By on December 4, 2012

Nearly everyone was unanimous in their assessment that Lincoln’s re-branding campaign is an unmitigated disaster unfolding in slow motion; from the name change to Lincoln Motor Company to the bizarre tie-up with Jimmy Fallon and the marketing-buzzword laden BS the whole thing reeks of inaction disguised in the form of sophisticated marketing efforts.

The most interesting angle in this mess is the fact that American luxury cars are in such a shambles that Lincoln’s biggest threat doesn’t really come from Cadillac, but from Ford itself.

Cadillac and Lincoln are on two entirely different planets. Lincoln is stuck under the shadow of its sibling, the Blue Oval. Ford’s offering are mechanically identical, packed with nearly all of the same content and retail for thousands less – with the possibility of carrying a more attractive emblem on the hood. None of Lincoln’s product offer any kind of unique proposition. The best Lincoln on sale today is actually Korean, as the Hyundai Equus does a damn good job of approximating the driver and passenger experience of a Town Car. Make of that what you will.

At least Cadillac has some kind of vision. The Standard of the World really wants to be better than Europe’s finest, and the ATS is a fine effort, except for one small detail; the only reason it’s been able to grab the brass ring from the BMW 3-Series is because the current car is one of the weaker efforts put forth by the Roundel. Put an E90 328i next to any ATS and you understand that the ATS comes pretty close to being a great car, but misses the mark.

The rest of Cadillac’s lineup is doesn’t exactly hold to it though. The CTS is long in the tooth, the V Series are irrelevant to all but the most diehard car geeks and the XTS is still languishing in premium sedan obscurity. About the only car in the lineup with any kind of social capital is the Escalade, which endures as the vulgarian chariot of choice for those with more money than discretion.

The only real concrete vision of what an American luxury car should be comes from Chrysler, of all places. The 300 makes a bold visual statement, comes with a range of sophisticated powertrain options and finally has an interior that is worthy of being praised. And what value, too. A base 300, with the 292 horsepower V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission, starts at a hair under $30,000. I don’t even think I’d get the V8, heretical as it may be. It won’t have the driving dynamics of an import car, but when was an American car ever supposed to be able to clock off a sub 8-minute ‘Ring time? Best of all, it occupies that long-dormant niche that used to be the domain of Oldsmobile and even Pontiac. It was a luxury car that told everyone you’d arrived, but wasn’t sufficiently extravagant that your clients felt that they were being fleeced. No wonder both my Grandfathers were Mopar men.

But that’s just me. I’m not even American (though the 300 is built not too far from my home). Let’s consider this a thought exercise. Run wild with your ideas about American luxury, what it was, what it is and what it should be.

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94 Comments on “QOTD: What Does American Luxury Even Mean?...”

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    This is a toughie. In my mind, UK Luxury was always about refinement and elegance. German luxury was always about a feeling of solidity with a strong sporty bent to it. Japanese luxury was always about reliability with technological showcases. I’m not saying these are bad attributes to have, but that this was always my perception.

    So to ask what American Luxury is about is tough because I’m not sure what they ever stood for. The one thing American luxury cars were famous for were their size. American luxury, I suppose, is all about massive cars with big soft wallowy rides. I suppose it calls out to the “bigger is better” mentality. Again, this is just my perception, nothing more. If my perception is correct, then, this might go some way to explaining why American luxury is struggling right now. “Bigger is better” is dying out and the American luxury brands are struggling to redefine themselves. I’m not sure what other quality they could define themselves with, so maybe their best chance is to beat someone else at their own game. GM is the one following this tack. Buick is supposedly aping Japanese luxury (i.e soft ride and handling) and Cadillac is aping German luxury (i.e a sport edge to them). Are they executing this well? That’s a question for another day. But I think this will help the American luxury brand survive short to medium term whilst they figure out what they want to be long term.

    This is why Lincoln is struggling. It hasn’t defined itself. And the longer it dithers, the slimmer its chances of survival become. I don’t think Ford can be a complete car maker without a credible luxury brand. After all, once people want to escalate from Ford, where do they go within FoCoMo? Answer? They have to go outside of the company. Not good.

    Overall, I’m not sure I do know what American Luxury is. But I can tell you what it isn’t. And it’s certainly NOT Lincoln…

    • 0 avatar

      I think you missed the mark a bit. Traditional American luxury was complete isolation from the roadway environment. Bigger, yes. But that was in pursuit of comfort. That’s why the Town Car has such a following (albeit a shrinking one): it is the last real American luxury car.

    • 0 avatar

      “once people want to escalate from Ford, where do they go within FoCoMo? Answer? They have to go outside of the company. Not good.”

      This is an excellent point.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        It is, but I think it could be better solved by building a couple of Fords that go higher up the chain. I just don’t see the brand as being worth tossing a couple billion at.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Once you want something better than a regular Ford, you buy a Titanium whatever. Beyond that? Once they get around to putting a bullet in Lincoln’s corpse, they’ll roll out another Ford high-trim label to take its place- Dolomite or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Amendment X

      @ Cammy:

      Upward mobility in the US is no longer the right of passage that it once was. Although we pride ourself on being a “classless” society, there most definitely are classes, and they are starting to solidify. FoMoCo abandoning Lincoln wouldn’t be that bad because there is no guarantee that many Americans will be able to “move up” into a Lincoln anyway. The reason carmakers are moving downmarket is a combination of chasing volume and also chasing a less wealthy US population.

  • avatar

    What does American Luxury even mean? Sadly, it now means just having a job.

  • avatar

    I drove an ATS recently and am hopeful this is the direction of (smaller) American luxury. And the CTS remains a solid effort if still difficult to look at. As for Lincoln, given the head start that Ford had with the LS which its dealers had no clue how to sell, they’ve simply pointed the nose down and poured on the throttle once they decided they could not replace the Panther. Every other model in their inventory could be synonymous for “superfluous”.

    What they need is a NEW LS, and a great RWD full-sized sedan which has the character of the 1960’s Continental, a vehicle with true gravitas. Then they need their own 3’er competitor along with the normal assortment of CUV/SUV’s.

  • avatar

    American luxury means the accoutrements of earned affluence. It was unique in an otherwise class-ridden and impoverished world. That world has grown and is engulfing America.
    It’s difficult to buy aspirational vehicles when your job has been offshored and your kids move back in with you.

  • avatar

    “Luxury” in itself is more brand name than anything.

    Do the real luxury players out there (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc) really offer complete vehicles that are that much better than some of the more mainstream brands? I don’t think so. But Lincoln does. Their idea of luxury is electronic gimmicks. But the market has moved on. And the electronic gimmicks have moved down the ladder into fairly blue collar, mainstream cars.

    Now the focus for luxury manufactures appears to be speed and agility. And with warmed over, mediocre Ford bones, Lincoln will not have either.

    That being said, true, American luxury always has been and always will be big cars with a proper V8 and proper RWD. Chrysler and even Hyundai know how to do “American Luxury” better than Lincoln does. The 300C and Genesis are fantastic cars, with the 300 being one of the best on the market. The 300C really does have that “American Luxury” look/style/swagger to it. The Genesis does not in terms of styling , but the foundation is better than anything Lincoln can offer.

    And it’s safe to assume that an American luxury car will have to be priced below the competition from Japan and Germany. They can charge the prices they do for a reason. We do not have that ability. And sadly, that’s another thing Lincoln got wrong with the so-called “new” MKZ.

    Sadly, true American Luxury dies at Lincoln the day the Town Car did.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny…If Ford bones are so mediocre, can you with in reason name two other main stream (ie not BMW) manufactures that have better agility than Fords. I realize that you are biased, but just think about it.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s impossible to answer.

        You can have a great chassis that is not agile due to tires.

        Ford is no better than ANY of the mainstream brands like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Chevrolet, etc in terms of chassis refinement/agility/etc.

    • 0 avatar

      to 86SN2001:……

      I agree with you 100% in your post. I was trying to make that point here a few weeks ago about Cadillac. Big Vfukn8 RWD makes an American Luxury vehicle.

  • avatar

    I personally feel there is enough room at the “American Luxury” table to allow for both sporting luxury and more traditional, comfort luxury. This is kind of why I like Cadillac’s lineup so much- at least on paper. You have the sporty import fighters like the ATS and the CTS-V, and then you have the cushy highway cruiser like the XTS and Escalade to a lesser extent.

  • avatar

    Simple…a “land barge” with a gas guzzling V8 and a suspension that makes you feel like your driving a sofa…ahhh that brings back memories of cruising around in a 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah the only “Traditional American Luxury” sold today is the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. Everything else is German/Japanese masquerading as American.

      • 0 avatar


        The ride of the late 1980s Caddy Fleetwood Brougham is what leaps into my mind when I think of “American Luxury,” yet I was all of 8 years old when I rode as a passenger in it.

        Cadillac no longer makes any truly “plush” rides. They decided to go mostly all in on the Nürburgring meme.

        Since the roads in Michigan aren’t in nearly as good condition as the Nürburgring, this is unfortunate for those who prioritize that plush ride.

        Re-badge the Citroën C6 and sell it as a Cadillac! Really!

      • 0 avatar
        Glenn Mercer

        I tend to agree. I think for better or worse “American luxury” now means “loaded, big SUV.” And that segment is under attack from gas prices, mpg rules, GHG rules, etc. So I have no bright idea where Cadillac and Lincoln go from here. Simply trying to out-German the Germans is really, really hard… arguably only Lexus ever got into that league (and only in the American market, not in Europe or most of Asia). I will say this: whatever Cadillac or Lincoln go with, they need to sum it up in one short sentence. BMW says “I drive faster than you do.” MB says “I have more money than you do.” Lexus says “I am smarter than you are.” Ferrari says “I have more sex than you do.” Lincoln, Cadillac, Jaguar for that matter, need a laser-like clear brand image… and they don’t have it. They all sort of muddle around in marketing-speak positioning like “Meant for the upscale sophisticate who lives in the city but still loves the country and runs wild and free but there’s a back seat for the kids and … and… and…” I don’t envy L and C as they try to figure it out. It was easier a little while back: Cadillac (in the form of Escalade) said: “I am the biggest badass on the road.” What do they say now? “I’m a BMW, but with sharper sheet metal creases?” A very hard row to hoe, and I certainly don’t know what they should do.

        (Okay, except for Hummer, but I never understood the appeal of a brand named after a sex act….)

      • 0 avatar

        The Escalade, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, Yukon XL, Denali, etc.. these are all the most traditional manifestations of american luxury. The XLS looks like it has it, from what I have seen. Also the big Buick SUV, perhaps. The 300 and the Charger, even. Actually I think that Chrysler has a hope of recovering the “american luxury” helm, it may not currently have the brand equity, but sales are going well and Sergio seems to be taking it upmarket so that it differentiates from Dodge… Actually one could argue that the Jeep Grand Cherokee has some luxury.

        American luxury still exists, you just have to look for it, and you have to look beyond the traditionally luxury american brands.

  • avatar

    Massive power and size.

  • avatar

    If I have said it once I will say it again. Lincoln should make all of their sedans and Crossovers with suicide doors. Start with Small, Med. XLARGE same sausage different length and get folks to look at you and go from there. The next thing would be have hybrid/diesels, yeah there very expensive but put them in everything as the only choice for engine and you have economies of scale(somewhat). Find a ride and handling somewhere between BMW and MB and there you are. New Traditional American Lux. You would have the look, and exclusive nature that folks desire.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    American luxury? This is probably going to fall on generational lines.

    I think of big, slow, thirsty cars… cheap, badly-applied fake wood trim… atrocious handling, suspensions that bottom out on a pebble,…nasty greasy fake leather seats… yesteryear designs and technology compromised by bargain-bin parts that fail often… sad, flabby cars living on pathetic memories of past glories that are long gone.

    Or, in one word: Crapillac.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I love the irony that Audi dives deep into the VW parts bins and Infinity stuffs Nissan parts into its corporate pockets; its considered brilliance and using the best bits available. Lincoln drives into the Ford parts bin and it’s considered blasphemy, sins against men and beasts, and reasons to be aghast against anything Lincoln. Oh wait, the car hasn’t even been reviewed yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Excellent point, el scotto.

    • 0 avatar

      el scotto, while Audi and Infiniti booth use a lot of parts from their mainstream brothers, they both offer products that aren’t available to those lower priced brands. Lincoln doesn’t offer any products that you can’t buy from a Ford dealer.

      Ford flushed away Mercury, but just lowered Lincoln into Mercury’s spot. If there wasn’t any reason for Mercury, what reason is there for Lincoln then? Until/unless Ford decides to sell “Lincoln-only” products, there is no reason for the Lincoln brand to exist.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ Moe I think they need to bring back 2 versions of the LS: one small and kinda sporty and one large to hold four men and their golf clubs; and for the sake of all that is holy update the Navigator to something that’s not embarrassing. The big question is; does Ford have enough money to make two distinct Lincolns and upgrade the Navigator? OTH, dad, grandpa, and I went to our F-L-M dealer to look at the Blackwood. Pretentious and stupid in one vehicle! All three of us laughed at it.

    • 0 avatar

      The trouble with Lincoln, as with the MKS, is that it’s the same car as the Ford, but much more expensive.

      Most Infinitis and Audis are not rebadged Nissans and VW’s, except for some of the Infiniti SUV’s.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t find it ironic. The situation reveals that originality is one of the indelible characteristics that journalists and consumers demand from American luxury.

      If the car is not uniquely American in style and substantially differentiated from other vehicles in the same brand, consumers associated the car with the ineptitude of American car manufacturing. Americans have watched their car industry fall from grace as Detroit has blundered its way into the 21st century. American manufacturers have only survived the incompetence of labor organizations and management thanks to federal bailouts via TARP and stealth bailouts via DOE. Besides the foul stench of their failure, they now reek of politics. No telling how long it will take for that odor to subside. The slightest suggestion of mass-produced gimmickery and brand dilution is enough to throw any American car enthusiast into a spiteful rage.

      The German and Japanese manufacturers have not suffered the same fate so consumers as less inclined to believe that parts-sharing is way for lazy engineers and lazy product developers to cut corners.

  • avatar

    Ford should just put Lincoln out of its misery, the brand is the sheet metal equivalent of Terrri Schiavo. I can’t think of a single good reason for Lincoln to be around.

  • avatar

    “The Standard of the World really wants to be better than Europe’s finest, and the ATS is a fine effort, except for one small detail; the only reason it’s been able to grab the brass ring from the BMW 3-Series is because the current car is one of the weaker efforts put forth by the Roundel. Put an E90 328i next to any ATS and you understand that the ATS comes pretty close to being a great car, but misses the mark.”

    So essentially you argue BMW has phoned it in so badly that GM has caught up to and/or beaten them in the 3 series game? So RenCen out Germaned the Germans, am I interpreting this correctly?

    I think is far more sad BMW gives their traditional customers the finger (as Cadillac did to its traditional customers) than to essentially point out ‘ATS misses the mark compared to an E90’ because so does the current 3 series as evidenced in your comments.

    Its a race to the bottom gentlemen, he who can hollow out his brand better while alienating his repeat customer base faster, wins!

  • avatar

    From my outside view of European who loves US luxury cars and spent lot of time driving them, I think American luxury is about sheer comfort and flash, not about fancy mechanics and speed.

    Look at most classic American luxury cars – most of them differed only a little from their lesser cousins on the mechanical side. There wasn’t much difference between a Galaxie and a Continental, not to mention stuff like Plymouth Fury and Imperial (they even looked the same).

    1. American car should, first and foremost, LOOK expensive – especially on the outside.

    2. Then, a lot of features should be added, most of them as standard – not like on German cars, where you pay $50k for a car and then have to pay extra for electric seats.

    3. After this is done, a ride comfort should be taken care of, regardless of costs on other fronts. Words like “sport” or “handling” should never be used anywhere in the car, nor in the sales literature. Any member of development team who utters these words, should be fired on the spot.

    4. No American luxury car is allowed on Nürburgring. Ever.

    5. During development, the rule number 4 applies twice as much.

    I think that Lincoln is on to something here. The MKZ may be a Mondeo, but it’s a really pretty and flashy Mondeo. If it’s very comfortable as well, it may be true American luxury car, even if it’s so small.

    If they use the same recipe on Taurus, they’ll have nice next-generation Continental.

    Only thing they need to do, and not for real sales, but for image, is to finally make that retro Mark IX or Mark X concept they’ve been showing for 10 years.

    And stop calling cars alphabet soup. They should have Continental, Town Car, Mark something and maybe Zephyr. Cosmopolitan and Premiere also sound nice.

    No one will care that they’re Fords. Only true American luxury car at the moment is rebadged Chevy truck and no one cares, either.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t disagree with any of this, but one big problem is: How do you make a car “look” expensive these days? In the context of Lincoln this has traditionally meant visual cues, such as the Mark-style grille (which was eventually shared across the entire line, both Marks and Continentals, starting around 1977). Silly to think in those terms today, for the same reason that the last Mark cars eventually lost about 95% of the “spare tire bulge” in the trunk lid. And the modern equivalent, the lately abandoned baleen grille, was bad on some cars and worse on others.

      One might assume, then, that the LMC-ness of each LMC car will be denoted by a large logo of some sort, equivalent to Audi’s five rings or Mercedes’ star, that can be slapped on each new MKZ as it leaves the factory, right on top of the new grille we’ve already seen. It will seem like a joke, but would fit right in with the adoption of “LMC” as a way to make the brand distinctive.

      As for ride comfort: There is very little demand for floaty-ride cars these days; nearly everyone who ever wanted this type of ride has already bought his or her last one. I say that literally and with respect – one such elderly couple’s 2005 LeSabre is the car I’ve driven 5 times to or from Florida, while they flew; previously they’d driven themselves, 1000 miles down in November and back north in April or May. They’re not returning this time; they’re in a South Florida gated community with medical staff. The LeSabre is parked right outside their “villa” door, and has more than enough life left in it. A second floaty-ride Buick, a Park Avenue, sits outside their former home, waiting (in vain?) for a new owner.

      In my opinion Lincoln’s greatest year was 1972, just before the bumper laws started taking effect, and a few years before the return of needless filigree. What was special about the Lincoln Continental and Continental Mark IV that year?
      -Huge 460-4V engine; great power [on regular (leaded) gas]
      -Special “cavalry twill” vinyl roof and extra-cost metallic paints such as Copper Moondust Metallic; new full-length bright moldings on the fender tops of regular Continentals
      -Availability of an early form of ABS brakes
      -Long-established familiarity with radial tires, at a time when few marques offered them as standard equipment
      -An unusual amount of soundproofing/isolation
      -On the Mark IV, cartoonish but elegant “retro” styling and gun-slit windows; you weren’t required to get the oval opera window in the C pillar
      -On the regular Continental, a dashboard with full gauges, more luxurious in every sense than those of the Cadillac and Imperial
      Most of these features are already widespread or universal. You gonna bring in the customers by offering full gauges? Don’t think so. Huge engines? Too many unknowns; gas prices aren’t done fluctuating. Styling and other utterly superficial changes? Looks like that’s the present course, unfortunately.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, Derek, I think you hit the nail on the head in identifying the Chrysler 300 as the only true American luxury car made today. Let’s roll back the clock to the 1950s and 1960s to see what luxury was about. On the east side of the Atlantic, the only real luxury car was the Rolls/Bentley. BMW? A spartan little 4 cylinder sedan. Mercedes? A brand that was trying to figure out what it should look like after World War II (there was a period when Benz copied the tail fins from an American Motors car). Air conditioning in European cars prior to the 1980s? Are you kidding? Automatic transmissions in European cars prior to the mid-1970s? Crude and rough.

    So, American luxury was about lots of room, effortless power, including smooth automatic transmissions, a soft, quiet ride, power everything, and air conditioning that worked. It was not about going around corners fast. Remember, the Interstate Highway System really got going in the 1960s and that was about straightening curves and flattening hills. Meanwhile, in Europe, there were Hitler’s famed autobahns in Germany and a smattering of imitations in the UK and maybe France. The great bulk of European motorists drove on two-lanes, with curves, steep hills and so on . . . of course their cars reflected that application.

    Today, in the US, hot-dog “sports sedans” are an affectation rarely used or appreciated, kind of like a Rolex “Submariner” watch worn by someone whose experience in the Silent Service may have consisted of touring a World War II vintage submarine in some city park.

    Detroit missed the “sport sedan” trend and it’s trying to play catch up. Whether that makes sense, I don’t know. But the wonderful thing about the Chrysler 300 is that it manages to capture the presence of the big American sedan without being a retro-mobile with a short shelf life. Now that Chrysler has upgraded the horrible interior of the first generation car and given it a decent choice of drivetrains (rather than just the gas sucking V-8 and a pair of poor-to-mediocre V-6s) this seems like a car worth having. I drove a first-gen rental 300 “limited” a couple of years ago; and the car’s good qualities shown through despite the plasticky interior (the leather seats were nice) and the mediocre 3.5 liter V-6 and 4-speed automatic. If I were buying a big sedan, like you, I’d take a hard look at the current car with the 3.7 liter and the 8-speed automatic.

    • 0 avatar

      “The only real concrete vision of what an American luxury car should be comes from Chrysler…”

      Problem is, a lot of people don’t want to drive something that screams pimp, or mafioso don.

  • avatar

    Chrysler 300 is a good example. Cadillac Sixteen and Ciel are excellent show cars that, if in production, would represent American luxury. The Escalade does fit the bill, and to my eyes, the XTS does look the part. I know people pan it for being a fancy Impala but it’s distinctively styled (personally I love the styling) and is large and comfortable with a trunk that can carry multiple dead bodies. Most XTS customers won’t know or won’t care that the platform is shared with an Impala.

    However, Tesla, with the model S, may be forging a new definition of American luxury, and one that doesn’t rely on old traditional senses. Instead, it’s a highly ambitious and technical future, pioneered by big thinking. What could be more American than that?

    • 0 avatar

      I did a tour of a Tesla S at the Bellevue (WA) Square shopping center two days ago. I was impressed. With my options it came in at $68k net. Unfortunately the current waiting list is about 9-months.

  • avatar

    The closest thing to traditional American luxury I could walk onto a car dealers lot and buy brand spanking new today would be the Chrysler 300. Although you’re talking to a guy who thinks the last true luxury car that Cadillac built was the 1996 Fleetwood and the last true luxury car that Lincoln Built had the words “Town Car” AND either “Cartier” or “Ultimate” somewhere on the body.

  • avatar

    If I was Big Al, I’d CRINGE being forced to stand in front of that heap and announce the day of the new Lincoln has arrived. He’s about 18 months early making that announcement. I believe we just witnessed his first big misstep.

    Yes, the Chrysler 300C has its toes in the luxury market. If Sergio created a team to propose a “300C Imperial”, free of the fake and faux this and that, it’d set off the jungle drums in high gear.

  • avatar

    American luxury isn’t in shambles. Detroit knows exactly what an American luxury car looks like and they all build one – a loaded four door truck with excessive chrome and excessive power. GM’s lineup is 7 years neglected and no longer competitive, but GM isn’t competitive either so what do you expect.

    Chrysler has a wagon version in the JGC and even a sedan version in the 300C!

    Luxury badges as distinct from luxury cars are the problem, Detroit lost that in the 1970s and outside of the Escalade which GM was (of course) too oblivious to recognize as a success and follow up on they’ve never come close to having it back.

    A King Ranch F-150 is as good an American luxury car as there’s ever been, and that’s just fine.

  • avatar

    I don’t think most Americans see bloated pickup trucks as luxury cars. My in-laws had a 1964 Lincoln Continental and a Mark III. My Boomer brain saw these as classic American Luxury Cars. If you could replicate these today with modern materials and fuel-efficient engines I’d bet they’d sell. And call them Continentals and Marks, not MKZ or MKY.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Boomers are rapidly reaching retirement age and will soon buy the last car they ever buy. In the short term, automakers need to cater to them, but 6+ years from now they and their preferences will be ignored.

  • avatar

    In the past, American luxury was typified by:

    -A large sedan
    -Laden with features
    -And designed for comfort (read: a floaty ride)

    These days, there is a preference for smaller passenger cars; those who want size are more likely to prefer trucks or SUVs.

    These days, even smaller, cheaper cars are packed with features and gizmos. It is much more difficult to compete on features today than it was in the past.

    The floaty ride is now out of favor, thanks to imports that changed our tastes. (You can thank the OPEC crisis for that.)

    These changes are problematic for the domestic brands. Combine that with their erosion of brand equity, and they have a hard time maintaining the price points for cars that are associated with luxury brands.

    On one hand, they can’t just copy the Germans, otherwise everyone will just stay with the Germans. (When presented a choice between a copy and the original, most people will choose the original, and those who take the copy will expect a discount.) But on the other hand, resurrecting the old school floaty barge isn’t going to work, either, since almost nobody wants them. A third path is going to be necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with your three factors, but there’s a forth: Style. This is the open flank for “american luxury” to define itself again. Infiniti and Cadillac have tried the hardest at this, but haven’t quite hit the mark. the 300 is a good effort at the low end of the scale, but nothing like the taste (for the time) that the good cadillac and continentals of the 1950s and 1960s had. The 300 won’t get the mantle because it’s tough to feel “special” in that car, even though it’s a good value and distinctive.

      There’s lots of talk of people not wanting flash and “special”ness flaunted, but then look at the luxury segment gains that have been happening. Even Audi, which used to be quite reserved in exterior design is going for more flare (like the arch in the A5 coupe, A5 sedan, A7 sedan and all those LED lights on everything). I think stylish, but tasteful (or taste-making) exterior style is the biggest opportunity. Unfortunately for Lincoln, it’s tough to get there with FWD platforms

      • 0 avatar

        “Style. This is the open flank for “american luxury” to define itself again.”

        I agree with you to a point. They should differentiate based upon style, if only because they have no choice. (Of course, Cadillac is already doing that, with only mixed results.)

        In today’s market, a luxury brand isn’t going to be able to go the distance unless it can go global. I don’t think that either Cadillac or Lincoln have that potential, especially the latter.

        Ford would have been better off if it had kept Land Rover and Jaguar, and reinvented the latter. Lincoln could have been scaled down to become largely a luxury truck brand with a US focus, while Jaguar was repositioned to become a viable competitor in the global luxury car market. Mulally has generally done an excellent job, but I suspect that the “One Ford” strategy is going to ultimately prove to be problematic, particularly for markets outside of North America.

  • avatar

    I believe that just as the world has gotten smaller via our various e-communication devices, the idea of luxury is becoming more universal, with geographic differences that are becoming more subtle (ex. Chinese have an obsession w/lux cars that you can be chaffeured in, but there’s still a ton of high end stuff that is sold there without that ‘cultural’ adjustment).
    If you take it outside of the world of cars, there are numerous international brands that mean lux to all, whether in fashion, tech, retail experience, etc.
    There’s no reason to think that Lincoln, given the product and marketing, would not be able to stage a ‘comeback’. If Hyundai or Kia on the low end or Caddy/Audi on the high end can become highly relevant, there’s nothing keeping Lincoln from the same track.
    It’s simply a matter of time, effort and money – we’ll see if a profitable Ford possesses those qualities for the decade it will take to get Lincoln back on the radar. For the time being, I don’t see the Lexus ES/RX approach (which is the lions share of Lexus’ sales) being a bad idea…perhaps not an enthusiasts dream, but one which lets a carguy recommend a Lincoln for mom/dad/grandpa/sis because it has the qualities that a large cross-section of the car buying public care about.

  • avatar

    your tone seems strangely negative on Cadillac. The CTS has been a great car. It’s a little old now since it was introduced in 2008, but for something at the end of it’s cycle, it’s much more competitive than the old A4 or c-class were at the end of their cycle. You also somehow miss 1/3 of Cadillac’s sales in the SRX, which is a well sorted CUV in the RX style. They’ve got a decent portfolio and have resisted the niche explosion of the Germans that threatens to make those brands seem like mass market brands. The plastics of the interiors is a bit cheap feeling, but the greyness and awkwardness of the MB and BMW instrument panels are just as off-putting if not more. The Audi has a slightly more sorted interior, but still is very black/grey toned. When looked at thoroughly, Cadillac seems to be doing a good product-led effort.

  • avatar

    Of today’s cars, American luxury is best defined by the Lexus LS. It is quiet, comfortable, “soft,” and fairly fast. That is what Cadillac and Lincoln were, “back in the day.”

  • avatar

    What is American luxury? This right here:

  • avatar

    I have no opinion of Lincoln because none of the cars are interesting. I think Buick needs to be included here as a near-luxury brand. They have done enough to distinguish them selves from Chevrolet and Cadilac. I suppose with the help of Opel.

  • avatar

    Standard and available features used to separate classes of American cars. That cant happen anymore. Entry buyers demand the latest technology, so even a Spark is loaded with gadgets. What was done best in the 1960s and still can be done today is provide the best interior materials available. Top quality leathers, fabrics, carpets and real wood trim justify a significantly higher price point. Exterior style must be distinctive as well, not just changing the front and rear of the same body shell. RWD, FWD or AWD is a waste of time to argue. American luxury is not about that. Anyway, Lexus offers all three. Silent and smooth midstream performance is required. High strung engines mated to harsh shifting transmissions may be efficient but are the antithesis of American luxury.

    • 0 avatar

      Some features, that were once only on “luxury” cars trickle down, in a good way. Examples are “smart key” and auto temp control, which were standard on my zero option Prius.

      Unfortunately, though, car companies seem compelled to make complex touch screen “infotainment” systems mandatory on expensive cars, and on higher trim levels of more basic cars. I, for one, don’t want MyFord Touch or CUE, period. I like my smart phone, but I want easy to use knobs and buttons to operate the radio and HVAC in my car. Cadillac really needs to re-think having CUE mandatory in the XTS. The 80 year old I know who bought an XTS loves the car, except he doesn’t know how to work the heater or radio.

  • avatar

    American luxury is NOT european luxury, yes. This has been said in like 90% of the comments.

    But the world has changed, and no brand can survive solely in the US market. There’s a reason why Cadillac was hardly even known outside the North America.They could be making a neo-Seville of some sort, or a 21st century Fleetwood. But I try to picture those on my mind and can’t help but think they’d be rides for the elderly.

    The Cien was a joke, as much as that laughable Le Mans effort of some years ago. The only thing Cadillac came up with that at least aspired to greatness was the Sixteen, and deep down we all know that there’s no way a V16 sedan could survive in the age of sustainability and eco-BS.

    Cadillac, let’s all take a moment here and face it, died victim of the decision to make a BMW contender out of the J-car. The damages of that dumb decision were so extensive that the Catera, a fine teutonic car if there ever was one, was deemed a joke before it hit the dealerships. And that was more than a decade after de Cimarron.

    The Catera was underpinned by such good innards, that these live on to this day in the Camaro.

    As for Lincoln, they should rename it Mercury Reloaded Motor Company and call it a day. Someone said in the comments that it is okay to dig Ford’s bin in order to get the better ones, Audi-style. And it is indeed okay, but only if you are Audi. There’s not a single trim piece or a body panel shared between Audi and VW cars. The single fact that the Phaeton is not a rebadged A8 tells everything one needs to know about why Lincoln fails at what Audi and Infinity, for that matter, have succeeded in.

    Make no mistake – if VW was Detroit-based, the Audi A7 would be a rebadgedd VW CC, probably with corinthian leather.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    To me the idea of “American Luxury” revolves around the ideas of space and comfort. The interior needs to provide a sense of open space. That doesn’t mean the car needs dimensions on par with the Titanic. Only that it needs to feel spacious. If you look at what Toyota did with the IQ then applied that thinking to a contemporary full-size car, I think the results could be quite interesting.

    The other aspect of comfort I take to mean an implied sense of effortlessness. The car should not require the driver or passengers to exert lots of energy merely to travel. They should not be fatigued by their journey. That means using technology to see their needs are cared for. Not gimmicks to get attention, but very focused ideas which show an understanding of what it means to go on a journey in a car in the modern world. That would mean technology focused on ride comfort, climate control, supporting the driver in reaching the destination (but never distracting/frustrating the driver) and providing passengers with an enjoyable journey.

    I don’t think it means RWD and a big V8, as those were merely the most effective tools available in a past age to convey the sense of effortlessness. The cars should be able to waft along, so low-end torque and a flexible powerband are a must.

    The styling is tricky. There is the old Chrysler/Lincoln understated style of simple, clean lines and an element of formality to imply power/prestige, and there is also the pink cadillac with fins and chrome and enough pomp to outdo Liberace. I like the former myself, but obviously many prefer the latter. You can’t do both, so you’d need to pick one and commit. The latter is probably more in touch with the “bling-bling” culture of the moment, but I think that will fade out of fashion soon, as all trends do. I’d really like to hear what everyone else thinks about that though.

  • avatar

    There are two primary reasons why American luxury car makers have fallen on hard times.

    The first reason pertains to all luxury cars, not just American ones, and it is that there’s no longer any great distinction between luxury and non-luxury cars. Luxury cars used to offer features that couldn’t be found in plebeian brands (e.g. power windows, power seats, leather, stereo sound), but that is no longer the case. Nearly any new standard car today offers many more luxury items than could be found in luxury cars sold only a decade ago, and the few luxury options that can’t be found in standard cars are usually not obvious to most drivers (e.g. GM’s magna ride). To most consumers, a $30k car contains much more luxury than they probably care about. I suspect that when sitting in a new car today most people think something similar to: “Hey, this is very nice; in fact, it’s nicer than my living room, so why should I spend tons more to buy a luxury car?”

    The second reason is that most people buy luxury cars for the brand emblem, and emblems of American luxury were cheapened through decades of mismanagement. Anyone now under the age of seventy thinks of only foreign brands as purveyors of fine luxury cars, and as Cadillac and especially Lincoln are finding out, it’s almost impossible to rehabilitate a tarnished luxury brand in the eyes of American consumers.

    • 0 avatar

      You nailed it exactly… luxury today isn’t what it was in the 60s/70s. These days almost every car is luxurious. Luxury today is now about status symbols. BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Land Rover, Infiniti, etc, is all about how much it impresses whoever the buyer is attempting to impress. Cadillac and Lincoln no longer impress anyone, generally what they say is that the owner was too cheap to buy a real luxury brand and went for the ones with massive discounts on the hood.

      The Escalade is an anomaly, the only reason I can imagine they sell is because they tend to be popular with sports stars and rap artists, who really only buy them because they tend to be big guys and want a BIG car. Large SUVs have the most room, and the Slade is the most blinged out version available.

      What Cadillac and Lincoln should do is quit this idiotic plan to be full-line manufacturers. Introduce models that they do not sell at the Chevy and Ford dealers, make them huge, garishly styled, RWD, and overly expensive… basically an Escalade on a car chassis. Only a big V8, nothing less, load it up with everything to the gills, and give them away to a bunch of sports/rap/movie stars. It will take a cpl years, but eventually the trophy wives and young VPs will want to drive one, and they will be back in business.

  • avatar

    “Cadillac and Lincoln are on two entirely different planets.”

    I think you mean Saturn and Mercury. :D

  • avatar

    Re-introduce the Town Car – best car Ford/Lincoln ever made. Why is that so hard?

    • 0 avatar

      I’d expect that the number of non-livery buyers who want to buy one are satisfied by the used market. This is similar to the RWD turbo-diesel wagon for < $20,000 market.

  • avatar

    Above a fairly basic level of luxury, I think the vast majority of consumers don’t really care. A $30k modern vehicle offers most the quantifiable attributes that were considered “luxury” just 25 years ago while offering electronic gizmos that weren’t available at all in the past.

    If “performance” is your idea of luxury, then modern vehicles are miles ahead of anything in the last 30 years. And, since they keep getting faster all the time, there’s no good reason to buy into a vehicle now when your bragging rights will be eclipsed next year anyway.

  • avatar

    If you ask me – and no one has, what is “luxury”?

    To me, “luxury” is a huge land yacht that I couldn’t afford unless I was a successful businessman or pretty high up on the food chain in a bank, law office, or in a corner office in a large corporation, not a car some schlub that has no class or social refinement has a right or the means to own.

    It HAS to mean more than just financial ability.

    That was, of course, yesterday.

    What does “luxury” mean now?

    Answer: Crude excess or very little.

    What OEM is going to make real chrome trim out of real metal for knobs, buttons and switches? ALWAYS real finely-finished wood, fine leather – and NOT just on seating areas, but the ENTIRE seat and even door panels? Real chromed-metal exterior trim, real metal grilles, headlight/tail light/side marker surrounds?

    I don’t see this happening. How many years ago did Rolls-Royce drop opening vent windows for fixed? If I were paying that kind of money, I’d demand they not water down any of the features.

    That being said, I’d have to say that R-R is the ONLY remaining luxury car in the world. All others have become “performance sedans or coupes”.

    “Luxury” no longer means a thing. If leather seating areas, a moonroof, power heated seats, remote start, electronic gadgets, etc make a car a “luxury car”, then step right up to my 2012 Impala and I’ll show you “luxury”!

    Now you can laugh me off the thread!

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I think a lot of what you said is quite perceptive. The use of plastic and faux materials has led to a definite decline in the perception of luxury. The really high-end stuff today in the luxury sphere is noticable for its use of authentic, natural materials and either whimsical design brilliance, or a quality of construction verging on fetishism. That really is absent in the automotive arena so I think you’re quite accurate.

      If a carmaker really wanted to get attention for luxury then they probably should take that approach. It would either lead to a very expensive car or very tight margins though (possibly both) so most would not be willing to do so save at the very top of the market. Which is a pity as it could be an excellent differentiator.

  • avatar

    I don’t know, nor do I care, what most Americans consider “luxury.” I have some ideas given what I see people buy and brag about. The hard part is that there isn’t any real trend beyond “more.” They want more of what they value, whether that is power, comfort, space, gadgets, etc. So, the question is: Is there anything that Americans universally value in their cars?

    As for myself, now that I’m at a point in my life where what I consider buying is bound moreso by what I want than what I can afford, what do I want more of? What am I willing to spend more for? What is my luxury?
    – Quality. Durability. Reliability. I want things put together well using materials that will last. I have no desire for a disposable car or one that has to spend time in the shop.
    – Fidelity. Enjoyment. I expect the stereo to sound great. I expect the handling to be good. I expect the seats to be comfortable. I expect the overall performance of the car to be limited more by me & what I want to do than what the car can handle.
    – Design. Personality & personability. I want something that looks good, has character, and reflects well on me. I expect it to be classic, not trendy, since it would be owned in perpetuity.
    It might be summarized simply as: I want a car that I won’t have any complaints with.

  • avatar

    What should Lincoln stand for?

    Carbon fiber reinforced plastic / honeycomb core unibody Fords.

    The price premium of around ten grand is about the right separation.

    They can use all Ford mechanicals and have significant advantages in NVH and performance over them.

  • avatar

    This is a subject about which I have strong views which vary from the majority of posters here. I believe that ‘luxury’, especially American luxury is and always has been, the realm of old people. I cannot imagine a 30 year old in the 50s or 60s buying a Lincoln Continental or Cadillac Fleetwood.
    I have to admit that I am a furriner so my view is warped by distance but my summary of American luxury is big, soft, overpowered. Power is no longer confined to large V8s so forget about trying to compete there. Soft is easy – see Lexus, Citroen, Buick. But ‘Big’ is no longer easy to find. If you are American and you want ‘big’ you HAVE to buy an SUV or truck.
    Many posters have said that marketing to old people gives you a dying customer base but I argue that the base is increasing and being regularly replaced. Old people have disposable cash. They want a big vehicle that is easy to get into. They want a soft ride for their tired bones. They want power everything for their atrophied muscles. they want silence for their poor hearing.
    There are only a few cars that meet these needs – S-class mercedes, Rollers, Lexus LS, etc. Do these unique platforms make much money? Does Ford really want to be in this market? maybe they are better off forgetting about real luxury cars and just putting soft seats and big engines and lots of sound insulation in their pretend luxury versions of high volume sedans.

  • avatar

    American Luxury = all the amenities + smooth + power + style. This was true from the 1920s to the 1960s. High end American cars were fast, they were comfortable, they were fully optioned with exclusive features that hadn’t yet filtered down to mass market cars, and they had distinctive styling that announced that you had arrived, in more than one sense of the word.

  • avatar

    I consider the Escalade ESV Platinum to be what american luxury is right now. Long, big, RWD and Body-on-Frame.

    I also consider the 1999 Cadillac Deville to be a true luxury car.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s with this body on frame nonsense from car buffa? Body on frame construction detracts from, rather than adds to, the cars driving experience. It adds unnecessary weight and doesn’t smooth out the ride. Are you aware that the ’60s Lincoln Continentals and Chryslers were all monocoque constructed vehicles?

  • avatar

    In the early 60s, Studebaker made a LWB version of the Lark that they called the Cruiser. Their marketing referred to it as a Limousette. Of course, it wasn’t a luxury vehicle, but it was a very nice, comfortable ride, with some features that were unique for it’s size. I currently own a 63 Cruiser that bears a strong resemblance to a MB of that era. When I drive the car, many times I am approached by people who are about to compliment me on my well maintained Benz. When they learn that it’s a Studebaker, there comes the inevitable pause, as they attempt to grasp the significance of the brand. This is basically what’s happened to the concept of American luxury. Our brands just don’t register in that arena anymore. Today, the near-luxury segment is probably the true realm of American luxury. We do that quite well.

  • avatar

    American luxury is about style/styling, smoothness, intrigue, and quality of life. American luxury is a classic two-button with wingtips, but it can also work as jeans, a sport coat, and loafers. It’s a V8 engine, draped in purposeful sculpture, that burbles and glides down the boulevard. It also has an element of pragmatism to the engineering and design. No unproven, supercilious features or trendy gimmickry. If you buy American luxury, you’re not a European plutocrat jockeying for social capital and control of the masses, you’re someone who’s got ‘it’ and you want a car that helps you enjoy ‘it’. ‘It’ could be family, business, leisure, travel, country-club-retirement, philanthropy, style, or whatever. You exist as an independent entity without cultural derivation–a pioneering, evangelical originalist who makes ‘it’ look so easy. Cadillac has ‘it’ right with their distinct neo-classical styling, but they brand towards the tire-smoking nouveau riche yuppsters, who are a contrived group of try-hards, if ever there was one.

    American luxury is a complicated concept. It’s accessible, disarming, charismatic, inspirational, inclusive, and unpretentious–immune to social pressure and cultural angst. It has an understanding of self and unshakable confidence. The meeting can’t start without American Luxury, but AL doesn’t need to be late to exercise its power. American Luxury cruises the highway at 90mph, but it carves the freeway with its blinker on, and gives the obligatory thanks wave. If American Luxury ran for president it would win in a landslide.

  • avatar

    I can agree with the video review as I have been using a 2013 Chrysler 300C hemi as a rental for the past few weeks since someone decided to rear end my Lexus. I am very pleasantly surprised by what a good car it is! I had previously driven an original 300 touring with the 3.5 and it was rubbish. What great strides Chrysler have made with this car! Its a simple thing but the car just feels so much better than any Chrysler i’ve ever been in. The new 300C looks and feels like an American car should. Its brash, bold and in your face with the styling and size but it blows you away with advanced and accommodating features and excellent comfort and luxury. Its also powered by a nuclear bomb for an engine, which drives the proper rear wheels in American tradition. I used the 360 hp to blow the doors off a G37 coupe that thought he could try and have a go on the highway. The whole car is surprisingly well put together as well, with far nicer interior materials than i have ever seen in a Chrysler product. I feel like they have made huge strides with the new 300, and it really is the last in the breed of proper RWD V8 full size American luxury cars.

  • avatar

    This Lincoln bashing is ridiculous. They make a very competitive product. I was in a Lincoln showroom yesterday looking for a new car. I was about to dismiss them out of hand given what people on these websites write about the cars, but the dealership was five minutes away so I figured I’d give them a look. After looking at the MKS, I’m convinced that people on the Internet will write negative things about cars they’ve never seen nor driven in person. The dealership was situated next to a BMW dealer and I could easily compare a full size 7 series back to back with Lincoln’s MKS. The MKS is simply not a rebadged Taurus. The design is really beautiful in person, much better than it appears in photographs. It comes with a powerful engine with proven durability. What’s not to like? Suffice to say, I’m going to be taking delivery of a new MKS shortly. I had the money to purchase a German car, but I liked the Lincoln better when I saw it in person. The point is, you can’t validly critique a vehicle unless you have seen it in person and driven the car.

    • 0 avatar

      …but the MKS IS a rebadged Taurus, except for some of the body parts and interior bits. It has the same wheelbase, essentially the same cabin space, and the same top power trains. Obviously some people like the differences enough to buy the MKS, but Lincoln needs more such people.

      The MKS is in no way like the 7-Series, but the high speed handling capability that makes the “7” special for a big car is useless on American roads anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        Platform sharing is not rebadging. The MKS has a totally different body, interior appointments, etc, from the Taurua. Here is some background information to give you perspective: I lived in Europe, drove on the Autobahn, have driven the 7 series a number of times, and currently own a Bentley Arnage. I know something about luxury cars and driving dynamics. The MKS appeals to me.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the MKS has a “totally different body,” if we are talking about most of the sheet metal, but it has the same sub-par rear leg room for a car that big, and has the same less-than-the-best power train in refinement. If the MKS appeals to you, that is what counts. I agree that it has very nice interior appointments.

    • 0 avatar

      Every time someone buys a car that gets negative comments, they feel the need to defend their decision. You do not have to, if you liked the MKS enough to buy one and it meets your needs and wants, great. I don’t think anyone is saying it is a bad car, although I cannot agree with your assessment that it is just as good as a BMW 7-series. Maybe for your needs, but not for most consumers.

      But basically, whether you like it or not, it is a Taurus underneath, and everyone knows it. The problem is that a Taurus is also a really nice car these days. Most people realize that they can get a loaded Taurus for $10k+ less and be just as happy. And it will not have that weird grill. So why buy the Lincoln?

      • 0 avatar

        First of all, I don’t feel the need to defend my purchase to anyone. I’m simply pointing out an observation, which is true. Forum boys will write endlessly about cars they haven’t seen in person, and that devalues their assessment of a car. I haven’t driven any of the new Scions. I don’t care much for their styling, but I don’t purport to objectively review the vehicle because I haven’t driven it.

        Have you driven a 7 SerieS? Actually driven one on the road? It’s a great car, but nothing more than a big, sedan with at least one nice engine choice. People make these cars out to be something they aren’t. They aren’t race cars, they aren’t going to lap a Viper on a track and they aren’t built for auto crossing. Thee big sedans are made to travel effortlessly on the highway, and virtually all of them would sail along at 100 moh on the German highway without trouble, wheher a new BMW, Lincokn, Cadillac, Lexus, whatever. They’re all pretty good at what they do. I just don’t see where people try to make cars into something they aren’t.

        Why did I choose the MKS over the Taurus? I liked the style. I liked the grille, the interior appointments. Some of the mechanicals are the same, which is a good thing because I love the Ford 3.5 engine. 425 horsepower is available with a simple tune, but the car is different in styling and appointments.

      • 0 avatar

        Max, I agree with you completely that you don’t need to defend your purchase to anyone. I have, however, seen an MKS “in person,” and I agree that the interior is attractive, but the one I looked at closely had an MSRP of over $55K. To me, the car seems like a really bad value at that price, but that’s just me. The cars I normally buy have an MSRP of half that. Still, if I wanted an American “luxury” car, I’d rather have a 300 for $40K, very well equipped.

        There again, that’s just me. Enjoy your MKS. You know what appeals to you. Different cars appeal to different people, which is why there is so much variety in the market place.

      • 0 avatar

        You were defending your decision, and now you are getting even more defensive. Do you think “forum boys” expect all cars to lap a Viper or be perfect for an autocross?? No one said anything about Lincoln sucking because it isn’t as fast as a Corvette or Viper. Not one comment in this thread has stated that a good luxury car should be a race car. We are all discussing why American luxury brands do not sell as well as European or Japanese luxury brands.

        I’ve driven the 7, the 5, the Mercedes E and S, I have driven the old Town Car, the new MKS, the Navigator, the Escalade, the CTS, the old DTS, tried a few generations of the Lexus LS, driven a couple different Genesis sedans, never tried a big Infiniti but I have driven the M and the G, and a few of the new Taurus too. The 7 has way better dynamics than the Lincoln, yet is still plush and comfortable around town and on the highway. It is very fast too, surprisingly so for its size and weight. I feel it is a better car, that’s my opinion. I do not feel it is so much better that it is worth the difference in price, but it is better. You are welcome to your own opinion as well, I am not taking that away from you. Nor am I questioning your ability to evaluate your decision on your criteria, you like the car for whatever reason so you got it. Perfect, all buyers should be that happy.

        You pretty much summed up my point. All of these cars ARE pretty good at what they do. The same can be said of a Taurus or an Avalon as well. So once again… why buy a Lincoln when the Taurus can do the same thing for less money? You like the styling, the interior, whatever. I am just saying that most buyers are not like you, they buy the luxury brand for the prestige, and Lincoln (and Cadillac) do not hold much prestige these days.

  • avatar
    Lynn E.

    Luxury to me would be:
    A Fiat 500 when I am trying to park in LA.
    A Prius when I buy gas.
    A Ford Transit when I carry tools.
    A 1959 Citroen ID 19 when I have to sit 6 hours driving to LA.
    A Tesla Model S when I want to talk with others in my car.
    Any car that is NOT German when I want reliability.

    Obviously I have to compromise except for avoiding German cars.

  • avatar

    It means Tesla now.

  • avatar

    Why can’t American luxury just be common sense? A solid long lasting car that is comfortable; has a great interior, is not too large, and semi-fun to drive. The Hyundai Genesis, new Avalon, and, TL, ES/GS350, and CTS are good American luxury cars, especially the Lexus and Hyundai. I don’t care about brands enough to care what American means.

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