupants in supreme comfort. Not everyone wants to go fast around the NurburgBurgerKingring. It’s the cars, stupid…

  • avatar
    Gravy

    May I buy the Panther tooling please? I’ll make CV’s for the cops and taxi companies all day long and TC’s for the livery crowd.

  • avatar
    EAM3

    I recently stopped at a Ford/Lincoln dealer and while looking at the cars in the showroom, two major things I noticed were: 1. Outrageous prices for the MKsomething or other (sticker over $65K) because 2. It had dealer added accoutrements like Vogue tires, Special Edition gold trim, fake convertible roof and additional overpriced dealer add-ons. I felt like I was at a dealership from the early 80’s.

    They need to drop the fake convertible crap that worked so well on octogenerians from 30 years ago. Lincoln has a great opportunity to start fresh and I wholy agree with Jack, build the Continental and increased sales of the FWD models will follow. And train the dealers on how car dealers work in the 21st century, no sane shopper is going to pay $65K for a glorified FWD Ford when the imports give you so much more.

    • 0 avatar
      2011TCCE

      Problem I encountered is that Lincoln’s should not be sold at Ford dealerships. You don’t go to a Toyota store to buy a Lexus. You don’t go to Costco to buy Tiffany. And from my experience, you are treated like you are buying a Fiesta when you are buying a Navigator. If I hadn’t wanted my car so much, I would have walked. The dealerships suck, and even with a great product, they still ruin the experience. It is sad how clueless the manufacturers are and how they let the dealers get away with murder.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I guess I’m not the “right” kind of customer but I have zero desire in paying for a stand alone dealer. In fact I want to drive a nice example, build one on paper and then pay at delivery time. I don’t need nor want any salesman BS or shiny floors. But then I get it – I’m not the average customer.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I have never understood the appeal of pretending to have a convertible.

      And you’re right about that $65K car… that’s a fully loaded ES300h and $15-20K in change.

  • avatar
    Skink

    When designing that new Continental, throw away the French curve. Make it look like nothing else. Do not put it in a wind tunnel.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Almost there, Jack.

    Ford should not give every Lincoln dealer five, they should allow each dealer ONE, for demo purposes. Then each car SOLD is built to that individual customer’s specification (with lots of options to choose from, including things like a cigar holder, bar, video conferencing equipment, lifetime XM radio). Some niceties that can be specified but don’t cost anything would be nice (different kinds of organizers for the trunc, for example). Even rich people like to hear that “that’s included in the price.” Hell, it should *all* be included in the price (OK, maybe not entirely practical but you get the idea).

  • avatar
    doug-g

    “…even the guys at Jalopnik…”

    Jalopnik…isn’t that the site the annoying Wert kid used to run? You still reading that?

  • avatar
    Bangernomist

    Very well said, Jack. I made a similar prescription yesterday to friends with one exception that I think is essential: Eight cylinders are not enough.

    The new Lincoln must be a V12.

    The engineering work already exists from the Aston Martin engine. It is something that the domestic competition does not have. (The Phaeton W12 was cool, but it does not possess perfect primary and secondary balance the way a V12 does.) Most importantly, it provides a link farther back than the ’61 Continental, to the ’40 Continental.

    There are a couple of other things that could help. Stealing the Presidential limo slot back and building a Beast that riffs the new car would be a plus. And exports to Asia are essential to connect with the real money. But the V12 is a must.

    • 0 avatar
      genuineleather

      The only problem with a V12 is that it would cost a fortune to develop, add weight, and almost certainly be a reliability nightmare. Both Mercedes and BMW stumbled with their first-gen V12’s, which were barely faster than their V8s in real-world peformance and twice as likely to break down.

      The last thing Lincoln needs is a $100k flagship that doesn’t start in the morning.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I agree. The S600 i stupid expensive to buy and own vs the S550, and how many people can tell the difference even if they’re parked side by side. A turbo V8 would be fine.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford already paid for the development of a V12. The Aston Martin V12 is essentially two Ford Duratec V6 engines mated together. They’re assembled in what is now an Aston Martin facility inside the larger Ford Niehl Engine Plant in Cologne.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Jack:
    Could not have said it better myself. All Lincoln has to do is follow Chrysler’s lead with the 300. An oversimplification, but seriously, RWD, V8, iconic styling, equals the American car for the customer who desires American styling. One of Jack’s previous columns touched on this, that there is an untapped market for such a car. Let Cadillac play wanna-be with BMW with idiotic ‘Ring comparisons. They can have that market, or try to carve out a piece. To be fair, this is not a call for Panther part II (sorry Sajeev!).

    The 300 represents the evolution of the classic RWD / V8 interstate cruiser, country club and cocktails, tasteful but not ostentatious, successful in business or profession, pride in country, veteran of a good war, the car your father bought at the top of his game. This is not, and will not be confused with a Floridian fake convertible top Malaise era cruiser. Nothing about the 300 reminds one of a Malaise mobile or the geriatric CVS shuttle. If anything, it hearkens back to what Chrysler was making at the top of their game.

    Lincoln can, and must do the same. The market and customers are there, all they have to do is build the car. Its that simple.

  • avatar
    Dan

    One Ford is so confident that American America is dying that the next Mustang isn’t even a Mustang. The most American car since the original Willy’s and they’re throwing it away to build something styled after an electric concept from Ford Europe. You think for one second they’re going to bring back golden age American Lincoln?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Congratulations on using this retro land yacht as TTAC’s latest variation on the manual transmission diesel station wagon.

    “It could fail.”

    Replace “could fail” with “would definitely fail”, and you’d be onto something.

    Lincoln is destined not to work as a car brand. In the new global economy, it could never achieve enough volume to justify its ongoing existence. A billion bucks spent on R&D for a brand’s entire lineup is a pittance, which suggests that Ford corporate doesn’t have high expectations for the brand, and certainly not outside of the United States.

    If Ford was serious about being a global luxury player, then it would have kept Land Rover and Jaguar, and it would have worked diligently to turn Jaguar into a bona fide global brand that could compete head-on with the Germans. But that obviously didn’t happen.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I believe they sold JLR for some badly needed cash.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I believe they sold JLR for some badly needed cash.”

        No, Mulally would have sold it, regardless. His actions suggest that he wants Ford to be a one-brand operation. The other brands were perceived as being a waste of management resources that would distract them from focusing on core operations.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        No, he sold PAG it was still enough of a seperate entity that it could be a stand alone company, and be worth something. Had it been actually efficiently integrated (as Mullaly later did with Ford), it would have only been a name. It was much cheaper to sell then downsize FoE operations.

        Egg before the chicken, please.

        And be honest, the only thing JLR had was the name recognition over Lincoln.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “he sold PAG it was still enough of a seperate entity that it could be a stand alone company, and be worth something”

        That really has nothing to do with it.

        PAG was Jacques Nasser’s idea. Mulally obviously didn’t see a place for it in the company.

        Some CEOs want to use separate brands to cover all of their bases. Others would prefer to remain focused on a core. Marchionne is in the former camp; Mulally is in the latter.

        If Mulally thought that PAG was going to help Ford, then he would have kept it. But in stark contrast to Nasser, Mulally promotes the idea of “One Ford”, which is a strategy that calls for fewer brands and less regional differentiation.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        “If Mulally thought that PAG was going to help Ford, then he would have kept it. But in stark contrast to Nasser, Mulally promotes the idea of “One Ford”, which is a strategy that calls for fewer brands and less regional differentiation.”

        Exactly – he sold off unneeded manpower and bloat. Would he have found a buyer for just a brand name? I don’t think so (that was my point, it was unclear). The branding was the lipstick on the pig. I agree with you that the lipstick would have been the only thing that could have sparked a chance at penetrating the luxury market.

        Edit: forgot to add I’m glad to see someone putting some sense into the Continental concept. I don’t recall people rushing out to buy Crown Vics at the time of the 2002 concept debut. Who in their right mind besides a few nut jobs (myself included) would spend new money on one?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        “And be honest, the only thing JLR had was the name recognition over Lincoln.”
        Hardly – JLR has more heritage, global sales presence and coherent design. They need to work on reliability but JLR is a much more promising place to start out from than Lincoln if you want to make it in the global luxury auto business.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Heritage goes hand in hand with branding. I didn’t think of the dealer network. Design team was a Ford pooled resource.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Superb, as usual, article Jack. Lincoln needs to make a car that oozes masculine elegance and luxury. They need to make a car the valets leave in front of the restaurant for proletariat to ogle. Think Allen Edmonds/Alden shoes and a well tailored suit conservative. Scads of people thinking I don’t know what he does but apparently he does it very well. The F-L-M dealer should have salespeople dedicated to Lincoln customers. Much bowing, scraping, and butt kissing should occur whenever your face brightens the dealership doors/service area. You’re not there to get the best deal on a Fiesta.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Here would be my Lincoln Motor Company plan.

    Long term marketing slogan: “Lincoln Surround” This doesn’t paint you into a corner and emphasizes the driving experience.

    Product strategy: Pull from the Ford parts bin, however the vehicle should have no resemblance to a Ford in any way. Very few consumers know the difference. Drop any vehicle in 2014 that does not fit this model.

    Product #1 upper-grade: Full size luxury sedan with presence. Attention to design details. When viewed it must be on the same plateau as Audi and Mercedes. (Don’t think BMW, it soesn’t need to lap the “Ring”) It needs all weather capability and should highly coddle the owner. This could be the TC1 (Town Car one)

    Product #2 mid-grade: They are already making the MKZ. I think this works. I like the design and the glass panel roof.

    Product #3 performance/luxury/value: Make that baby RWD 4-dr Lincoln pulling from the new Ford Mustang parts bin. Repeat… Body and interior needs to be amazing. Named LS of course.

    Repeat and rinse procedure for the SUV’s, but no trucks.
    As mentioned, focus on amazing new products before marketing. Then market each Lincoln model separately to target it’s role.

  • avatar
    wcpfour

    Jack,

    Excellent points, and well presented, but I have one issue not addressed here. If I actually wanted to go buy any of the current Lincoln product lineup, I would have to go to my local Lincoln dealer. From where I work, it’s only a few blocks away. But, it also happens to be the local Ford store. I know Ford has had plenty of experience with halo cars (Ford GT, GT500), but I wouldn’t want to buy and service a $100k luxury flagship there. Especially when I can go around the corner to the Lexus store, which will sell me a whole lot of luxury and posterior smooching service for less than $100k. Are there even any stand-alone Lincoln stores left? I’m sure a Continental as you described would sell out, but what then? Why pay more for an MKZ than a Fusion if they’re side by side on the showroom floor and in the service drive? Looks and content alone won’t be enough to support the premium. Consider how many people bought a Lexus primarily for the customer service…

  • avatar
    danio3834

    There’s so many jabs here, it’s hard to keep track.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      And everybody has their history screwed up.

      The MKS came out long before the Taurus.
      Lincoln WAS going to be separate with this car.
      Then steps in Mulaly.
      Its was HE that proclaimed the Ford Fivehundred a mistake and renamed it the Taurus..THEN he made another model based upon the recent MKS.
      HE HIMSELF is quoted as saying THIS was the Taurus that SHOULD have been introduced from the beginning.
      Then we started getting sneaked pics from the production facility and we saw it was a rebadged MKS…NOT visa Versa.

      So come on…place the blame where it should be…on the shoulders of the golden child himself.

      I always thought they should have continued with the Fivehundred look and instead goosed up the power and made it a better car.
      It was doing well and looked good.
      I see thousands driving around. Somebody was buying them.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I agree mostly with Jack’s recommendations.

    I know I’ve said it a few times since this LMC talk came up, but this is an appropriate place as any to say it again:

    Build this!

    http://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2007-mkr_concept/

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    It’s appropriate that today’s Lincoln Motor company has Jimmy Fallon “curating tweets”. Quoting from a Jimmy Fallon song:

    “I know what you want. I know what you need. But I’m gonna screw it up, yeah ’cause I’m an idiot,and I’m your boyfriend”

    I would only drive a car with a grill like that if it collected enough krill to feed my family.

  • avatar
    DM335

    I have thought for a long time about how to fix the mistakes being made with Lincoln. It always comes down to the product. Renaming the division Lincoln Motor Company will not make any difference unless the ultimate plan is to change to LMC, which will actually make the problem worse. Lincoln needs desirable products with names that evoke positive images. Features considered basics in the luxury market should be standard. Having a stripped model for rental car use is counter-productive. (The rear camera is an option on the new MKZ, for example.) Above all, Lincoln needs a product that people will notice and talk about.

    I would suggest the following…

    2-door and 4-door based on a stretched RWD Mustang platform – call it Continental or Capri. This would be the new image car.
    Update the Navigator and keep the name.
    Update the MKX and go back to the Aviator name.
    Rename the MKZ back to Zephyr
    Rename the MKT to Town Car.
    Restyle the MKS to be like the Continental show car. Maybe this should be the Continental

    Lincoln is not and never will be a European car, so the letter names such as MKX make very little sense. Lincoln should represent American luxury and not try to be something else.

    Unfortunately this is all wishful thinking.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Ah, just slap a whaleface on a Taurus, put it on 26 inch spinners and save a billion bucks. Lincoln will probably die anyway, so it may as well die cheaply.

  • avatar
    deanst

    While I would like to think that the “if we build it they will come” approach would work in the auto industry, VW’s experience with the Phaeton would indicate otherwise. Ford should have kept Land Rover and Jaguar – 2 global brands that had a chance of competing with the Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      VW was attempting to move a well-known low-mid market brand that has from the beginning been known as “the peoples car” into the upper crust of luxury. And, the Phaeton looked pretty much like a swollen Passat. Lincoln at least has history, it was one of the luxury leaders, they just need to get that back.

      You do have a good point with Jaguar and Land Rover though. I was thinking as I read this that badge/sheetmetal engineering with those brands product would have been a much better plan that doing the same with all the Ford products.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Beyond the obvious problem of selling a very expensive car with a garbage badge, the high end German sedan was already a strongly contested market.

      The American sedan past $45,000 is so underserved that even a half assed gesture like the XTS will move upwards of 30K a year.

      It’s there for the taking.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    I love that people rip on the Lincoln grill. Is there a single other luxury or near luxury mark that has a decent looking grill that has any sort of style? BMW would be the closest thing, and that’s only because they’ve managed to resist supersizing their grills. They are boring, but at least have heritage. Mercedes and Audi – gaping maws. Acura – beak. Infiniti and Lexus – cartoony gaping maw. Cadillac – geometric gaping maw.

    I agree that Lincoln needs to have the cliche flagship car to bring in the onlookers to the dealerships. But they do need to work on the public image as well. The above comments are proof enough. JB’s assessment of how Lincoln matches up to the competition is accurate, and those who say otherwise likely have no experience with a recent Lincoln to back it up. Styling and quality aren’t issues with Lincoln. They need an identity. They need the flagship car to lead the brand and make the rest of the lineup mini-me versions of it. And they need to pick a spokesperson who isn’t a comedian. Especially a comedian that only teens think is funny.

  • avatar
    Mud

    Looking forward to any responses from the addressees ….

    and, panther-haters notwithstanding, I still wish Ford had kept and updated the one (Marauder) platform.

  • avatar
    Neumahn

    YESSSSSS!!!!! YES!!!!!!! THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING!! FINALLY YESSSS!!!!

    Build this car with suicide doors, rear wheel drive, a different grill and dare I say it, a twin turbo ecoboost V-8!!!

    http://img.netcarshow.com/Ford-Interceptor_Concept_2007_1600x1200_wallpaper_05.jpg

    Ford Interceptor Concept!!! You are already at the Preliminary Design Review! You already have drawings!!!!! Build It!!!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      http://www.netcarshow.com/lincoln/2007-mkr_concept/

      This works well as a platform mate as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Neumahn

        This is a beautiful concept also however it is a coupe. I think the Continental needs to be a sedan. This concept would be a great midsize companion to the full size Continental sedan. Perhaps that is what you meant?

        They have such great concepts then they try and sell crap. It is disappointing and not what I would expect from Mulally.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Neumahn, I think you could technically call the MKR concept a sedan since it does appear to have a post. Either way, it’s a 4 door, and could easily be justified along side the Interceptor concept.

        They’re both such fine looking cars, it’s a crime not to build them.

      • 0 avatar
        Neumahn

        I agree. It is so sad that they already have a wonderful set of concepts but instead go right back to rebadging cars. I thought Mulally was very outspoken against rebadging. I really don’t think Mulally is invested in this effort at all. It looks like he has just given Farley some budget and said, here, go play. Farley’s in charge of this and his skills are as a marketer. When all you have is a hammer…

        Right now I have a 2008 BMW 550i and I bought it because I loved the presence of the car and how it drives. I don’t think Lincoln would not be forgiven for cars not driving as firmly as a BMW however it does need to have presence. It needs to make a statement. It needs to be something people aspire to own. It would be nice if it was large and even better if there was an ‘L’ variant. I am sure it would also be an immediate hit with the high end Livery business.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Nah – that’s a 300 isn’t it? ;)

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    This could only work in US. The rest of the world would not understand new Lincoln Continental land yacht.
    Why build it then when US market is just one of several important markets for global companies like Ford? In 1961. things were very different.
    Besides, a billion $ in 80s is like 2 billion in 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Land yacht indeed. The 1961 Continental is a whole 6 inches longer than the long-wheelbase versions of the A8 or 7-series. Oh however would they sell such a monstrosity?

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Big deal – what’s a few inches of wheelbase if it gets the rear seat a bit more legroom? Nothing like riding in a big car with no interior space. Looking at you 90s Camaro and Crown Vic.

  • avatar

    To sum it up in one sentence, Jack advocates building a proper flagship car. I see a couple of possible problems with that. First, I am not sure it would be enough to save Lincoln. It is obvious that Lincoln needs a proper flagship, but it may not be all Lincoln needs. Second, Jack takes for granted that LMC is capable of building the new Continental. But are they? The final crescendo seems to make the argument that they cannot know until they try. It would be a great argument in a privately-owned company, but think of shareholder lawsuits about dereliction of fudiciary duty or whatnot. Board revolts while the inevitable red ink flows. I think it is not as simple as just sitting down and building the car.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      >It is obvious that Lincoln needs a proper flagship, but it may not be all Lincoln needs

      It would be a great start though. Hyundai has been running TV ads of their lower models and putting the Equus as a cameo supporting actor. They get to advertise the flagship cheap by embedding it in the Sante Fe’s ad budget, while the lower models get the rub off from a loss leader halo car. It works, and I think it’s a brilliant marketing move.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    What does Jimmy Fallon have to do with a luxury brand?

    “I need you to stop reading this letter right now so you can go home, cut out a section of your garden hose and savagely beat whoever came up with that idea until they can’t walk any more. Wait. Make that “type”. Can’t type any more.”

    God I love the writing on TTAC!

    John

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Gotta love the auto journalism pitfalls of the LS300. Was it really that impressive of a feat to dedicate a platform to a new marque? Not really. They set an example and GM gladly blew the cash to be a ‘me too.’ Toyota’s genious marketing at work.

    Would anyone had said the same had the new CD4.1 platform had the MkZ led the Fusion by 1 year in production? No, there would be criticism. Does anyone notice the crazy deck lid sheetmetal, the Big Ass Moon Roof or the lack of hideous ditch molding on the new MkZ? Hell no, because marketing is running smoke screens with Seacrest and Fallon. Those are crazy feats in manufacturing that armchair auto experts DGAF about.

    Auto journalism is all about the handouts or the 20/20 hindsight. Lincoln is such a bastardized brand (due to resource sucking PAG and the death of the American Luxury Car) that nothing can be done to justify it’s existence to the peanut gallery. If the new MkZ fails to caputre market share, Lincoln deserves to die.

    Not even a Mustang derived Lincoln would warrant a TTAC best and brightest nod.

    • 0 avatar

      TM, those feats you mentioned are worthy of respect and admiration but still not enough of a reason to convince someone to part with $50k.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        That’s subjective. No current luxury marque has content worth parting for 50K. You’re buying into Marketing BS when you purchase a luxury car.

        But if one is going to whine about Lincoln not doing anything to stand out, tell me of another manufacturer that has decided to attach a roof to a BIW without making it look like the same tired crap with plastic ditch molding or painted body sealant. A 50k car shouldn’t look like a Ford Fiesta.

        I could pick apart Ford’s decision to idle Wixom: Wixom manufactured Lincolns above corporate standards because it was the ‘Lincoln’ plant. But guess what? No one gave a damn. They care about the image and Lincoln’s image will take decades to repair. There is no sivler bullet solution.

        The MkZ is a breath of fresh air to the brand and will give all the Chief engineers something else to drive besides their wives loaded Explorers. But the world could care less. Even if it was a brown, RWD, TDI, Laguna Seca tuned, suicide door equipped whatever wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        “That’s subjective. No current luxury marque has content worth parting for 50K. You’re buying into Marketing BS when you purchase a luxury car.”

        FLAWLESS VICTORY!!!!11!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        I suppose they should just all just curl up and die.

        On the other hand, things are worth what people are willing to pay. Some people have enough money that the difference between paying for a $30,000 car and a $50,000 car doesn’t affect them that much. On the other hand, if there is an actual difference in build quality, style, features, performance, dealership expericence, etc which will cause them to enjoy the 50k car EVEN A LITTLE more, then it may be worth it to that person to buy the 50k car. The cost isn’t going to affect them negatively as much as having the better car will positively. Roll that logic out far enough and you’ll see why a billionaire would buy a Veyron instead of a 2004 Mustang V6. Or if we’re talking dollar for dollar 15, new Corvettes or 400 used Miatas.

        Of course what also sells more luxury cars is the people who want to create the impression that they have enough money that the more expensive car payment doesn’t present a hardship.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Just another reason we turned off subscription TV over 18 months ago – the endless marketing. A good product will sell itself if people know about it and the brand has a good rep (people trust the products).

  • avatar
    ajla

    Lincoln’s current lineup isn’t BAD, but it’s not spectacular, and the only people that seem to go for them are those with a strong pre-disposition for Fords in the first place. There just aren’t enough of those folks to support a successful luxury brand.

    An Acura buyer may be “just as happy” with a Lincoln on neutral ground, but ground isn’t neutral. Lincoln doesn’t even show up on most people’s radar these days. And Acura isn’t exactly lighting it up in the first place.

    Would making a $100K Continental fix it? I doubt it, at this point I think it’s too late. Lincoln’s problems are terminal and it’s baggage is too great- pretty much where Pontiac and Oldsmobile were at before they died. Even a full line of class-leading products won’t be enough to fix it.

    I would start winding the brand down and wouldn’t spend any more money on it.

    Ford is a good company and a strong brand, they’ll be better off without Lincoln.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The whole thing is a lost cause. The lack of a big rear-drive Lincoln? Nobody cares except the airport limo operators. Judging from their obvious recent nationalities, they wouldn’t know the Super Bowl and Jimmy Fallon from Australian National Dingo Day. And they think an older black Camry with leather is a limo when the Lincoln finally bites the dust.

    The local Lincoln dealer runs incessant TV ads with an elegantly-clad sophisticated 45 year old woman as shillperson. For some reason, she seems to feel that languidly leaning on some car or another will entice the possible customer to drop in and buy a Lincoln because they are being sold at tax-free prices, and why waste time negotiating a deal, we’ll give you poor tired busy rich person one up front. Our tax is 15%.

    Never is a Lincoln shown. They’re just too ugly.

    Not wanting to presume our local folk would want to bypass a deal, I have been expecting a plethora of baleen-whale grilled Ford mutations to grace our city streets with their presence. Hasn’t happened.

    For those who do have a spare shekel or two to spend on an expensive trinket, an opening selling gambit of a big discount is a bit of a slap in the face. It doesn’t speak to their aspiration for a machine to impress their friends and just how damn expensive it was. Sure, swapping stories on how they got a deal on a high end Benz or BMW allows the swaggering classes to show how hairy their chests really are, but a discounted Lincoln? Who gives a s**t? Who wants a taxicab?

    So, as has been said for decades, product first and foremost. Relentlessly for a decade or more. No chance of that, so all this blargo-speak from Ford is just hot air. Marketing flakes trying to flog wares to people stuck in a time warp when even grannies sport an iPhone and won’t buy Kias. Yet. My sister in law and her crowd have STANDARDs, y’know.

  • avatar
    roadscholar

    I LOVE THIS WEB SITE.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Jimmy Fallon curating tweets for Lincoln is the most brilliant piece of luxury brand marketing since Cadillac recruited that animated duck.

  • avatar

    I agree with every word you wrote. Especially the big ones.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Farago. Indeed.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I agree with the posts that believe it’s just too late for Lincoln to revive itself. The Japanese and European luxury brands have come so far to establish themselves as building awesome cars while Lincoln has just build ho-hum vehicles. Now it’s to the point where Lincoln is not on luxury car buyers radar and probably never will be. I’ll admit that my mindset is “why pay $60k for a Lincoln or Cadillac when I can be in a Mercedes-Benz (or similar) etc for the same price.” In my opinion, the American manufacturers have “messed around” for so long while competitors vehicles have become so much better that it’s just too late for them to become competitive again.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I agree with the posts that believe it’s just too late for Lincoln to revive itself.”

      You could be right, but I’d like to see them at least put out a serious effort before giving up.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    FWIW i have always thought the Continental MKII was the one i would want.

  • avatar
    Bangernomist

    Seems to me Lincoln was circling the drain much faster in 1960 than 2011:

    http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1958-1960-lincoln-premiere.htm

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Sorry, but this talk of flagships from Lincoln isn’t going to happen on a Ford production line, period. Cigar holders and all that jazz…those are pipe dreams.

    The only thing that Lincoln’s are doing now (finally!), is a 100% top to bottom inspection and drive. Something that they did not do before.

    The death of a “reborn” Lincoln happened when the LS died. It was the only car that didn’t have an “old man” stigma attached to it and Ford let it rot on the vine until not one person cared. (Didn’t help with all the electrical issues either)

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      Don’t forget the cheap-ass, in no way luxurious LS dashboard (the same one used in the unlamented retro-Thunderbird 2-seater). People prefer dashboards they can look at with satisfaction for years, especially in a status car.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Most of that read like a drunken monologue given at happy hour down at your local TGIF, welcome back Jack.

    “Cadillac has had to do this whole wedgy F-117 crap” ROFL.

    “Well, that’s what you get for not having Daewoo do all your compacts or doing three years of “Red Tag Sales”. That’s your own fault. Sit there and think about what you’ve done.” Love it.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    Funny, I said the same thing as Baruth just yesterday, only I used the phrase MK-Taurus, so my comment doesn’t count:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/lincoln-announces-name-change-nobody-cares/#comment-1974450

    “A true flagship instead of the Mk-Taurus is what’s needed.”

    The MKS, despite its merits, is not a proper flagship saloon for Lincoln.

  • avatar
    daviel

    How do Audi/VW, Infinity/Nissan, Lexus/Toyota, Acura/Honda get away with it? Aren’t they just tarting up a cheaper version, like Lincoln is doing with Fords?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      People complain about the ILX, JX, and ES all the time so I wouldn’t say they “get away with it”.

      There is just a bigger emotional investment for people in North America when it comes to Cadillac and Lincoln, so it hits harder when they don’t go all out for a car.

      There are a few things though:

      1. Dealership experince- too many Lincoln shops are intergrated with Fords. If you pony up for the brands you mentioned, you get the fancier dealer too. You also notice the platform sharing a lot more when a Taurus and MKS are parked next to each other in the showroom for easy comparison.

      2. At least some uniqueness- Audi doesn’t do Quattro or the 3.0T on VW, you can’t get a RWD sedan without going to Lexus, SH-AWD is onlt on Acuras. I don’t think the big sunroofs on the MKZs is going to cut it here. I’ve heard that some Lincolns have a unique, fancy suspension compared to the Fords. If that’s true, they need to give it a cool name and market that feature.

      3. Ford branded cars are pretty good. Jack pretty much jokes this point aside, but it is worth looking at.

      VW and Toyota especially have cheaped up their mainstream products, while Fords have pushed their stuff as premium offerings. It is a lot easier to justify the price premium going from a hollow-feeling Camry to the solid ES350 than to go from the attractive, upmarket Fusion, to the slightly more upmarket MKZ.

      The success of the higher-priced Ford branded stuff is why I don’t think there is any need for Lincoln to exist anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        All good points. There’s nothing wrong with reaching into the corporate parts bin as long you’re starting with class-leading parts and the final product is clearly differentiated. A premium dealership experience is just as essential as having a product that has some clearly desirable differentiation from the donor car.

        Ford could take the whole lineup right now and call it a Ford Titanium+ and it’s hard to see what would actually be lost other than some ugly grills.

        I came close to buying an LS years ago but I haven’t given them a thought since. I still have no idea what the MK-alphabet lineup is supposed to mean.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        ajla, are you talking about the air suspension? I believe some Lincolns have had the air suspension, but a few utility-oriented Fords have historically had it too. For example, it was an option with the 90s Ford Windstar and I believe the Expedition, and maybe the Crown Vic. Did the Eddie Bauer or Limited Explorer have it? What about the Excursion?

        Lincoln has historically made it available on pretty much all of their vehicles — Town Car, Navigator, Aviator, LS, Mark LT, Continental, and Mark VII/VIII. Does the MKT also have it? I believe Lincoln has largely phased this out in favor of the CCD active suspension these days, at least on the MKS.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I was thinking of CCD.

        I don’t have any personal experience with it, but if it is something special, I think it should be marketed or get a badge on the car like Acura does for SH-AWD or GM does with magneride.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    To those who say Lincoln is too far gone to revive, you must not be old enough to remember Chrysler in the 1980s and early 90s. Nothing but waterfall grilles on K cars. Even its top of the line Imperial was a pathetically narrow K-based car. Nobody under 70 wanted them. But look at them now. Only one thing changed: Product.

    I agree with JB completely. The car needs to be big, it needs to be fast, it needs to feel like a bank vault when you close the door, and the door pull needs to be a 5 pound chrome plated diecasting. The car needs to have a gas guzzler tax built into the price. Guys: NOBODY is building an American-style luxury car anywhere in the world. And when I say American-style, think pre-1965, when Cadillacs and Lincolns were as good as anything in the world. Classic American stuff is well thought-of in many places in the world. You won’t sell a lot. That’s not the idea. But you will sell a significant number.

    If the car is well designed and carefully built and mechanically muscular, if it has styling that will make every 10 year old and every 40 year old realize that it is special, Lincoln can be saved.

    What Ford is trying to do now is what Chrysler tried to do with Imperial for so many years. Same dealers that sold Valiants, and in most cases, the cars are virtually identical under the skin with lesser models. It never worked for Chrysler then, and it is not working for Lincoln now.

    And if management is unwilling to base the divisional re-boot on product, then just pull the damned plug and re-name every top-trim Ford model as a “Lincoln Edition”. This will work for 5 years before everyone starts laughing at them.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The difference between early 90s Chrysler and 2012 Lincoln is that early 90s Chrysler was building unbelievably cynical crap, then they started building better stuff (although they still managed to build the Sebring and go bankrupt along the way).

      By Jack’s own admission, the current Lincoln crop of vehicles is perfectly decent, but it is still finding itself in a sales race with Volvo.

      I see a lot more early 2000s Oldsmobile in Lincoln than early 90s Chrysler. The time to spend money on Lincoln was in 2006, when the LS was killed and Ford decided to put the brand in near-permanent sleep mode.

      I also don’t recall Dodge doing great while the Chrysler brand fell into oblivion. The Ford brand killed Lincoln as much as anything else. Lincoln makes up 3.6% of FoMoCo sales so far this year. I really question how much of that 3.6% would be lost if Ford shuttered the brand.

      Beyond, “I personally don’t want to see it go away”, why bother keeping it around? It sucks to see something with so much history go away, but I really think Ford would be better off if it was Ford only.

      I think for a single car to have any chance at saving Lincoln, it would need to be a 1964 Mustang-style segment creator. I just don’t think a $100K throwback super-chrome luxury car with cigar holders that gives 55 year olds in Indiana/Ohio the vapors is going to save anything. At best it’ll be a great goodbye letter.

  • avatar
    justagirl

    I read this as: “Don’t run ads, don’t Tweet about it, [AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, PLEASE] don’t involve Jimmy Fallon.” This car would be fabulous. Yes, please, Lincoln. Listen to Jack. More people should.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I will probably never own a Lincoln. I will certainly never own a Cadillac. Today it’s due to my means; tomorrow it will be by choice.

    But… I WANT to know that these brands are LEADERS. In the same way that many countries look to the US for leadership, it is comforting to know that the premium brands are producing premium cars to be proud of.

    Jack’s excellent letter could have been written to Acura, for they’ve also become a ruined premium brand.

  • avatar
    TW4

    “Don’t make a “brand”. Don’t make a “plan”. Make a car……. They don’t have to buy it. It doesn’t have to be a success. It just needs to change your image.”

    Forgive me if I am incorrect, but this exercise is generally referred to as branding.

    The reason Toyota built a loss-leading clone of a German car is b/c the company was run by an engineer, Eiji Toyoda. Engineers generally use loss-leaders as branding exercises b/c they put an emphasis on engineering. This is a common practice in the sportbike industry, which is dominated by Japanese manufacturers.

    Fields and Farley are never going to get it. This should be an open letter to Mulally, an engineer, that he should intervene and break the tyranny of MBA’s who manage (poorly) America’s automobile companies.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Brilliant post.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    300C John Varvatos Limited Edition is the real American luxury car. Sort of a cross between a Rolls Royce and a Harley.

  • avatar
    CorLex300

    Brilliant. Finally someone said what needed to be said.
    Although, small error, the GS350 Lexus is RWD/AWD and the ES350 is the FWD model. Trust me I have 2 ES300s and they are without a doubt FWD.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    A few thoughts of mine about Lincoln…

    In 1996 I spent the summer working for Sesi Lincoln-Mercury in Ypsilanti, MI. That dealership sold Lincolns (and Mercurys) like there was no tomorrow. That was when the Panthers were in the midst of their “fat” years. I noticed back then that even though the Town Car and the Grand Marquis were similar under the skin, it was obvious that the Town Car was the better car. Everything you touched inside felt premium compared to the Grand Marquis, which in and of itself was not a bad car in it’s day. The Town Car was stately and elegant, and a great car for taking friends out for a special evening. In many ways it struck me as the one Ford product that was worth every cent of it’s sticker price. The parents of my best friend had a 1997 TC Signature Edition, and he and I put most of the miles on that car doing just that. We loved that car.

    I think of the Mark VIII, with that striking wrap-around dash and wonderful handling. I loved it when I had to deliver them to a radio specialty shop up in Royal Oak to have cell phones and CD changers tinkered on. Doing close to ninety on I-696 in heavy traffic was FUN!

    The LS. All I can say is wow, what a car! Near 50/50 weight distribution. Muscular good looks that aged well. To this day I admire them. In fact, back in September I came thisclose to bringing home a 2000 LS V8. I had the deal struck and on paper, but I somehow managed to talk myself out of it.

    These were the kind of Lincolns that caught my attention. Yes, they were Fords underneath, but they felt special to me, and I personally miss them.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I worked at a L/M dealer in the 90’s as well and made similar observations. Unfortunately I could never wrap my head around the Taurus based Continental of the mid 90’s. I remember thinking they were based on the MN-12 Cougar/Tbird/Mark VIII chassis until I saw the hood up one day and noticed the transverse mounted 3.8. “Ahhh….That’s why I never do a pre delivery clean up on these things” I thought.

    • 0 avatar

      The LS was more of a Jaguar underneath. It shared a platform with the Jaguar S type. Though I’m a Jaguar enthusiast, I personally prefer the LS. The LS ‘could have been a contender’ but I don’t think that FoMoCo and Lincoln dealers were quite comfortable with the car.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        Think it stuck out like a sore thumb, without anything to associate too, the decision to make a retro-thunderbird instead of Mark IX and possibly the continental moniker instead of LS (but like trying to run from the ovaloid taurus disaster, think lincoln was doing the same from the taurus-continental. So lincoln had a Truck with a bunch of crap slapped all over the interior, but it was no doubt a truck (my dad had several), the towncar (my dad had several)……LS (its a jag for less but were not going to say that because we made a hidious retro jag and are already paying the price)

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Lincoln
    The Irish man says I have a plan you dig
    Here’s a few bucks put some lipstick on that MKpig
    Give away some trinkets, beads and sweets
    And get that what’s his name on TV to give it a tweet
    Hold up there says big bad Jack man
    Build a damn car – cross the 61 Continental with the Green Hornet and RAM
    What will happen? Will they make it?
    Time will tell, personally I think they will just keep faking it

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    169 comments regarding Lincoln. Who would have thought? Sorry enough, not the shlubs running the current Lincoln marketing campaign.

    I agree with Jack. Bring a new car. A real Lincoln. Make it obscenely Lincoln. Have a plan and execute it violently. Have a passion or get out.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Jack is just saying something I think we all know. It needs to not be shared with a non-premium brand.

    To build a luxury vehicle, you need anal attention to detail and very very high quality materials.

    You need decent styling, it doesn’t have to be the best looking it just needs to be pleasant to look at.

    Quality, quality, quality, and attention to detail.

    If you do that, you will have a vehicle you can sell. Pretty simple and something I think all of us would be interested in.

    You need lexus build quality with an American flair.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    As usual, Jack hit it exactly right. They need to make products that make people take notice.

    And they need to drop those stupid MK-whatever designations, and return to using real car names.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      “And they need to drop those stupid MK-whatever designations, and return to using real car names”

      Truer words were never spoken! How about something original like…I don’t know, how about Continental?

  • avatar

    Anyone willing to bet that JB’s post isn’t going to be a topic of discussion in Dearborn tomorrow?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Mulally already read this & ordered many copies of it be printed & delivered to the Thunderbird Room by 7 a.m.

      Not.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      It was the topic in Cuautitlan. Does that count?

      I hear CR get name dropped by angry VP’s… sadly, no TTAC references yet.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Speaking of Consumers Reports, did you see this month’s (or was it last month’s?) edition?

        Maybe Alan has bigger fish to fry than delving into the grueling work of reviving Lincoln given that Ford’s reliability ranking literally nearly fell off the chart.

        Good thing Jaguar was there to prevent them from actually falling off the chart.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        DeadWeight:
        Not only did I see it, read it and digest it, we had our VP of Quality (Bennie Fowler) use it as an extra rock during the public stoning.

        Not that he needed it. The data was already there. Just something else to drive the point home.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It’s good to see a proactive approach by Ford, then.

        In the “good old days,” any one of the Big 3 would have accused Consumer Reports of “bias” and put their head back in the sand.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Ever since they split off a big portion of ‘Vehicle Operations’ (manufacturing, manufacturing development) into the Quality umbrella, there has been a much more hands on approach to quality, especially new model quality.

        Has it helped? I would say visibility is better and design changes (related to issues identified in pre-production test fleets) come down the pipe faster for new model launches. But I will be the first to publically admit that these executives hands are the ones that are dirty. Some of these issues you see in new product are communicated (not all issues, mind you), but the revenue stream trumps the risk. Then when the SHTF, the worker bees are the ones that get stoned in meetings. This will change when the old school mentality completely leaves the building.

        Had we had this system set up when we had mostly domestic or internal suppliers, Ford’s quality in the 90’s and early 2000’s would have been phenomenal. We identify and fix a lot of customer related issues prior to launch, but there is still room for improvement.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    I think that Ford will build a REAL Lincoln!
    They have money in the bank now.
    Now they can really show what`s possible….

  • avatar
    rpol35

    They could also drop the Lincoln moniker entirely and rename it the “Fillmore Motor Company” in honor of Prez #13 instead of #16. It may not sell many cars in the long-run but it would probably get some initial interest up front.

  • avatar

    Don’t bet against Farley, guys. He knows a little bit about this selling-gussied-up-Camrys thing. I think this could work… it might even work in China, and I keep thinking that’s really what this whole thing is about.

  • avatar

    That there are ~200 comments on this post shows a couple of things.

    One is that there’s genuine interest, dare I say passion, about the Lincoln brand. There is indeed brand equity in the Lincoln name. Well, at least with car enthusiasts and those interested in the auto industry.

    The other is that JB is the best damn automotive writer since Leonard Setright left this mortal coil.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      As the 201st poster I have realized that the passion is split about 40/40/20. Forty percent her wants to see Lincoln survive. Forty percent want them to shut down (they don’t like Ford either). While the other 20 percent just doesn’t care one way or the other.
      I am going by unique posting not folks that are making more than 1.
      As for myself I have written before what “I” feel Lincoln should do to right the ship.
      U know the whole suicide door on all sedans, 4/6/8 cylinder diesel/hybrids in all as standard in all models. If they do this I will bet my ridiculous government salary that they will work it out.

    • 0 avatar
      milkplus

      There is definitely passion for the brand. I grew up in Lincoln Towncars and remember my mother upgrading from a Grand Marquis to a Towncar and the feeling of being seen in the car. “Oh, the Towncar is yours? Are you guys rich?”

      There’s so much equity in the brand and watching Ford “George Lucas” the Lincoln legacy off a cliff is truly heartbreaking.

      Put me in the Kervorkian camp. Kill the brand and let it die with some dignity the way GM put Pontiac to rest.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “No one in the Big 3, let alone Lincoln, has the kind of razor focus that building the LS400 required. And I don’t think they could muster it if they tried.”

    This. Nobody in Detroit can do this with the long-term vision needed. Toyota starts 10 years in advance or more with their big new ideas. I don’t think Detroit thinks more than 2-3 years out. They’re too busy worrying about things which are already on sale, and squeezing the last little 10-cent 8-Mile Edition and PT Cruiser Limited Edition and Aspen Hybrid-Durango Edition.

    If they COULD think big, and ahead, and game-changing, Lincoln should do what Jack/commenters have suggested. Big, elegant, comfortable, simple. Aim for the Rolls Phantom – and miss – to end up with something acceptable. If you aim for a 300C you’ll miss and end up with something worse than a 2012 Civic.

    You need 3 or 4 models total for the high-line, and 1 or 2 for the average buyer.

    Continental. Mark/Mark convertible. Range Rover competition SUV.

    And then,

    3 other things based on a Taurus/Escape.

  • avatar
    wsimon

    The problem with Lincoln is irrelevancy, and their emphasis on marketing only further demonstrates this. I’m a car guy, admittedly in the “yuppie” demographic, and am currently assisting a relative in buying a new luxury sedan. I never think of Lincoln, the name does not even spring to mind. Their lousy marketing is pretty much the only reason I think of them, for one simple reason: they pay for that looped advertisement on Frontier Airlines flights where they compare the MK(S?) to the Audi A6 and I believe the Lexus GS and have three families praise the Lincoln. The huge flaw in this, and something I imagine Lincoln will only have realized if they read this post, is that no one actually listens to that advertisement, as it would require actually making the effort to procure and plug-in headphones just to do so. Notwithstanding the point that comparos like that are incredibly passé and actually serve to make the buyer think he is being talked down to, if you don’t listen to the stupid dialogue, instead you occasionally look up and notice the steering wheel from a Ford Explorer in a car that is the price of an Audi A6. I wonder how many people have seen that advertisement, such as myself, noticed so many Ford pieces in the Lincoln, and completely write the company off of their car-buying list. By not selling particularly interesting or comparable products, they have in essence turned themselves into the Mitsubishi of the luxury car world, a marque that exists but no one really cares about.

    Another good comparison to the current Lincoln would be Cadillac in the nineties. I live in the Midwest, a place in which you can actually find MKx vehicles (try that on the West Coast or in the Rocky Mountains), and have noticed that not one of them is driven by someone below the age of 60. Granted, there are younger people who drive Lincolns; probably to the shock of Lincoln, they drive Town Cars and occasionally Navigators (although that has become less and less true in the last decade). This proves that, like Cadillac realized in the mid-2000s, Lincolns need to be bold, and at the least, different than the other cars out on the road. Lexus and Infiniti pretty much have the comfortable, reliable yet somewhat bland luxury car market mostly saturated; just ask Acura how many people bought the TL last year. Like Cadillac in the nineties, the lineup consisting mostly of [p]leather-dashboard versions of other, much cheaper cars mostly appealed to those who were old enough to have bought one of the glory-day vehicles new, thinks Germany is still ran by Nazis and Playstations are merely an attempt by the Japanese to wage another kamikaze attack on Pearl Harbor, or both.

    My advice: build the damn Lincoln Continental concept everyone clearly wants. Do that, buy some time to create a volume seller that doesn’t have the rear taillights from the Daewoo Lacetti (I wonder if anyone other than myself saw that in the old MKS), build an even more-ballsy version of the Lincoln Navigator, stay the hell out of the Ford parts bin, and then we will come to your brand. Or, keep on the current path, ensuring that the ensuing brand will have a cheap dealer wind-down when the average consumer age finally hits three-digits. Unfortunately, I bet this decision has already been made, and it is not a deviation from the status-quo.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I hate those types of ads too, and they are big with other Ford products as well. People who obviously know nothing about cars talking about how nice whatever new car is. Who cares what they think???

      I really hate the Toyota ad for the Camry with that idiotic couple talking about how the car has sleekness to the body and how its grounded to the ground. Even if the Camry was the greatest car in existence, I wouldn’t buy just for that commercial, I do not want to associated with anyone who uses those terms to describe a car.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ads don’t sell cars, let alone toasters, today.

        Marketing has jumped the shark.

        We live in a world where advertisement has saturated every fiber of society to such an extent that most adults have developed coping mechanisms designed to subconsciously shut it out.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Obviously all Lincoln really needs to do is step up their Facebook presence… :)

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Let me tell you what it is. Or rather, what it was. ”

    You left out the most important answer:

    It was the best W126 Mercedes that Japan ever built.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Here’s how I would fix Ford’s luxury car dilemma. I would make a premium cutting edge luxury hybrid lineup of 4 cars built on one unique platform. These cars would be called Continentals and would include a sporty 4 door coupe deal with rear suicide doors, a regular sedan, a longer wheelbase sedan called “Town Car” and a convertible roadster. By going hybrid only , it would make the rear drive vs front drive question moot as well adding real luxury benefits from being hybrid such as quietness, low center of gravity for handling, wonderful performance and unique packaging possibilities. Only the best Lincoln only dealers would get these cars and they can never be on the same showroom as Fords.

    I’d take the present Lincoln lineup, still call them Lincolns but aggressively market them more toward the upper middle to compete with Buick, Acura, FWD Lexus and other cars that are badge engineered near luxury cars. This Lincoln lineup could be sold at Ford dealers in small markets and could be put into rental fleets.

  • avatar
    r0ckf0rd

    http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090908145333/simpsons/images/0/05/TheHomer.png

    ^^ Thats a lincoln!!

    Seriously, I gave up on lincoln when the towncar died. It was big, bold, luxurious, reliable and dirt cheap used! I will be adding one to my collection one day.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Somebody please email this thread to someone at Ford with some clout.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I already did. I got the same response that I got about 7 years ago when I made suggestions. Pretty much stated that we dont owe you anything and dont write us again. Last time I wrote them about some ideas that I had concerning drive trains and stuff like that and I guess they were busy working on ECO boost.
      I added that they should try turbos, DI, 5v per cylinder, Cylinder deactivation, start stop,and extrude hone processing in one 3.0 V6 and a 2.0 4.
      Got a response that stated that they are not obligated to pay me anything, (wasn’t looking to get paid, I am a fan) and that they would not consider using any of my ideas. Still love them but not very nice folks. Sometimes I think that the got over confident way to fast.
      One of my latest was to have Lincoln with all diesels and diesel hybrids. They shot me down faster than Kate Upston did. I want them to survive. However I dont think Ford does.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Yah my answers to the BMW 7 series would be a a Lexus 400 or a Town Car. Especially the Lexus. I think a lot of PU and SUV drivers just miss the old RWD/ V8 / auto Detroit monsters.

  • avatar
    jimtubbs

    The drawing for a new roof line on the Lincoln with a rear end like the Town Car would help in the Livery business because it would add a distinctive look.

  • avatar
    jimboy

    Great post, Jack. I’ve been saying the same thing about Lincoln as long as I can remember, they just ain’t listening, yet. I wonder if this blog, and the comments could be forwarded to the Glass House, where someone might actually read it?

  • avatar
    the guy

    Speaking of LMoCo and Twitter, did anyone pick up on the image resembling the mythical RWD Mustang platform concept they posted?

    https://twitter.com/i/#!/LincolnMotorCo/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2F0i8Lpiif

  • avatar

    So awesome. So vry awesome.

    ….not Lincoln. The post. ….awesome…..

  • avatar
    Madlock

    Wah, wah, wahhhh. Apparently SOMEBODY is miffed Ford has decided to re-work Lincoln without him.

  • avatar
    back2steam

    I just want to avert my gaze until it is over.

  • avatar
    bonzirunner

    I thought for a second they knew what they were doing when they came out with the Lincoln LS. Then they cancelled it.

  • avatar
    BourbonBob

    When I saw the MKS for the first time, it raised my eyebrows! I took one look at the grill and thought, ” why would they put wheels on a kittycat?”

  • avatar
    willg

    Volkswagen tried this in 2004, with the Phaeton. It was a total flop and they dropped it after 2 years.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Phaeton

  • avatar
    elusivegene

    Yes, we are rebadging next MKS as new Continental

  • avatar
    jcp12385

    Love it…and couldn’t agree more. The Continental we know from the 60s as well as the less-well-known Continental Mk.II of the 50s were some of the most handsome, fulsome, well-proportioned cars ever to have graced a road anywhere. A halo Continental would be a big boost to sales. ‘Cause having driven a couple of them, lord knows your current lineup and marketing hoo-haa won’t cut it on its own.

  • avatar
    ta777

    Fantastic letter to Lincoln motor company. I two would like to see Lincoln survive Still remember granddads new 1972 Lincoln MK4 Continental That silver leather interior and that opera window in the back were I was riding made me fell like I was riding in the best car in the world when I was 13 years old. YES Lincoln NEEDS ITS OWN CAR BUT FORD HAS ALREADY DECIDED TO END THE LMC BRAND.

  • avatar
    Beechkid

    This is all sooo true……
    Look at the new concept for production Ford Atlas/F150 truck……it looks like something the “Sticker-Kids” would love…gimmicks galore, design proportioning completely lost- whether you are looking at this from a strickly driver aspect or a construction user aspect-
    try loading soothing other than plywood in the bed…..buy a set of ramps to get it in or out is a definite accessory!

  • avatar
    Hillclimber

    Seems to me that the guy at the top says “One Ford”, ‘cos the design and investment costs of a new model gets paid back quick thru world sales volumes i.e. short termism. So there’s now a big problem in Ford Motor to invest real money in a local, unique car with a long term payback. The suggestion to actually build a brand with a CAR (shock, horror) is now a radical concept in Ford Motor – and if anyone senior actually had the guts to propose it he or she’d get short shrift.

  • avatar
    @markthebike

    Though some of the points were valid, after a paragraph or two I started reading it with a lisp..forgive me. It’s nearly impossible to build a better (insert a brand) than the guys doing it already they have way more experience at it and a customer base. Retro can be cool but retro usually means the present sucks and we can’t find a future so let’s go with the past.
    Time now to build something completely different….


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