The Truth About Cars » lincoln motor company http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 16:58:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » lincoln motor company http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 2014 Beijing Auto Show:Lincoln Debuts New MKX Concept Outside U.S., Annouces Chinese Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2014-beijing-auto-showlincoln-debuts-new-mkx-concept-outside-u-s-annouces-chinese-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/2014-beijing-auto-showlincoln-debuts-new-mkx-concept-outside-u-s-annouces-chinese-dealers/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=805426 PH-420009998 (1)

As part of the launch of its luxury brand in China, the first step in its strategy of making Lincoln into a global brand, Ford Motor Company used AutoChina 2014, aka the Beijing auto show, to debut the next version of Lincoln’s MKX midsize crossover. The reveal of the MKX Concept is the first time that Lincoln has ever introduced a new vehicle outside of the United States, and focus groups in both the United States and China were consulted in the crossover’s design. The new MKX will likely go on sale in both countries sometime in the first part of 2015.

Matt VanDyke, who is in charge of Lincoln’s international effort, stressed China’s important role to Lincoln in remarks to  Automotive News:

“Lincoln in China has our full attention in product development. “We’re not developing products for the U.S. and seeing if they work there. We are developing out of our global design studio products that we clinic and research in Huangzhou and Beijing and Shanghai and Pasadena, not the other way around.”

 

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At the same time that Lincoln was introducing the new MKX, the company announced its retail and initial product plans for the Chinese market. This fall eight dealerships in seven cities will be the first wave of what the brand plans to be 60 stores in 50 cities by the end of 2016. To start out with, just two Lincoln models will be offered, the midsize MKZ sedan, and the new MKC compact crossover. Both of those vehicles will be exported from Ford’s North American operations. The recently restyled Lincoln Navigator SUV will join them, along with the new MKX, next year.

While those first eight dealerships are being prepared to coincide with the auto show and introduce the brand to Chinese consumers, Lincoln set up a display called The Lincoln Space in an area of central Beijing that is filled with pedestrians. Lincoln hopes to have an addition dozen stores set up by the end of this year. The first dealers will open in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Huangzhou and Chengdu. A high level of service is intended to distinguish Lincoln dealers from other luxury brands. Service bays will have multiple cameras so customers can monitor work being done on their cars.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Lincoln to Consider “Legacy” Names Due to Chinese Influence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/lincoln-to-consider-legacy-names-due-to-chinese-influence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/lincoln-to-consider-legacy-names-due-to-chinese-influence/#comments Fri, 29 Nov 2013 16:04:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=666594 2014 Lincoln MKS

Remember when Lincoln had cars with names such as Mark, Continental, Zephyr, Town Car and Versailles? Alas, unless you want to own a body-on-frame SUV from the newly renamed Lincoln Motor Company, your choices begin with MK, and end with a letter that somehow corresponds to the model in question.

Should Ford’s VP of Global Marketing Jim Farley have his way, however — and you happen to also be a resident of China — the next Lincoln to be sold may have a real name upon its backside once more.

Why? The Blue Oval plans to reintroduce Lincoln to the Chinese market, who still remembers when many a government official and president turned up in a Continental; this may also explain in part why the lead car in the funeral for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was a Lincoln, if not how it got there in the first place.

Farley believes the concept of non-alphanumeric nomenclatures is worth revisiting, though no current model will receive a proper name for the foreseeable future. Until then, Lincoln’s customer base will continue to need to remember which MK is the right MK for them, unless they want a Navigator, of course.

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Ford Styling Chief: Lincoln “Not True Luxury” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/ford-styling-chief-lincoln-not-true-luxury/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/ford-styling-chief-lincoln-not-true-luxury/#comments Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:57:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=501489 J Mays at 2012 NAIAS

In remarks with the Detroit News’ Karl Henkel, J Mays, Ford’s chief stylist and a senior vice president of the automaker, acknowledged that the Dearborn automaker’s Lincoln brand has lost cachet as a luxury brand and that it will take years to turn the brand around.

“No, we’re not true luxury. We’re in an investment stage with Lincoln. We’ve probably got a 10-year investment to make.”

Analysts echoed Mays’ remarks. Michelle Krebs at Edmunds called Lincoln “a wanna-be luxury brand”. Jim Hall, of 2953 Analytics put Lincoln’s situation in the context of how the concept of luxury has changed. “Most luxury brands today aren’t luxury brands,” Hall said. “They’ve become luxury-branded products. Many are thinking of luxury as a series of checklists, but the traditional definition of luxury has a degree of exclusivity.”

Since just about every “luxury” feature, like leather seats and high end infotainment systems, can be ordered on mass-market vehicles, Hall said that selling “luxury” cars has become a bit like selling smartphones. “There’s nothing you can do to a smartphone to make it luxurious except glitz it up, but that’s styling and branding, not luxury.”

Hall said that with every manufacturer offering effectively the same features on cars in every segment, it has become harder for premium brands to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Mays concurred and said that Lincoln has a “whole list of things” that will make them stand out in the crowded luxury market. “Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, ‘That’s that particular brand,’” May said. He indicated that the new MKZ’s upgraded interior gives some idea of the direction that Lincoln will take.

With a new name, Lincoln Motor Co., and new product (the MKZ is the first of four new vehicles that Lincoln will be introducing in the near future) Ford is trying to reinvent the company founded by Henry Leland after he left Cadillac, which he also started from the assets of Henry Ford’s failed second car company. While Lincoln is targeting younger affluent buyers and having some success on the west coast, it is from the far east that Lincoln hope to significantly grow its brand. The company is preparing to launch Lincoln in China next year.

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Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Watch This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/abandon-all-hope-ye-who-watch-this/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/abandon-all-hope-ye-who-watch-this/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 12:21:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=476014 Click here to view the embedded video.

I’ll admit it: when I wrote my anguished screed regarding the ridiculous curated-Tweet Lincoln “Motor Company” advertisement-in-progress, I sincerely hoped that I would be wrong. I secretly thought: hey, there are some smart people involved, and “crowdsourcing” might produce the work of Shakespeare as easily as an infinite number of monkeys on typewriters.

Boy, was I wrong.

There’s no sense in beating-up the ad. It’s terrible and surely nobody thought it was otherwise at any point in the process. The “curated Tweets” are inane. The resulting story is less funny than a session of “Mad Libs” where you fill every blank with “cervix crusher”. There’s nothing positive to say about it. This is what happens when a stupid idea is dragged kicking and screaming to its pitiful conclusion.

Something tells me the “Lincoln Motor Company” is coming out of the gate with three broken legs.

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An Open Letter To Jim Farley, Mark Fields, And Everyone Else Re: Lincoln http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/an-open-letter-to-jim-farley-mark-fields-and-everyone-else-re-lincoln/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/an-open-letter-to-jim-farley-mark-fields-and-everyone-else-re-lincoln/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=469158

What’s up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But none of it will work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Jack Baruth
Lincoln Owner

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Lincoln Announces Name Change, Nobody Cares http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/lincoln-announces-name-change-nobody-cares/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/lincoln-announces-name-change-nobody-cares/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 16:55:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=468974 Click here to view the embedded video.

The big auto news on Twitter this morning – Lincoln is now known as “Lincoln Motor Company”, and they’ll be rolling out the name change with a brand new Superbowl ad. That’s great, but where’s the product?

As it stands now, Lincoln’s product lineup is in shambles. The new MKZ may be stunning and beautifully appointed, but the existence of the Ford Fusion makes the car irrelevant, and the $50,000 pricetag for well equipped models is an absolute farce given the strength of every other competitor in the segment. The same can be said for…just about every other vehicle in the brand’s lineup, where the Ford equivalent is equally appealing and far cheaper. Even the Navigator, which at one time had some real street cred, fail to launch, and allowed the Cadillac Escalade to become the déclassé luxury vehicle of choice.

Legions of people with much more experience and wisdom have written about Lincoln’s pitfalls and how the brand can save itself from oblivion, so I’ll steer clear of those prognostications. But it doesn’t take a genius to see that this whole retro theme (which Lincoln has been playing up heavily at auto shows with displays of classic vehicles) is a non-starter. Nobody outside of Ford is going to use the name “Lincoln Motor Company” and the retro theme clashes directly with the tech-heavy, futuristic-looking product lineup being offered. As it stands now, Lincoln is best known for 1) the Town Cars that pick people up from the airport and 2) the 1963 Continental that Johnny Drama drove on Entourage. There’s going to be a long and arduous road ahead for Lincoln if they want to make any kind of headway – and a name change should be the last thing on their radar.

But that’s not all. Automotive News is reporting that Lincoln is showing their desperation by announcing an initative to “crowdsource” their Superbowl ads, with talk show host Jimmy Fallon acting as “curator”. When car companies start hiring barely relevant B-List celebrities and throw around buzzwords like “curate”, it may as well be a death rattle.

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