By on March 26, 2014

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Few topics stir the blood of the Best&Brightest like the future of the Lincoln brand. Some of you agree with me that the company should build a new Continental. Others think that Ford should, as Michael Dell once famously stated of Apple in the pre-iMac era, sell the assets and distribute the money to the shareholders. Lincoln has platform problems, dealer problems, image problems, and competition problems — but the biggest problem Lincoln faces is its parent company’s current product line.

Ford built its business and its reputation on affordable product. Remember the Model T? What about the flathead V-8? Well into the Nineties, the company often sold the lowest-priced entries in any given market segment. The Ford of the past decade, however, has climbed steadily upmarket on a wave of Euro-style product, both in terms of price and consumer perception. Nowhere is that more apparent than with the new Mondeo/Fusion siblings.

The Fusion is expensive, complex, and remarkably stylish when compared to the rest of the family-sedan field. It also looks a fair bit like an Aston Martin, or at least what an Aston would look like were it inflated to a slightly higher pressure than recommended. While your humble author thinks the Lincoln MKZ has it beat for visual upscale-ness (upscality?) most of our readers disagree, preferring the Ford’s styling, interior materials, and overall packaging to those of its nominally superior platform mate.

This is a problem for the MKZ, but we live in a world where the Sloan Plan is long dead and artificial differences between brands from the same mother company won’t survive in the light of the competitive day. In other words, it doesn’t really matter if the Fusion impacts MKZ sales, as long as it impacts sales of the real competition by a greater amount. With the Fusion, Ford has a chance to stick its finger in the eye of its primary rival in the American market.

No, not Honda or Toyota. Don’t believe the hype. The crew at General Motors is still Ford’s closest competitor, and even if they’ve made it relatively easy for the Blue Oval to shine by contrast, they’re probably still the family of brands most often considered by those who eventually purchase Fords. Which leads to the question: If Ford is heading upscale and will eventually pass Lincoln, won’t the time eventually come when the Ford brand is in direct conflict with brands besides Chevrolet?

To some extent, it’s probably already happening. The Taurus Limited probably steals sales from the LaCrosse and vice versa. Surely the higher-end variants of the Ford trucks are shopped against the GMC Denali products. But what about Cadillac? Could Ford strike at Cadillac using its mainstream brand, not the currently aimless and product-starved Lincoln?

I’d suggest that it could, using one of its strongest models to attack one of Cadillac’s weakest. We’ve discussed the sales of Cadillac’s ELR “flagship” in the recent past, and although I’m not sure if the word “catastrophic” was used, it probably should have been. The ELR has a variety of problems, from its obvious affinity to the Chevrolet Volt to the bizarre bobtail styling that frankly makes some of us nostalgic for the slantback Seville, but it has one major strength. The ELR’s green credentials are unimpeachable. At some point in the near future, surely the self-consciously environmental among the nouveau riche will realize that it’s possible to get most of the Prius cred without having to drive a Prius. At that point, sales have to go up.

Ford has a chance to seize that ground for itself, and a Malaysian illustrator has already shown how:

2013 Ford Fusion

2013 Ford Fusion

That’s right: it’s a Mondeo/Fusion coupe. While it would certainly be possible to make a sleeker coupe, one that looked more obviously like an Aston Vantage, the bulbous look of this one kind of shouts “green”, doesn’t it? Isn’t it considerably more upscale-looking than the stunted ELR? Just imagine them parked next to each other. Which one looks like an expensive car? Which one looks like a premium product?

Alert readers will no doubt remember that Honda and Nissan currently offer mid-sized coupes, and that neither of those coupes have much pull above thirty grand or so. This is true, but that’s largely a function of how they’re configured and sold. The Fusion coupe, on the other hand, could and probably should be sold only as an Energi plug-in model, with every possible option, in a range of unique colors. A $39,999 single price point would split the difference between affordable and luxury, and it would be considerably less than even the actual transaction prices of the ELR. It might not even need to be called the Fusion Energi Coupe. It could be the Evos or the Fairlane or pretty much anything besides “Probe”.

Could Ford dealers handle selling a $39,999 luxury coupe? Well, they’re already selling $60,000 trucks and loaded Expeditions, so I’d suggest that it would be no problem whatsoever. The sales numbers wouldn’t have to be all that impressive to be useful; 90% of the car’s already paid for. The important thing is that it would give Ford’s more upscale customers a way to establish their green credentials and their luxury credentials at the same time. As long as the coupe isn’t available as anything but a plug-in, the message will be strong and clear. The advertising could even target the ELR directly, although Ford, unlike GM or even Jaguar, is too strong and smart lately to put their competitors in too much of the marketing material.

It’s hard to see how this strategy could go wrong. It’s a minimum cost for considerable reward and it would give Ford the chance to have what might be the first successful upscale-priced plug-in hybrid. The Aston similarity could be played-up a little further if the designers want to. There’s precedent, after all: the original idea for the Continental Mark III was “A Thunderbird with a Rolls-Royce grille on it.” A Mondeo with an Aston grille, stuffed full of batteries and sent out to hunt for Cadillac’s lifeblood? With a plan like that, who needs Lincoln anyway?

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170 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Cadillac-Killer Ford’s Afraid To Build...”


  • avatar

    That’s a great looking car. Very Aston-Martinish.
    If you wanna be a Cadillac killer, all you need is good looks, a V6 option, AWD and a loaded price tag under $45,000.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      BTS is right; put an EcoBoost in that coupe and you would have a nice niche car.

      But a plug in only coupe? EV’s are less than 5% of the auto market, and coupes are less than 5% of the sedan market, so by my math an EV Fusion based coupe targets 0.2% of the car market, EXCLUDING trucks. I think a market that small is best left to Tesla.

      • 0 avatar

        In an EV for Ford, I would target a 0-60 under 6 seconds and a range of at least 200 miles. I’d also work out a deal with TESLA to allow customers to use Superchargers (with a monthly/ annual fee of course).

        Ford doesn’t have the balls to put the 3.5-L into anything other than a full-size. If I was the head of Ford, the MKZ would come standard with the 3.7-L V6 and have an optional 3.5-L Ecoboost.

        The MKS and SHO would be standard with the 3.5-L Ecoboost and have an optional upgrade to the BOSS.

        I don’t think I’ll ever mature from the “straight line acceleration” club. I don’t want to.

        • 0 avatar
          Lynchenstein

          You’re dead on. Premium cars need premium performance. They need to be prettier, have more gadgets, more comfortable accommodations, cost way more, and go like Hell.

          Lincolns could be great – just make them all hot-rod Lincolns and you’ll have a problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      I like the idea of that coupe, if it’s built and marketed right.

      The Mustang crowd threw a hissy when someone drafted a version of the 2015 Mustang with that look (especially the front). Now that we know the Mustang won’t look that way, why not market this coupe as an upscale brother to the Mustang? Throw in most of the performance bits but with a more luxury-type interior. I don’t think they’d sell a ton of them but could fill a niche.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Right, cuz it’s really working for Lincoln now.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I laughed when I read the product recommendation. It would take some serious consumer mind bending to convince people that a Fusion coupe, hybrid or not, is any more than an Accord coupe me too competitor. I don’t see it happening/working out.

    A stretched and tarted up Mustang with a baleen whale grille stands a better chance.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Is baleen whale grille a requirement for a Lincoln Mustang? Fine. I’ll buy it anyway, so bring on the krill.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Seems to be a requirement for any Lincoln vehicle lately, major turn-off for me. It seems like I was one of few who actually liked the Navigator and pre-refresh MKX with the electric shaver grilles.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That grille had potential. I think the MKX looked better with that grille.

          • 0 avatar
            Carfan94

            I liked the old grille better too. I also liked the LED taillights on the pre-refresh better too. We rented an MKX when we went to California in 2008, I really enjoyed it, It’s shame Lincoln made it so ugly.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They put the grille from the bigger MKT/MKS on the MKX and ruined everything.

          • 0 avatar
            Detroit33

            I hated that egg-crate grill and it was a bitch to clean. The waterfall grill was the one for me. It seems to have the right proportions on the MKX, where I always thought it didn’t quite look right on my MKT. The latest MKT grill is hideous, though. They took a car that was already difficult to look at and made it even worse.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Perhaps then you’re unaware of the fact that EVERY product Cadillac makes is nothing more than a rebadged Chevy-OPEL-Holden – DaeWoo ? Example you say ? Try this on for size …

      DaeWoo Lasceti .. which becomes the Chevy Cruze – which with a bit of hybrid pretense morphs into the Chevy VOLT .. which then with a huge additional price tag becomes the Cadillac ELR

      Like to guess which platform sits underneath the ATS ? Hint ; It aint a Cadillac !

      Simple fact which has been proven by more than one print magazine being … Cadillac has not had a bespoke platform since the early 50′s and everything they’ve sold since then being one badge engineered GM product or another

      Now full discloser … I am NO fan of badge engineering of any kind .. fact is I despise it and refuse to buy one … be it from Audi – Cadillac – JLR – Lexus – Acura etc … but if you’re going to criticize the concept … you need to do it equally and across the board

      • 0 avatar
        Jan Bayus

        Not a single thing in your post is true. The Volt is a completely different platform than the Cruze.
        The ATS is a new platform not used by any other division yet (2015 Camaro). Why don’t you tell us what you think is under the ATS?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Slightly inaccurate, Volt and Cruze are both Delta II. Alpha was developed for 50/50 weight distribution, but it doesn’t say by whom except to reference “General Motors engineers”.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_Delta_II_platform#Delta_II

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

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have noticed it and I’ve pretty much sworn off [most] GM products post 2010 as a result.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Nothing in your comment has anything to do with what I said. Perhaps this was directed elsewhere?

        None the less, like Jan, I too am now curious about where you believe the ATS Alpha platform originates outside of Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think he was insinuating Alpha and Sigma platforms were foreign designed. The Alpha and Sigma wiki pages don’t expressly state this but Sigma’s does say it is related to Zeta which was developed by Holden.

          “Zeta was the original name for General Motors’ full-size rear-wheel drive automobile platform developed by GM’s Australian subsidiary company Holden and was most recently referred to as the “Global RWD Architecture””

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

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

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Your post is so off that I don’t know what to say….other than the fact that *badge-engineering* is the act of selling multiple vehicles that have the same platform, bodyshell and basic mechanicals, and only minor differences to separate them. In that case, the only Cadillac that could be considered badge-engineered is the Escalade. Likewise, the only badge-engineered Lincoln models are the MKX and the Navigator. This is why no one used the term “badge-engineering” other than you. Platform-sharing is not badge-engineering, and it’s necessary in order to build these products at a profit. Although he mentioned it briefly, the author’s complaint wasn’t even so much about *platform-sharing*; it was the fact that Lincoln should at least be *outclassing* Fords that use the same platforms, not the other way around, as it currently stands.

        .

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The ATS is on the Alpha platform which was developed for Cadillac (tho it seems like it will be used for the next gen Camaro as well).

        Mercedes shares FWD platforms with Renault/Nissan/Infinti and rebadges the Renault Kangaroo as the Citan.

        FWD BMW will share its platform with Mini and BMW has plans to co-develop a coupe with Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Agree. The Fusion in whatever guise is -not- premium. Even if it looks okay, as this coupe does. The rear reminds me of an old Puma though.

      http://www.netcarshow.com/ford/1999-puma/800×600/wallpaper_0c.htm

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      And I have the perfect name for such a car, named after the target buyer: Cougar!

  • avatar

    A neighbor has a Fusion, I like the styling, and it’s really well equipped. A two-door variant like the rendering would be great to see.

    But not Probe. That name was the source of a lot of jokes as a teenage car fan in the 90′s.

    Probe. Uhh-huhuh-huhuhuh…

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      Jokes aside, they were fun rides.

      I would be pretty happy to see a return of the Probe if it were the right car, but with the Mazda partnership over I don’t think making that car is in Ford’s DNA.

      My cousin and his father owned 4 ’90 Probe LX & GTs between them and man were they fun. Major headroom problem though.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit33

        I personally owned 3 different model year Probes: 90LX, 89GT and 96GT all manuals. The turbo 89GT was the most fun to drive of the 3. Gearing in the 96 was all wrong for that 2.5L V6.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      I don’t see Ford returning to the Probe name. The Probe was originally supposed to be the next generation Ford Mustang; when the backlash over a FWD Japanese Mustang broke out; Ford chose to offer it as something else instead; and chose the name Probe based on the Probe concept cars of 1979-1984.

      Now; it is 25 years later; there are few fond memories of the original Ford Probe; so there is no legacy to build on; and yes, the jokes would come out once again.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Your Neighbor has a Fusion? 3 people on my street have the the new fusion and someone on the next street over has one too. They’re spreading like the plague! nah i’m just kidding i’m glad to them selling well, I really like the styling and would love to see the two-door variant.

      • 0 avatar

        Apparently if you can get a Ford X-Plan deal, the Fusion comes within a short $1k hop or so from a Focus, and it’s immensely more loaded than the Focus. Plus I’m sure the used price on Fusions are pretty good. I bet these are good reasons why we’re seeing a lot of them.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The lease prices are only $10-30/month different. That drives some of it.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            When I was looking for a car for my sister, the Fusion was actually a few dollars cheaper then the Focus. Both were a bit steeper than I would have liked though, and that was with X-plan. Ended up with a Cruze.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            In some cases the Fusion is cheaper. It depends on the month. Right now the Edge and Flex are priced better than the Explorer, but that isn’t always the case either.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Either Fusion is on sale or Foci are stupidly expensive for “what they are” so to speak.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            This month, the Focus is more “on sale”. $1000 down will get you a 24 month lease on a Focus SE for around $175/month including tax. The Fusion SE is around $225/month on a similar lease. These are Detroit area prices. Expect a bit higher most other places.

            I wish I could justify an electric car because the Focus Electric has $6000 on the hood, plus tax incentives, and 0% for 60 months.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Google says Electric Foci start at 35K which is “wow” to me. Even with 6K off, Prius starts at $24,200. I’m not seeing the Ford being worth a $5K premium due to range anxiety and the fact Prius, as much as I don’t care for it, isn’t a slouch. A $2K premium might be more attractive, over the car’s life I could make up the savings in elec vs gas. Maybe if resale were phenomenal…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You can get a decently equipped C-Max for $23K-24K too. The C-Max has an open cabin and storage space while the Focus Electric doesn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            But remember the $7500 government cheese brings the price down to $21.5K. Or a Focus Electric lease has a $11K capitalized cost reuction. Without putting money down, thats a $265 monthly payment assuming MSRP. No one is paying MSRP for a Focus Electric.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Not a bad idea Jack. I think a LWB version of the Fusion with unique styling could also be a similar smash.

    I think you’re missing a trick though. If you’re going for an image-focused range topper, none of the names you suggest work.

    Falcon will be available soon, and has the right Star Wars connotations. Thunderbird is available right now. Galaxy might get confused with a cellphone though.

  • avatar

    No.

    With luxury comes the expectation of exclusivity of a brand, even in these jaded days and even in the eyes of the modern shopper. Toyota understands this, hence Lexus. Nissan and Honda, too. Ford itself understands this with umpteen ‘upscale’ iterations of its F-Series. A Fusion is a fine automobile, but its not ‘exclusive,’ especially at its current popularity (and, sorry, but it looks absolutely bland in a handful of colors and trim combos – the MKZ by contrast does not).

    Hyundai is learning the hard way that a mass-market brand simply cannot transact a car above a certain price point and that price point is apparently a loaded Genesis coupe or Santa Fe. They lack the rote ‘quality of service’ you find with a dedicated luxury marque. And if you boil it down, I bet the two most common reasons for choosing a Lexus over a Toyota companion are “Its a Lexus” and “The dealer experience.”

    Ford facilities – sorry – can’t cut it.

    And they’re not selling that many $60k Expeditions these days, much less Expeditions period.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Except the Genesis sedan outsells the Lexus GS and Infiniti M.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Because it’s a damn good value if you’re not looking for a “sport sedan.” If the thing is reliable and the dealer isn’t as horrible as VW, that’s not going to be as big an issue.

        That’s why I think Lincoln could succeed with a Genesis-fighter to appeal to both fleet and retail buyers. They have the customer base and the dealer numbers.

  • avatar
    morbo

    You’ve just proposed a Lincoln Mark X.

    Which is a great idea. Flybrian is right. No matter how awesome it is, it would be a Ford unless re-branded. People that buy Lexus/Cadillac/Audi may or may not know they have a tarted up Toyota/Chevy/VW. They do know it’s NOT branded as a Toyota/Chevy/VW.

    But a Lincoln MarkX, even Sanjev or Sajeev would approve.

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    Lincoln can only survive if it thumbs its nose at the CAFE regs and starts building Lincolns again. Lincolns are either big, distinctively American, and conservatively styled, or they are nothing, and don’t make money. The archetypal Lincoln is the 1961 Continental. Lincoln should build an updated version of that. It should be noticeably bigger than any of the German sedans. They should give it four power sliding doors, a 30 cubic foot trunk, and a 30 gallon fuel tank.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    isnt there a bigger problem? that is the market for personal coupes is pretty small

    sure i can see a ‘mercury cougar’ based on the new mustang but does the market want a high end FWD coupe?

    fwd cuv? yes!

    few coupe? no

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Also, IIRC, Nissan discontinued the Altima coupe, so that leaves only Honda in the midsize coupe space. If people wanted them, Honda would make a killing. And if the market is really that small (and I believe it is), who’s going to pay premium prices for a Ford?

      Attacking where your enemy is weak is a great strategy. But attacking ground that wins you nothing is folly.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Correct on the Altima coupe. I think only the Accord Coupe left is correct. Every other coupe option is RWD/AWD.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I’m always surprised whenever Honda revises the Civic or the Accord and the two door sticks around. The Civic I can see if for no other reason than to have as a base for the SI model, but the Accord, I don’t know. Maybe it’s one of those deals where it’s a decent market for one manufacturer, but if two or three started making coupes, none of them would make any money at it.

          Then again, Honda sells a decent number of manual transmission Accords, and they are the only one in that segment that does. Most other makers have abandoned the manual transmission altogether in their mid size sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “the market for personal coupes is pretty small”

      Surely there MUST be a way to blame the chicken tax for this?!?!?!

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    I don’t see why this would carry the high priced tag you propose. The Fusion Hybrid already exists in sedan guise, why would someone pay substantially more money for the same car in 2-door sheetmetal?

    The ELR is a failure all in it’s own right. Lincoln/Ford shouldn’t chase that failure, just at a lower (still too high) price point. It’s the wrong target.

    A Lincoln coupe done in A5/S5 guise with refined TT V6 or even NA 5.0 drivetrain and flappy paddle DSG/manual would cause some stirrings though.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Jack is talking about a plug in. The Fusion Energi starts at $34K. If I were to build a Titanium like I would want, it would be almost exactly Jack’s price.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Jack is proposing the couple be based on the Fusion Energi, which is the plug in hybrid, not the non-plug version. I just bought a Fusion Energi sedan with nav and a sunroof, and the bottom line on the sticker was right at $39,000.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Which would mean selling a coupe at $39,999 would be a money losing proposition as they would never be able to recoup the additional development and tooling costs with the low volume that a coupe would sell at. As a Lincoln priced at $50K maybe but still not likely.

  • avatar

    That coupe begs for a V6 to go after the Accord Coupe–it could be a game changer…

    Lincoln needs more than an ELR beater to be successful. The Navigator needs to be relevant again and Lincoln needs a product like the Continental again, or even a modern Town Car. I don’t mean an old school, body on frame, vehicle, but something that legitimately competes with the Lexus LS.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I agree with the idea of a Fusion coupe, but 40K? Seriously? I still can’t get on board with “Lincoln” MKFusion being in this range and the market still agrees with me as evidenced by resale (of non hybrids). Ford won’t even offer a V6 in the current Fusion, and now you’d like to give them cart blanche to up the price ten grand for the privilege of two doors? Don’t build a “Fusion” coupe, build a Lincoln with a *name* and offer V6 or hybrid, make it longer (and not a hatchback), and aim for transaction prices in the mid 30s no matter the fictional MSRP. Your Fusion line is already Hecho in Mexico for < $5 an hour, Dearborn; this is well within your reach. Ford and the industry at large had better get into the realm of realistic pricing. I wouldn’t worry too much about "Cadillac killers" until Cadillac cracks something sustained above 1.1% market share and of that X percent, less than 30% be SRX (unlike the 52% it was in MY12).

    Additional: I’m not familiar with marketing strategy but to me it seems foolish to “go after” Cadillac’s ELR. Its very existence insults my intelligence but its not meant to be a serious entry, its an loss leading experiment. If you’d like to seriously “go after” Cadillac, find a quick way to copy SRX and Buick’s Encore. Lincoln needs a Continental to be taken seriously (as a brand) no matter what, but quick bucks are to be made in the fake luxury SUV and clown car crowd. Just concentrate on how to make it the most useless and ugly thing on the road with butch looks as evidently buyers have lost ten to twenty IQ points in the past twelve years.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Is the ELR even selling well enough to be that much of a threat?

      Lincoln should just take the Mustang, stretch it a bit, add some doors, make it V8 only, and NOT make it look like their current early 90′s Oldsmobile line-up.

      I dunno if a luxury coupe would work though, most coupes I see are Civics and Altimas, and thats in part because they’re cheap for newer cars.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Chic luxury brands in general have exploding sales due to the economic conditions being created through QE infinty. Whether this would translate to a Lincoln sport/lux coupe I can’t be certain.

        http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304585004579415110604829016

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Agree. Mustang is where Ford’s coupe/convertible action should be, not Fusion/MKZ.

        This morning I looked at a Hyundai Genesis with its knockoff Bentley styling. Now I’m thinking that my ideal Continental would be sized halfway between a Genesis and Chrysler 300 with a big back seat and trunk, have center-pull doors, de-Oldsmobiled styling, and a suspension for absorbing rough roads, not going around pylons.

        I disagree about the drivetrains, though — while a V8 should be the top-lined, there should be an EcoBoost hybrid and/or V-6. 2025 isn’t that far away.

        Get that going as a sales success, do a CUV off of it to replace all those godforesaken MKWhatever failures, and then Lincoln can look at coupes and convertibles.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Is the ELR even selling?

        “Stealing ELR sales” must be some kind of a koan, like “one hand clapping.”

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        ELR is a dud, not that GM cares. It’s a way to amortize Volt tech costs and get some buzz for Cadillac, but that commercial is just horrendous.

        I agree with you that Ford should go in the RWD (AWD option, of course) sedan direction with Lincoln. But it shouldn’t be a Cadillac/Audi/BMW “sport sedan” — make it a smooth rider in the Hyundai Genesis mode but sized a bit larger. Give it a big back seat and trunk, hybrid, V6 and V8, and price it $40-50K.

        Price the MKZ just a bit lower and realistically, and you’ve got a plan, then the MKC, and suddenly you’ve got a decent volume plan for Lincoln.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      28: “I’m not familiar with marketing strategy but to me it seems foolish to “go after” Cadillac’s ELR. Its very existence insults my intelligence but its not meant to be a serious entry, its an loss leading experiment.”

      Experiment is the word. GM’s wants to find out how many people are willing to pay big bucks to get legendary but slow-selling Chevy technology from a Cadillac dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree, I imagine an expensive experiment as well. Pity they don’t have a hybrid ready model to offer such as Ford/Lincoln does with Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          And GM called the code on it before they shipped the first one.

          Well, they didn’t phrase it quite that way… they declared it to be “limited production,” probably when they realized how badly it would sell.

          It really is kind of sad. I love my Prius but I’d be more than happy to see more alternatives with 50+mpg.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    No.

    Honestly, no one really buys two-door/two-row cars any more, at least not outside of niche segments. It’s a toy, and that crowd is split between the Germans and the Mustang/Camaro. The kind of people who might buy a Ford or Lincoln are, frankly, just going to buy a four-door car or small SUV.

    There’s no need to compromise your ability to get in- and out of the rear seats for the perceived notion of sportiness, and the sales of these kinds of cars (and the rise of “four door coupes” and sedans with glass that ends at the rear bumper) bear that out.

    Signed,

    Someone who hates cars with more rows of seats than rows of doors.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m an advocate of sedans with rear passenger room, but SINKs and DINKs seldom haul passengers. Car volume comprised of 97% sedan was always asinine on the part of buyers and OEMs. More coupes should be offered but on the same token more options should be available in the coupe line vs sedan (drivetrain, transmission, luxury appointments, etc). People could be steered into them via additional options choices and or competitive options packages.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Most people buy coupes over sedans simply for the more sporty image, styling, and arguably better driving dynamics.

        I dunno what options would do, most new cars I see are often closer to their base-trim as evidenced by blanked out foglight areas and ill-proportionally small wheels.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          True, and people buy fake SUVs because they “look tough” and in the minds of some offer better styling.

          For instance your company comes out with some new techie option. For the first model year, don’t offer it on the sedan, make it exclusive to the coupe. Don’t bother selling “stripped” coupes, place them above their sedan cousins in pricing and importance. People who shop on price alone don’t buy the coupes available now. But someone coming in for a loaded Camcord might be steered to the coupe if you give him reason to be and instruct the salesman to sell coupes vs sedans to SINKs and DINKs looking to spend coin. Currently those buyers have one real choice and that’s Accord coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            The reason I wouldn’t buy an Accord coupe is because it’s a coupe. I suspect there’s more than a few buyers who feel the same way.

            But were the manual and V6 available in the sedan, sure.

            Coupes died the day the WRX sedan landed in North America and proved that you can have a practically-shaped car that isn’t joyless to drive.

            Personally, I danced on the two-door’s grave.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Why? Do you have need to haul passengers or just dislike the profile?

            “practically-shaped car that isn’t joyless to drive”

            What’s practical about a rear seat you can’t use? Wouldn’t a pushed up rear seat and larger trunk be more practical?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            This is all Nissan’s fault, if it wasn’t for the Maxima’s 4DSC ad campaign that convinced the world that four doors were cool there wouldn’t be this identity problem. Before the Maxima it was quite clear two doors were cool, four doors were not

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “What’s practical about a rear seat you can’t use? Wouldn’t a pushed up rear seat and larger trunk be more practical?”

            Not if you have kids, no.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Lie2me

            I’m happy to blame Nissan.

            @psarhjinian

            My entire argument was predicated on SINKs and DINKs a demographic in which you are no longer a part. Playing devil’s advocate, few if any sedans or CUVs today are big enough for complete family use (as defined in long family trims with extended family). Big enough to run junior to school but that’s about it. If I’m towing a brood its minivan or large SUV at minimum for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        SINKs and DINKs don’t buy base-brand, FWD coupes. They have the means to buy upscale, RWD coupes, and do so.

        Historically, the base-brand, FWD coupe were bought by (or for) teenagers who wanted something that looks ‘sporty’ but is affordable. When I grew up in the 90′s, we all drove cars such as the Cavalier, Beretta, Grand Prix, Shadow, and Civic coupes. Today, the crossover has eaten into the teenage market. ONLY the Accord survives because of its loyalist appeal and (relatively) sporty handling. The FWD coupe is dead.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think you have a point but I’d need more data to make a definitive judgement. I’m a SINK in that income level and I would buy a FWD coupe because of the climate I live in. Light RWD’s don’t play well with our topography.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I prefer the Coupe body style because 1) I have long legs and the long doors make it easier for me to get into the front seat and 2) the long doors push the B-pillar back outside my field of vision. Not sure why, but having a rarely used rear seat in a coupe seems to reduce the insurance cost. Having the ability to occasionally carry extra passengers is nice too.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve heard the rear seat is for insurance as well, which is why when roadsters like the Z3 came out they added a useless backseat.

      • 0 avatar
        Wodehouse

        That’s exactly why I prefer two door vehicles. Get that b-post out of my line of vision, especially in newer vehicles where pillars are the size of sequoias. Ninety-five percent of the time I drive with the windows lowered and in my spouse’s 4 door I get the wind pounding my ear as it bounces off both the safety belt and b-post. I don’t have that problem in my 2 doors.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The long doors make it harder to avoid dinging the car next to you and, in a tight space, can make it more difficult to get into the car. Give me a shorter door that can swing through more arc.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          You have a point about the B-pillar, though.

          I like the look of the Accord coupes, especially the older ones, and the older RSX’s (can’t stand the beak on the newer ones). We’re down to just the two of us, so an attractive coupe is tempting but I recently bought a car and went with 4 doors for the utility and I’ll probably go for the utility whenever I buy the next car, too.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Hey, since we’re targeting niches here, maybe this can steal a bunch of Crosstour sales too!

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Lincoln’s main problem seems to be that it gets its engineering and platforms from its downmarket sibling. That’s a fatal error at this level.

    Ford should be doing with Lincoln what GM does with Cadillac – using the division as its R&D lab, with the technology trickling down to Ford.

    The funny thing is, the current MKZ looks like somebody’s Back-To-The-Future, 1985 idea of a car that people in 2015 would drive. It’s a little too smooth, a little too sleek and a little too clean. The Taurus looks more credible as a car.

    Besides, if Lincoln insists on using FWD architecture for its luxury vehicles, it might do well to study Audi’s operations.

    • 0 avatar
      Loki

      A fatal error…that is also done at pretty much every other luxury brand. Difference is that Lincoln seems to eat a lot of crap for doing this, while Cadillac, Audi, and Lexus get away scot-free.

      I know the Fusion and MKZ very, very intimately and there really isn’t a hell of a lot of badge engineering going on there. Same platform, so that means the same subframe, front floor pan, two shared engines, an AWD system, and some other deep architectural stuff…but that’s about it. Front and rear fascias, body side sheet metal, wheel houses, cab back, body closures, interior, rear floorpan, wheels, tires, are all different. Honestly, the Fusion has about as much in common with the MKZ as it does with the Ford Edge. I am so sick of this same old rhetoric from arm-chair car designers.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Part of the problem was that since the demise of the LS, Lincoln hasn’t done a good enough job of making their offerings different enough from Ford (or Mercury). When they did (MKT), the styling didn’t hit home with consumers.

        The MKZ was a good start, and the MKC is even better. I have very high hopes for the MKC and the availabilty of the 2.3T in other products. CUVs are a segment that Lincoln can be the most competitive in the least amount of time. Those wanting RWD, 500 hp, 20 ft long Lincoln sedans won’t like it, but maybe if the brand stays alive, they’ll eventually get their wish.

        • 0 avatar
          Loki

          That’s another issue entirely… the internet is constantly saying that a powerful RWD sports sedan ala CTS-V would save Lincoln. Hell, I’d love to see such a thing. Problem is, all these people demanding this product are not in the market for such a product, myself included.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            We might be, but we are a minority. I think the beauty of being a pseudo-luxury brand is you can cater to a minority vs a parent brand which must appeal to a larger audience. The overall RWD car market is only so big, so the challenge is to capture enough market-share to not be a total failure, and build enough product over two or three generations in order to profit. Personally I think Cadillac car is in a very weak spot and would suffer heavily against a Mustang based standard V8, opt V6, Continental. One with a back seat for people, and one you could see out of. One buyers could get legitimately excited about and actually have a reason to visit an LM dealer.

            The other side of this is the foreign markets. The East is still fascinated by the Continental mystique, but when you’re selling anything but there’s a good chance they’ll just “me’h” it and move on. Go a little retro and build a modern interpretation and be surprised by the results.

  • avatar
    EX35

    The answer to Lincoln’s woes is rather simple. Take the S550 platform and built a proper RWD sedan/coupe/SUV/whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      An S550 derived sedan is a pretty hot idea, no matter what badge it wears.

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        I don’t understand Ford. It’s not rocket science. That’s the only way Lincoln can be a competitior to Cadillac. Badge engineering FWD econocars into luxury vehicles doesn’t generally work. But when you already have a great RWD platform why not use it?

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          S550 is a good platform, but it’s not all that versatile. Stretching it enough to make a proper luxury sedan might end up costing more than the sedan would justify. (Ironic, considering it’s derived from one.)

          The IRS helps, though.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            That would be, more or less, what Lincoln attempted with the LS.

            It was a good car, probably ever a great one. I’d say it was probably the best (in holistic terms) American sports sedan in, well, ever. It was competitive, and sometimes better, than the E39 5-Series, which is probably Nature’s Most Nearly Perfect Car.

            But it cost a lot to make and didn’t sell at all well. Part of the problem was that Lincoln really didn’t have the image to sell a sports sedan and didn’t stick with it, and the Town Car-esque siege-engine bumpers didn’t help.

            So Ford would be understandably gun-shy about trying to make a low-margin platform.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’re really making that claim, best American sports sedan?

            It was:

            -Unreliable
            -Not well built
            -Too expensive
            -And shared a platform with a JAGUAR, which is not American.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Can an S550 scale up? Or more properly was the S550 designed to be scaled up?

      Ford doesn’t seem particularly interested in a large V8 or V6 RWD sedan platform.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m sure it can. They could have done it with the last Mustang. The Lincoln LS and some Jags are sort of second cousins. The cost-benefit is the biggest question.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Why? The only Cadillac that this would compete with doesn’t need killing because it was stillborn to begin with.

  • avatar
    k9H20

    So, to summarize the thesis of this article: Ford was cheap, but is now premium in its segment with possibly better cache than Lincoln, therefore it might find itself compared to Cadillac more frequently than Lincoln, but not unless it creates a competitive model to Cadillacs “weakest” model, the ELR?

    That is a lot of leaps to arrive at a conclusion that Ford is likely not ready for. If anything, I would guess that they are still going to force the GM configuration of having the premium sub brand Lincoln blaze new tech ground for them with the first EV, weather it is smart or not.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Didn’t Nissan kill the Altima coupe?

  • avatar
    geeber

    Ford’s “upmarket” climb stretches beyond the last decade. The climb began in 1955 with the two-seat Thunderbird, which was hardly an inexpensive car for that time. It continued through the 1957 Fairlane 500, 1958 four-seat Thunderbird and 1965 Ford Galaxie LTD.

    Ford’s lone medium price marque – Mercury – was no match for the GM trio of Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac. The Edsel was an attempt to compete directly with GM in this market, and flopped miserably. So Ford made an end run around GM with cars like the 1958 Thunderbird, which was priced in Buick territory, and succeeded. Cars like the Thunderbird and LTD played a big role in undermining GM’s stair-step brand structure.

    Ford’s continued move upmarket in recent years has been fueled by the recognition that Ford will not be able to compete on price with any potential Chinese entries.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      And yet the Thunderbird avoided any visible Ford emblems — for a long time I think the only one was on the radio. Sort of a sub-brand in the way that Continental and Imperial were to Lincoln and Chrysler.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Yep–Mercury was always a Ford with a few more doodads and lux touches and slightly different styling front and back. Lincolns did the same thing but upped the ante exponentially.

      It was the “Sloanian” Ford step-up, just as Dodge or Plymouth -> Chrysler. Chevy->Pontiac->Olds(->Saturn)->Buick->Caddy.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Sorry, but the pictured Fusion coupe looks as sleepy as a Prius. I see it and I think of the two-door family hatchbacks from the ’80s, not luxury. Your current Accord looks miles better. And I like the ELR’s styling — I think it’s the strongest part of the car.

    On the larger point, you don’t attract luxury buyers with coupes these days. You attract them with sedans and crossovers. The best thing Lincoln could do is come out with two new products in segments luxury buyers actually pay attention to: 1) a rear-drive sedan based on the Mustang, but stretched just a bit to be a direct Lexus GS competitor, and 2) a three-row crossover with real personality (unlike the MKT). A rear-drive sedan would take the heat off the MKZ, and the MKC is already a pretty good attempt at a two-row crossover.

    In the long term if Lincoln really wants to get its mojo back it needs a flagship — and, again, that flagship would need to be either a sedan or a super-swag SUV to outdo the Escalade and GL-Class.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The three row crossover doesn’t need any more personality than the MKT, it just needs to look different. The idea of a LWB Explorer with a nicer interior, different sheet metal, and more powerful engines is the right idea. The MKT is a better driver than any non super performance luxury CUV/SUV. It just looks like a bunch of strange Lincoln styling cues slapped together in a psychotic package. The MKC is the right sort of styling direction.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Take the Mustang platform and build a luxury coupe on that. Take that “hot rod” Lincoln to the Pan-America like the old Capri. Now that’s worth getting excited about.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    There will be much fanfare.

    Ford will build many sporty coupes under the “Continental” name, but put brainless AT’s into them and mushy suspensions. Lincoln’s old customers will ignore it, Ford’s young customers will not realize it even exists, or associate it with the Burgundy colored MK VIII’s piddling around south Florida with 4 foot tall shriveled trolls behind the wheel, going 45 in the left lane of I-75.

    See the Thunderbird reboot, Taurus reboot, and every car Lincoln has made since 2000.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I can’t speak for the transmission, but Ford suspensions as of late have been pretty well sorted. There isn’t even anything mushy in Lincoln’s current lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Whenever I see a Hyundai Genesis sedan, I picture center-pull doors and say “THAT is what a Lincoln Continental should be!”

      And like the Hyundai, it doesn’t have to have CTS/A6/535 type of handling — just a smooth, controlled ride and safe handling, plus be suited for black car/heavy-duty work.

      Please tell me why there isn’t a business case for a Mustang-based car like that? I just want to understand.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Lincoln made business sense up to WWII.
    What is the reason Ford keeps the brand alive?

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      On what do you base that?

      I’ll grant you that the last 20 years have been rough, but Lincoln made sense as a business case for many years when the Lincoln-Mercury franchise was going gangbusters. How much profit did the Mark III, IV and V give Ford, not to mention the Town Car?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      FoMoCo should be using Lincoln as a platform to develop cars completely the opposite of Ford. Sure a rebadge here or there is ok, but platforms, motors, technologies they couldn’t justify in Ford should be sold as Lincolns. The Lincoln dealer network should also be consolidated as I believe it is part of the current problem. Giving two different distribution channels product is expensive, ask GM. Ford choose the Xerox machine and touched up the Lincoln copies a little in order to satisfy the second network, which I suppose was the cheapest most practical approach. If they consolidate dealers and brands under one roof you can then offer radically different product side by side, whereas now you would offer the same product twice with slight variations.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Yes. For decades, that’s what GM used Oldsmobile for. Automatic transmissions, great V-8s, front-wheel-drive, etc.

        Lincoln could do the same, but they’re doing it in reverse order. First they must get rid of the styling that Oldsmobile used in its last decade. That’s disaster #1.

  • avatar
    Carfan94

    I’m one of the few people that actually like the way the new MKZ looks (and the Fusion). But I find the lack of physical buttons and the push button shifter off putting, and would prevent me from buying it if I were in the market for a Luxury sedan.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Again, I really think that Lincoln could build its image using Ford’s FWD platforms *if* those Lincoln could outclass the Fords, instead of it being the other way around. For one thing, Lincoln’s current styling is forgettable at best and hideous at worst…compared to Ford’s prettier school of design. That needs to change. Also, Lincoln’s rather-unique problem is the fact that the Fords are practically luxury cars in nicer trims. A loaded Escape feels every bit as good as an Audi Q5. So the MKC will have to be quite a bit better than the Escape. Third, I think that the next MKX needs to have its own bodyshell instead of using that of the Edge. None of the cars in the MKX’s class use the same bodyshell as a non-luxury model, and I don’t think the MKX should either. And finally, Ford needs to stop using that dated Volvo platform for both brands. I suppose the Explorer and Flex should stay since they sell well, but the MKT needs to go and the Taurus and MKS *definitely* need to be put on a different structure.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The MKC is better than the Escape. Its the best job Lincoln has done distinguishing a Lincoln from a Ford in awhile. The interior is excellent and the exterior is much more upscale than the Escape.

      As for the rest, the Volvo platform is on its way out. Everything Fusion or bigger will be based on the platform that underpins the Fusion and MKZ. Based on Lincoln’s other moves, I would be suprised if the MKX shared a bodyshell with the Edge in the next model. When the Explorer/Flex/MKT come up for redesign, the Flex will probably die, and the MKT will be replaced with something more related to the Explorer. The funny thing is that the MKT is Lincoln’s most competitive product within its own segment. Its looks and top end Explorer packages make it a sales flop.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I agree with your claim that the MKC is better than the Escape, so maybe Ford understands this, as well as the fact that Lincolns should have different bodyshells. What I’m hoping for is an Volkswagen-Audi-esque relationship, where Lincoln needs maybe *one* dedicated RWD platform in the end, but that all of the rest of the models can be just significantly nicer and better-looking versions of Fords.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I want to say they understand it, but one CUV does not seal the deal for me.

          The MKC is very important for Lincoln, and I think the MKT replacement will be as well. As the Flex and MKT attract more upscale buyers than the Explorer (at least they did, the Sport has upped the Explorer’s game), they need a Lincoln to replace both. Stylistically, make it an American Range Rover. Its one segment that Lincoln could win in right away.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I don’t see the case for high-end greenmobiles – not yet, at least.

  • avatar
    imm

    Can someone render this with taillights of Lincoln MKZ?

  • avatar
    imm

    Can someone Photoshoped this with taillights of Lincoln MKZ?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Solution to the American “luxury” carmakers problems:

    HATCHBACKS.

    Fusion is OK, but it has crap headroom and too high of a sheetmetal to wheel ratio even with the optional 19s.

    What’s the fix?

    Expand the wheel wells and upgrade to 19s and 20s. Include some kind of adaptive suspension to deal with the added unsprung weight and put the ride quality and handling of the MKZ a few more notches above the best Fusion. Then, give it a hatchback and use design trickery to keep its profile sleek while giving it more rear headroom. Hell, they could do the hatchback thing on the Fusion too.

    For all of American’s disgust of hatchbacks, this “4 door coupe” revolution has sure seemed to revive the shape, albeit in a more sexy manner. But rather than continually shorten rear decklids and cramp on headroom, now is the chance for a domestic manufacturer to go all the way and just do the logical thing… hatchback.

    I think the “fight the Germans head on” move by Cadillac was a huge mistake too… a swoopy hatchback shape spanning the gap between the ATS and CTS would probably have worked better and attracted more buyers than just the “murican 3 series” market. The cars look downright dull in person and CUE is still a mess. There is nothing to draw normal people toward Cadillac or Lincoln and away from the Germans/Japanese.

    • 0 avatar
      Wodehouse

      If someone would produce a grown up sized, 2 door hatchback in the spirit of Citroen’s SM I’d happily reduce the size of my savings account for one. However, leave the humpbacked 4 door hatches (Audi’s A7 is more hunchbacked than a Chrysler Sebring) overseas.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “Ford, unlike GM or even Jaguar, is too strong and smart lately to put their competitors in too much of the marketing material.”

    I can’t help think of the Ford commercial I see whenever I watch TV: “John and Jane drive a Honda Accord/CR-V. Watch them drive a Fusion/Escape!”

    Jane: “I love my Honda”
    John: “Wow, this is a Ford?”

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    I like the design of the MKZ much more than the bulbous-looking Fusion. I wish the designers and engineers would have skipped the silly oversize sliding roof and used that budget to get rid of the cheap looking rear apron and penned a completed bumper to compliment the distinctive look of the rest of the car.

    As for that red coupe thing above, my first impression was of an early 80s GM J-body hatchback mated with the last GTO coupe. Yuck!

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit33

      Wodehouse, man, I have the exact opposite feeling as you regarding the styling of the MKZ. I love the back end of that car. I think it’s one of the best on the road, period. Whoever (whomever?) designed it should be given a promotion. Conversely, whoever designed that awful grill should be taken out back and flogged.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The MKZ has a beautiful rear end.

        • 0 avatar
          LALoser

          +1

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Here’s my only problem with MKZ a$$:

          The bit in the middle which doesn’t light up, because it’s the reversing indicator. It looks like a part of the brake light LED isn’t working to people who haven’t seen the car in reverse before. I wish they would have integrated this differently somehow, in a different location.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Corey, I just noticed that on an MKZ this weekend (rare to see one on the road). I thought one of the lights was broken, and felt a bit disappointed in Ford. Now I know it was intentional, but it looks awful.

            And I guess I’m the rare person who prefers the front of the MKZ to the rear, which I think looks awful.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          My old man used to say that about Angie Dickinson in the Seventies, at least when my mom wasn’t around.

  • avatar
    Panther Platform

    I’m a dinosaur, but to me a luxury car is big, has a V8, and a long hood. I’ve owned two Lincolns (Mark VIII and a Town Car)and am a proud member of the Lincoln Continental Owners Club. It’s just a matter of time before I own another Lincoln, but Lincoln has to do something spectacular to persuade me to get rid of my of 03 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE for something other than an 2010 or 2011 Town Car. The MKZ or MKS just don’t cut it. I’d rather have a Fusion.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Love the Fusion. What I can find online seems to indicate that they are selling pretty much at MSRP if you don’t have a “Ford Plan.”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’m sure I could find an X-plan pin somewhere. Detroit area Ford dealers seem to know where to find them too. Not that does any good in NM.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I should say I love the looks. I’ll start test driving during my Spring Break hopefully. We got a new superintendent last summer and although he seems to like me he’s heck bent on playing musical chairs with principals. I need to see where I’m going to land to fully understand my automotive needs for a commuter/light family duty/taking colleagues to lunch.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “It could be the Evos or the Fairlane or pretty much anything besides “Probe”.”

    Ford Gran Fusion Elite?

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    The pain meds must be really working well…this article is absurd.

    Lincoln BARELY competes with Buick…there is no way a less capable Fusion…with wrong wheel drive, and terrible styling is going to compete with Cadillac.

    The Fusion isn’t that good to begin with (usually landing 3rd in the comparison tests)…so saying that by removing two doors it would be a Cadillac killer is just laughable.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Tastes differ but I don’t think either of those two Ford coupes has the visual impact of the Cadillac CTS coupe.

    Even with a more appealing car, I find it hard to believe a car with a “Ford” nameplate would be considered a luxury car by anyone.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    “At some point in the near future, surely the self-consciously environmental among the nouveau riche will realize that it’s possible to get most of the Prius cred without having to drive a Prius.”

    That’s when they buy a Tesla, not an ELR or some bland Fusion EV.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Any effort to kill Cadillac would be pointless, as there isn’t much there to kill.

    Ford and GM are both burdened by the fact that they each carry luxury brands that are of no interest to the rest of the world, during a time when car branding has gone global. The difference is that Ford is willing to recognize that reality, while GM is not.

    Ford already has a coupe. That would be the Mustang, of course, and there will be an effort to export the next one. We’ll see how well that international effort goes, but I can’t see how a second coupe could possibly do any good.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      +1. That’s a nice rendering, but Mustang is where Ford’s couple action is going to be for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Sales of Cadillac (not to mention Buick) are well up from where they were a few years ago.

      Also, Cadillac absolutely crushed Lexus when it comes to sales for sedans in the $40-60k price-range with the new CTS and the XTS (compared to GS sales), not to mention Infiniti and Acura.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        In other news, Hyundai absolutely devastated Lexus in sales of new cars priced $10k – $25k.

        $40-60 is a huge price range, where CTS (coupe, sedan, wagon, V) and the XTS sold more than the GS (sedan).

        Shockabrah.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          That’s b/c the midsize segment entails sedans equipped with turbo 4-bangers all the way up to twin-turbo V8s.

          Lexus used to sell 35k GS sedans at one point.

          Now, they are lucky if they sell 20k a year.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Sales of virtually every brand are up over the past few years, as the market has recovered from the sales collapse of 2009-2010.

        In 2013, Lexus sold 239,090 cars and crossovers, compared to 213,559 in 2012.

        Cadillac was also up – to 182,543 in 2013 from 149,782 the previous year. (Cadillac’s percentage increase in sales was greater than that of Lexus.)

        Research sites have shown that Buicks are most often cross-shopped with Fords and Toyotas, not Lexuses.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Buicks, such as the LaCrosse and Enclave, are increasingly shopped against the ES and RX.

          And Cadillac’s recent increase in sales is due to the launch of new models such as the XTS, ATS and the new midsized CTS.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            I can believe that the Enclave is cross-shopped against the Lexus RX, but have a tough time believing that the Lacrosse is a real competitor to the Lexus ES (especially given the age of the current Lacrosse).

            And how much of Buick’s sales increase is being driven by the Verano and Encore, both of which are not luxury vehicles?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m glad you brought this up, what defines a “luxury” vechicle at this point when so many “luxury” branded models run somewhere in the spectrum between rebadge and platform share?

            So in your example people might cross shop Enclave and Lex RX, when in fact Lambda is available in similar form from Chevrolet while RX is (or at least recently was) a clever platform share of Camry. In the case of RX, you could get a similar Toyota equivalent (Highlander) but at least in the looks department they don’t resemble each other. GM’s Lambdas don’t hide their resemblance to each other nearly as well. So is either really a “luxury” vehicle and if so what is the criteria?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I might “check yo self before yo wreck yo self” on those figures, the two equivalent 40kish+ Lexus models handily outsold the two Cadillac models.

        XTS: 23,722
        CTS: 24,410
        ———–
        48132

        ES: 52,076
        GS: 13,024
        ———–
        65100

        CTS, XTS, ES:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/cains-segments-small-luxury-sedans/

        Lex GS:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/cains-segments-midsize-luxury-vehicles/

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Except the ES doesn’t compete against the new CTS or the XTS (which is one whole price segment up).

          The ES is a mid-large FWD sedan that competes against the RWD compact entry-level sedans on price (same goes for the MKZ and TL); the ES starts at $36.6k which is close to the starting price of the ATS ($33.1k for a 4-banger; the V6 ATS starts at $41.1k – higher than the ES).

          The new CTS and the XTS start around $44-45k which is the RWD midsize pricepoint.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure what your thinking was (price only I suppose), but ES does compete with XTS. FWD V6 to FWD V6, in no way do serious ES buyers think “wait, maybe BMW or RWD Cadillac for me instead”. I’ve also never known an ES buyer to pay MSRP, its always more be it options or warranties. I can tell you Cadillac is putting out many base ATS sales because I see them on the block.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            He doesn’t have much thinking except anti-Japanese pro-Hyundai/Kia/Cadillac.

            I mean come on, Honda gets smashed every year on their sales of cars in the $100k – $180k range. What’s their problem!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I see that “bd2″, acting president of the Hyundai Man Love-Toyota Hate Disinformation Association has made his expected appearance.

      I realize that as the hater of all things Toyota that he is inclined to fixate on Lexus. But what is relevant here is comparing global Cadillac sales with global result for BMW, Audi and Mercedes. And even he should know that Cadillac is nowhere close to the Holy Trinity of luxury cars. Cadillac needs to play that circle if it is to justify all of the money that is being spent on the Cadillac revival effort.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Thought JB was going to talk about the long-rumored Mustang platform based Lincoln compact sports sedan and maybe even a midsized RWD sedan on a stretched version of the platform.

    Those 2 things would be enough to give Lincoln some credibility without having to invest billions in a new flagship platform (Lincoln would be like Lexus in having a mix of RWD and FWD-based sedans).

    A large-ish Fusion coupe? Eh, the Accord coupe is the last hold-out in that segment and can’t see a Fusion coupe having a material impact, much less being a serious competitor to what Cadillac will have to offer.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I just test-drove both the ELR and the Fusion Energi (for those confused about why I’m cross-shopping an $80k car with a $35k car, I’m a Californian trying to get an HOV-lane sticker car). A coupe version of the Fusion sounds perfectly nice. The ELR is not a bad car, but it’s handling dynamics were no better than the Fusion, and it seemed to be down on power in several situations. It’s also frustrating that the ELR has essentially the same interior as the ATS, which is $35k cheaper.

    The real kicker here is the dealer experience: The Cadillac dealer has been a comedy of errors and steadfastly refuses to send me a simple email with their best sale price and lease offer. The Ford dealer has bent over backward to accomodate me every step of the way, and was happy to email me .pdfs of Monroney stickers and local inventory.

    Ultimately I’m having trouble wrapping my head around paying $35k for a Ford of any flavor – I’m of the generation that’s biased toward foreign cars and am surprised to find myself considering anything American that’s not a truck. But I acknowledge that’s irrational – the Titanium-trim cars seem to have BMW-level interiors and refinement, at a slight discount to a low-spec 3-series. The ELR, by contrast, is just laughably expensive for the technology and performance you get.


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