By on September 11, 2006

sonic_cruiser_1222.jpgThirty-five million dollars, the keys to the corporate jet and a Detroit McMansion is a pretty good compensation package for any aspiring executive. Obviously, if freshly-minted Ford CEO Alan Mulally reverses The Blue Oval’s declining fortunes, it will be shareholder money well spent. If, however, Mulally turns out to be too little CEO too late, his paycheck and parachute will mark the final chapter in a sad story of Ford family interference and/or mismanagement. So what say you Billy Ford? The “biggest problem facing Ford today is a lack of confidence.”

On the face of it, hiring an aerospace engineer to run a car company isn’t exactly what you’d call confidence inspiring. The auto industry in general, and Ford in specific, has a history of betting on outsiders– and losing. Robert McNamara’s tenure at Ford is only one example where “the smartest guy in the room” was hoisted by his own retard. Mulally supporters point to Sergio Marchionne, the Canadian lawyer who runs FIAT, and Jean-Martin Folz, a French businessman helming Peugeot. These are not, as yet, success stories. Mulally’s challenges are at least as daunting, even without considering Billy Ford’s refusal to surrender power to his well-paid minion CEO.

When Mulally stepped up to the microphone on Wednesday, he emphasized efforts to crank up the heat on new cars and to concentrate on fuel efficient vehicles to “complement the position Ford has with trucks." In the meantime, someone’s calling the shots, and they’re coming quick. The Detroit News reports that FoMoCo will attempt to bribe more than four thousand white collar workers and at least twice as many UAW members to leave the company's employ. Clearly, Billy's boys are downsizing as fast as they can.

And more cuts are coming. Roughly 25% of the 82k United Auto Workers (UAW) members will be jettisoned, whether through more plant idling, shuttering or buyouts. At that rate, Union locals stand to lose about $4.9m a month in lost dues contributions. That’s a big whack, but the union isn’t likely to stop the rats from leaving the sinking ship. They may even believe that letting their people go is in their remaining members’– and Ford’s– best interest.

At the same time, it’s no longer a question of “if” Ford will cut loose brands from its Premium Automotive Group, but which ones for how much. Wall Street Whiz Kid Kenneth Leet is looking to pimp Aston, Jaguar and Land Rover. Ford values Aston at $2b; industry experts peg it at $750m. Jaguar is virtually worthless, but a sale would make it someone else’s problem. Thanks to the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover is back from the brink– and priced to go, for another couple of billion or so.

Will it be enough?  Should it be enough? Despite Ford’s platform perfidy of its Japanese subsidiary, Maryann Keller reckons Mazda may be the next brand to be cut adrift. In fact, the straight-talking auto industry analyst believes Volvo and Ford are The Blue Oval’s only viable brands. Her comments suggest the long-anticipated shuttering of Mercury, and the termination of once-proud Lincoln, a luxury brand without a V8, profits or a strong, independent identity.

Ford needs the cash; Mulally’s new control tower is losing Dreamliner loads of the stuff. August SUV and truck sales fell a further 20.8% compared to last year, and the fourth quarter won’t get much better. While production cuts ensure that there’ll be less “new” metal to move, the pileup won’t deplete. There are already enough F-150’s to keep 3000 customers a day busy until the end of 2006 (and in debt until 2012).

Mulally and his generous employer need market share, and they need it fast. Mulally-inspired metal won’t appear until the 61-year-old CEO is eligible for retirement. Meanwhile, the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX (Em-Kay-Ex) are FoMoCo’s Obi wan Kenobi. Early buzz indicates that the 150K units (slated for annual production in Ford’s Oakville plant) won’t be left longing for custody. But even if sales are double, the crossover’s profit margins are still small SUV’s. Add to that the upcoming loss of FoMoCo’s dismal minvan(s) and the importance of the cross border crossover becomes alarmingly apparent.

The arrival of Alan Mulally marks the fourth time in four years that the Blue Oval has made Bold Moves at the top. Will anything change? Not for some time.  Ford is still struggling to move the metal; the new product cycle is still vapid; the union straightjacket (though roomier) is still on. And despite invitations to bow out gracefully, and the pressing need to jettison brands, Ford’s bloated dealer network will remain desperately obese for many moons to come. The only difference is that shareholders have someone new from which to seek answers– or blame.

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46 Comments on “Ford Death Watch 6: Is Alan Mulally Billy Ford’s Human Shield?...”


  • avatar
    usa1

    Every Ford and GM article is prefaced with “Death Watch”. Catchy and all, but you can’t say you are objective with titles like that.

  • avatar
    kasumi

    I imagine it would be extremely difficult to seperate Mazda from Ford. That said, perhaps just Ford/Volvo is the way to go. Volvo could serve as the luxury division to replace Lincoln/Jaguar. Volvo already has a strong brand identity- safety and reliability. Without all the extra brands Ford could focus exclusively on a simple car/truck lineup to easily compete against Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus.

    Changes have to be made across the board. But, when are they going to make them?

    K.

  • avatar
    a_d_y_a

    # usa1:
    September 11th, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    Every Ford and GM article is prefaced with “Death Watch”. Catchy and all, but you can’t say you are objective with titles like that.

    You must be new here

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    I fail to understand the negative impact of a “bloated dealer network” on Ford or anyone else. The amount of dealers has no impact of production number projections. Dealers are independent businesses; if they fail selling the vehicles… they go out of business just like anything else.

    I think it’s an advantage to choose between several dealerships instead having only having only 1 choice within a reasonable driving distance. (Manufactures with limited dealer network).

  • avatar
    SaturnV

    I’m not sure I see Mazda being cut loose, given that they’re doing fairly well of late. Since Ford is at least saying they’re focusing on cars, I think it’d make sense to keep Mazda around. I can see selling the British segment (perhaps as a package?), as it’s going to take work (read: money) to bring Jaguar back into competitive form.
    -S5

  • avatar
    qfrog

    ford fusion is a mazda 6
    ford 500 is a volvo S60
    volvo S/V40 is a mazda 3

    I can see ford chopping off the Brit brands but the mazda/volvo/ford love triangle is a bit too tightly entangled to be separated right now.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    I didn’t think GM would dump Subaru, but they did.

    Although Subi engineering wasn’t an integral part of 50% of GM cars.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    I fail to understand the negative impact of a “bloated dealer network” on Ford or anyone else.

    How about:
    – lower margins due to price competition between closely located dealerships
    – lower level of service and cheaper infrastructure due to lower margins
    – high-volume dealerships (i.e. Toyota) can pay staff higher wages, resulting in staff retention problems
    – dealer clout results in vehicles such as the me-too Pontiac G5
    – dealer clout resulted in GM having to pay $1 billion and counting to shut down Oldsmobile

  • avatar
    western_nyer

    Although dramatic, ‘Deathwatch’ headings/predictions will be accurate for probably both, but definately one of the Ford/GM duo.

    I think the tipping point will be UAW reasonableness. With GM, the Delphi situation may start a death spiral. Although for Ford, the reaper may be sales early next year.

    For both, the ’07 contract talks will be game, set and match. Maybe sane heads will previal – the Pay-For-No-Work — ERRRRR Jobs Bank will go, pensions will be trimmed, workrules liberalized, pay and benefits reduced.

    But I wouldn’t wager 5% of my 401K on either companies’ stock. For UAW workers left after buyouts/retirements/layoffs, it may be in their best interests to force a bankrupcy. Throwing stockholders, pensioners and their pension (that they’re NEVER going to see) under a bus may allow a solvent firm to emerge that can make payroll.

    Note the airline industry as an example. For years, it was brutally expensive (2-3 times CURRENT prices) to fly anywhere from a mid size city like Buffalo. The reason: Horrific and hidden inefficiency – like mandating $30/hour mechanics to park an aircraft. This was in an industry where foreign competition was- and still is – BARRED by law.

    Then came air Toyota – namely Southwest (and its clones). Add to the mix internet pricing (tavel agents’ kickback schemes from the airlines have been replace by HTML) and 9/11 – and the recipe for making profit has changed. Many airline unions ignored the threat until bankrupcy. I suspect the same will happen to the domestic auto biz.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    starlightmica:

    I work in a field closely related to dealers on a corporate level and I’m going to have to disagree with you.

    Cars are sold to the dealer at a fixed invoice price. What the dealer sells it for is none of Fords concern.

    All overhead, staff wages are of no concern to Ford, it’s a private business.

    More dealers equals more competition, this is a GOOD thing if you are a consumer all around.

    Dealers have no input on vehicle level decisions.

    Oldsmobile cost GM 1 billion to buy out the contract with Oldsmobile Dealers. Reducing dealers is entirely different than eliminating a division.

  • avatar
    rjsasko

    Ford putting Jaguar, Range Rover, and Aston Martin up for sale makes perfect sense. Shutting down Mercury makes good sense too. That way they can double up resources at Lincoln without having to close all of the Lincoln+Mercury dealers. In the medium and long term everyone is happy. Quite a bit of the New Lincoln can still be dolled-up reskinned Fords or whatever they have access to platform-wise. Pure profit for Ford. They may have to jettison Volvo just to raise cash. I would hope they hold onto Mazda because they sure need a presence in entry level/mid-grade price points.

    If Ford’s financial situation is this bad it sure looks like Billy Ford is making Mulally the bad guy who has to drop the ax while Billy runs around not getting his own hands dirty. What a weasel.

  • avatar
    Mike

    It really is a shame what is and has happened to Ford (and GM). I just hope Mazda can survive on its own.

  • avatar
    maxo

    I would say the actual selling price of cars is a factor in determining invoice price.

    Yes, having dealer competition is a good thing for us consumers, but not for Ford/GM who are trying to stop their bargain image death spiral. And how did you come to say dealers have no input on vehicle level decisions??? starlightmica preemptively shot down your unsupported statement by pointing to the G5.
    And let's not forget the Montana type minivans or any other horrid badge engineering failures that were made to appease dealers. 

  • avatar
    CliffG

    The hiring of an airplane salesman does mystify me, after all Boeing has had arguably 4 major airplane designs over the last 50 years, and one those, the SST, was directly responsible for the single most famous billboard in American history. Now he enters an industry in which a 5 year product cycle is too long and customers are numbered in millions rather than the low 2 digits. The unions are not essentially company owned (unlike Boeing), there are quite a few more competitors than merely one, and government largesse (at least at the national level) is non-existent. In airplanes if you want to seat 300 on a 220 seat airplane, you make the aisles smaller and reduce legspace. Ooh, ooh, an 8 passenger Fusion on the same frame! That outa get the customers in the front door. You see, airplane manufacturers really don’t sell to the final customer. To a certain extent Ford doesn’t either, but the nexus is one hell of lot closer. Perot thought this stuff was easy, it really isn’t.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    You all are confusing dealer network size with parent company internal division competition.

  • avatar

    Here’s a thought: Ditch Jag and Land Rover in a fire sale to some other willing sucker(s). Kill Mercury, and kill the number of nameplates dramatically. Position Ford as the entry level/”working man’s” vehicle line. You’ll need a Yaris clone, an economical 4-door, and the SUVs/trucks. The only fly in the ointment there is the Mustang. It becomes the signature car.

    Lincoln is the up-sell from Ford. They build one really great 4-door luxury sedan, and one, mid-size SUV. That’s it.

    Volvo gets to keep a 4-door, a wagon, and that’s about it. It’s focus is “safety” and “reliability.”

    Mazada becomes the brand for performance – small, fast, performance cars – keep a 2-seater, a 2-door, 4-door, and one SUV. No more.

    If Ford could focus their brands like that, they might – MIGHT – survive. But until they can cull their dealer network (and the dealer’s power to get Ford to make dumb decisions with line extensions and badge engineering) nothing they do with the unions and layoffs will help. Focus should be more than just the name of one lame vehicle…it should replace “Bold Moves” as the slogan of Ford.

  • avatar
    gearhead455

    Ford is in a better position to define division lines. GM is somewhat confusing.

    Ford – Base
    Merc – Mid
    Lincoln – Premium

    Eliminating a brand would be too costly now. (EX – GM’s Oldsmobile)

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    As someone who had an inside view of a small dealership, the above comments are off the mark. Yes all dealers pay the same for the cars however the sameness stops their. Your real cost as a dealer is the amount of overhead you have to put against each sale. Advertising, labor, store and shop, etc. A Japanese dealer with say 100 new sales per month has bigger overhead than a small domestic brand dealer but his ability to spread the costs over 100 sales puts his overhead lower. An average buick dealer sells eight a month, fords I think more but not enought more to get to a comfortable number. So the big dealer can out advertise, out location, out service, the little dealer and still make a profit from whats left. A toyota or honda dealer have another weapon, their used trades are of a much higher and more desirable item than domestic trades. The Japanese dealer now has an even more profitable used department. The Japanese brands were wise to limit stores, as the few lost sales are more than made up by having financially strong dealers in their network.

  • avatar
    James2

    You can’t cut your way to prosperity.

    Selling/killing X, Y or Z may help in the short term, but the only way for the Blue Oval to survive (and thrive) long term is to sell more cars.

    To sell more cars you need to convince buyers that they should buy your cars — without needing to bribe them.

    So, in the end, it boils down to Product, Product, Product.

    Just a few short years ago Ford was profitable, even when Jaguar, Land Rover, et al. was still sucking royally. This was because the company was swimming in all the money raked in by the F-150 and Explorer.

    Now, this is not the case (personally, the sooner all SUVs die the better), so Ford needs to make money selling damn good cars.

    It’s not a matter of engineering; it’s a matter of WANTING to build the best damn product. This is where Ford is sadly lacking, especially in North America. In Europe and Australia Ford has some very good cars… cars that should be offered in our market. Why this isn’t the case is a Good Question, one that Alan Mulally should ask his executives. Mr. Mulally should also ask why former best-sellers like the Taurus and Ranger were left to die on the vine.

    Rather than kill Mercury why not follow the Saturn experiment (badge-engineer European Fords). Ford should remember that it is a global car company, one with loads of resources found in places other than Michigan.

    Ford also needs to remember its Aston Martin experience: it found the right person (Ulrich Bez) who had the vision and expertise (ex-Porsche) and he was given 1) resources and, more vitally, 2) autonomy. Look at Aston now: selling 5000 very expensive cars a year, when at one time they were happy to sell 5 a year.

    Bottom line: you don’t need to sell or kill anything, but you do need to nurture in order to thrive.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    I agree mostly with C&D’s “How to save Ford” article from a few months back:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/11036/features-review-2006-ford-falcon-fpv-gt-boss-290-falcon-xr6-turbo-focus-st-and-territory-ghia-awd.html

    More or less it recommended brining over all the nice cars that they don’t sell here, C3 Focus, Aussie RW drivers, etc.

    I would say though don’t badge them Fords but Mercury’s and Lincolns. The C3 focus with a Mercury badge could be positioned as a MINI-fighter, the ‘Utes would be unique in the marketplace (would there be fight if it was the Mercury Ranchero?), and the platform could be luxed up for MKZ, and LS replacements. Leave Ford to Mustangs, trucks, and a few bread and butter FWD cars.

  • avatar
    Studedude1961

    Ford has been threatening to eliminate Mercury since the early 1960s when Ford abandoned a separate Mercury platform and it became a upscale Ford once again (1961). Lincoln is threatened with extinction at least once every decade, again since the early 1960s. What’s a Jaguar? Mazda seems to be the bright spot in an otherwise aging, dismal picture. Mazda appeals to the kids, and the kids are the one’s who will be buying the cars of the future. The “number cars” at Lincoln…SST…PPI…what?….are utterly forgetable. So while “restructuring” how about something like this for Ford: (1) Falcon compact (2) 500 for the family bread and butter car with “Galaxie” tacked on just for fun. (3) Leave the Mustang alone…it alone makes money. An upscale 500, called…oh I don’t know, LTD Brougham, could service police departments and old folks. Next would be the Lincoln Continental, in 4 door guise along with a sexy HARDTOP (can be done!). Ford could make trucks and maybe one SUV to use up tooling. Mercury….died when Ford introduced the Monterey a few years ago and folks got excited, went to the car show, and found out it was just another lousy minivan. This entire move toward “retro-survivability” would once again turn Ford into an automaker who makes product people remember. The number cars, dumpy Tauruses and bloated minivans haven’t worked. And get rid of Bill Ford. Shareholders should not care that his name is on the building.

  • avatar
    rtz

    I can’t believe Ford blew 35 mil on that guy. They should have made him start for free and get paid when he turns the company around and it starts making money.

    “And more cuts are coming.”

    Are the cuts going to make them the top automaker?

    “Will it be enough?”

    If I gave Ford 100 billion; it would only delay and prolong what’s going to happen. Letting people go and selling off brands won’t make competitive, compelling vehicles.

    When was this company’s glory years? The 1950’s and 60’s? It seems like at least three things happened in the 70’s. The oil/energy crises. The emissions/safety requirements, coupled with attempting to get better mileage. The imports started arriving. Leaded gas went away and that brought down the octane rating of fuel. Hence, low compression engines coupled with new pellet style catalytic converters(no flow).

    That new Edge is pricey. At that price, it should have been offered as a hybrid only model. So what about AWD, V6, 6 speed, low 200 range hp/tq, 17’s, and a 4000+ lb curb weight. At that weight and price, you’d think it was a hybrid! What do you guess the profit is on that vehicle? 10 or 15 thousand? Boeing made several million profit on each jet… so don’t think they only make ~$100 profit per item…

  • avatar
    JimHinCO

    I noticed that the Truth About Cars Mission statement says the following: “Mission
    The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news.”

    Might we get back to some of the unbiased reviews and news…PLEASE!

  • avatar
    msowersone

    The distribution network is like a chain. Ford and many of the Ford dealers are weak links. Ford must fix itself and pair down the dealers so the one remaining are proifable and represent the “new Ford” brand if they can ever get it done. Look at the sales per dealer at Toyota compared to Ford and profitability.

    Gearhead455 doen’t get it, probably a Ford employee with that kind of thinking

  • avatar

    Mercury (although it should die) should get an extended wheel-base Mustang variant with a more posh interior. Would be a Sebring/Solara killer.

    Lincoln needs a bad-ass Continental that shows-up the 300 on sophisticated American style. Just think about that sweet ride from the Entourage intro.

    Ford needs make a car like the Iosis now. Simply producing me-too Accord and Camry rips has never been enough, and a sexy shape like this would redefine the market. Think trend-setter, not follower. Retro was fun, but it is time to move ahead.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Sell Mazda? You ,ust be kidding. Mazda actually makes cars people want and returns a profit. I’d like to see Mazda go it’s own way but I’m not sure that is an option.

  • avatar
    jacob

    Of course, they can fetch good money for Mazda, but selling it off would be kind of stupid. Mazda a very car focused company that produced some good designs recently like Mazda3 or Mazda6, which not only made good money for them but also provided platforms for Ford to build its cars on. Ford also borrowed Mazda’s 4-cylinder engine while Mazda is using Ford’s 6-cylinder Duratec. If Ford was smart, they’d designate Mazda as their car platform design devision, like GM is doing with Opel which is in chage of all Epsilon-X platforms for that group.

  • avatar
    tms1999

    “I fail to understand the negative impact of a “bloated dealer network” on Ford or anyone else.”

    Too much competition with each other will make them rabid. If you can’t have the sales volume you need to sustain your operations, corners will be cut and consumers will suffer. Warrantiy work will be denied. Sales people will steal the keys to your trade-in, keep you in for hours and yell at you untils you agree to buy the car.

    Even if dealers are independant businesses, they sport the brand’s colors and logo prominantly. If my Ford dealership is a scumbag, Ford is scumbag. (just an example, I have no experience with Ford dealership)

    Also, a huge network of starved dealers has more clout to the manufacturers. They’ll pressure for price reductions, kickback and other intervention that will eat up the manufacturer’s profit. This is not working in a vacuum, it’s a balancing effort.

    Finally, given the (terribly) long pipeline associated with car (and new model) production, one new CEO now won’t have any real effect for another 5 years. Quick turnaround it won’t be. Painful it will.

  • avatar
    bmilner

    I find it marginally giggle-inducing that many of you malign Mulally as the selection to lead Ford claiming he’s totally unqualified. Some of you are the same people claiming you could run Ford so much better yourself! He’s got to be at least as qualified as some of you more opinionated commentors…ha.

  • avatar
    Steven T.

    I have great respect for Maryann Keller, but I can’t understand why it would be in Ford’s best interest to offload Mazda unless that was necessary to raise operating capital. Not only has Mazda played an important role in Ford’s product development, but the brand has light years more credibility with “import intenders” than any of Ford’s American brands.

    Selling off PAG assets would seem to be a lot easier than eliminating either Lincoln or Mercury — and particularly both. Look at how expensive it was for GM to discontinue Oldsmobile. It might make more sense to prune back L-M’s offerings and merge its dealer network with that of the Ford brand’s and/or the American arm of whatever is left of the company’s foreign portfolio.

    Lincoln doesn’t need to be a full-line luxury brand. The 1961-65 Continental provides a useful template: Sales actually grew once Lincoln focused on a strikingly narrow line of cars. The same might be tried with Mercury. Even if combined L-M sales never reach beyond 200,000 per year, if they offered iconic designs on par with the Mustang that could be a cost-effective investment in brand equity.

    As for Mulally bashing, the simple truth is that we don’t know yet whether he will be any good. Sure, his compensation package is rather vulgar, but might it be plausibly worth it if the guy actually manages to pull Ford out of the fire?

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    From what I gathered from an article in the August first edition of the Wall Street Journal, Jaguar would be a hard sell indeed. Might it benefit Ford to simply sell it to a Chinese concern, albeit at a loss; so such a concern could do with it, what it will, much like Najing Automobile’s decision to build MGs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (I am NOT making this up!)
    I asked a Volvo service technician (and muscle car aficianado) what he thought of all this Ford news. He said he didn’t think Ford would make it. And when I mentioned Volvo being spun off, he told me that he felt that the XC-90 just wasn’t cutting it – the weak link being that DOHC V8 producing about 300 HP. (He believes anything less than 400 HP is weak.)
    Having once owned a late model Pointiac Firebird, he told me that the new Shelby Mustang “didn’t look enough like a Shelby. When you saw a original 500KR, you knew it was a Shelby.” Maybe someone could spend a little more time on the scoops and body panels, get that stance right?
    Of course, now that Ford has that S80 platform that Jacques Nasser paid $33 billion for, maybe they could pare things down to that and the S40-Focus-Mazda 3 platform. Being a long-time Volvo buff, my belief – unlike my technician friend – is Volvo is the strongest part of the so-called Premiere Group. But then again, I could be wrong.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    “As for Mulally bashing, the simple truth is that we don’t know yet whether he will be any good. Sure, his compensation package is rather vulgar, but might it be plausibly worth it if the guy actually manages to pull Ford out of the fire?” – Steven T.

    He may well be worth it, we just don’t know, yet.

    As to the vulgar compensation, let’s say you were a highly placed exec at Boeing, with an excellent record and likely to be courted for the top spot at any number of companies with actual earnings. Would you go to the train wreck that we know and love as Ford Motor Company for less than $35 million?

    PS: Steven T.: “vulgar,” nicely put, thanks.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I have to disagree with the idea that you can’t cut your way to prosperity. Sure the only way to bring in revenue is to build products people want to buy. But, Ford and GM are currently sized to compete in a much less competetive market where people buy SUV’s and trucks in droves and have faith in their products. Unless they immediately revamp their entire truck and suv lines to get 30mpg, the only way they can return to profitability is through downsizing. They simply can’t sustain their current size while they wait for the next big hit vehicle. And, even if they had a vehicle that was a total blockbuster, how many could they expect to sell and with what profit margin relative to the Explorers or F-150’s of yore? It is clear to me that Mulally’s mission is to deal with the unions and make the necessary cuts happen.

  • avatar
    Dave Ruddell

    Thinking about killing off an unecessary brand, does anyone know how successful ditching Plymouth was for DCX? Did it actually help with profitability (or at least cause fewere losses)?

  • avatar
    o_fizzle

    I also feel that Ford should drop Lincoln. Lincoln’s brand image as a luxury marque has been tainted in recent years and it’s just going to take too much work and resources to bring it back into the scene. As it is, people don’t equate Lincoln with Lexus, Acura, Cadillac, etc… It would just be easier and smarter to drop it. Volvo, on the other hand, is already perceived as a luxury brand. Therefore, Ford should drop Lincoln and further develop Volvo as a luxury brand.

  • avatar
    o_fizzle

    Anyone know if the new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX are based on the Mazda CX-7 platform?

  • avatar
    Kevin

    was hoisted by his own retard.

    That, my friend, is brilliant writing on many levels!
    We’re not worthy!

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Is there anyone out there under 40 who views LINCOLN as a viable luxury alternative to Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes etc?

    Admittedly it’s just my personal bias, but I suspect it’s a widely held bias by everyone under about 45: Lincoln is something that was cool back in olden times, and that maybe an 80 year old might buy today. But I sure as heck wouldn’t consider one. It’s not going to impress the chicks, or business clients, or anyone else. No offense, correct me if I’m over generalizing.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Edge and MKX are based on the CD3 platform, along with Fusion/Milan/MKZ.

    Mazda claims the CX-7 is not CD3 based, rather a combination of the C1 (Mazda5) and Asia-only 3rd gen Mazda8/MPV.

  • avatar
    o_fizzle

    Admittedly it’s just my personal bias, but I suspect it’s a widely held bias by everyone under about 45: Lincoln is something that was cool back in olden times, and that maybe an 80 year old might buy today.

    Kevin, well put. Trust me, it’s not just your bias.

  • avatar
    Hoosier Red

    “Is there anyone out there under 40 who views LINCOLN as a viable luxury alternative to Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes etc?”

    I don’t know…..probably true. I’m 36 and I’d drive a Lincoln if there was one to consider. However, a Lincoln should be a car that says you’ve arrived. The MKZ? That’s an entry level Lincoln at best. That’s definitely not a franchise car. I pay more attention to cars than the average guy on the street, and I honestly can’t think of any other Lincoln cars without going to the website. I can’t believe someone allowed the LS to stagnate. That was a credible starting effort toward something that could have been the flagship. I’m not into the whole Navigator/Escalade thing. That actually turns me off from those brands. I drive a Vette, but I would like the opportunity to drive a powerful, domestic sedan for hauling the family. I suppose the STS comes closest to what I’d consider. Lincoln? So sadly adrift.

  • avatar

    Kevin: Is there anyone out there under 40 who views LINCOLN as a viable luxury alternative to Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes etc?

    Admittedly it’s just my personal bias, but I suspect it’s a widely held bias by everyone under about 45: Lincoln is something that was cool back in olden times, and that maybe an 80 year old might buy today. But I sure as heck wouldn’t consider one. It’s not going to impress the chicks, or business clients, or anyone else. No offense, correct me if I’m over generalizing.

    Kevin,

    try under 60 or 70. (I’m 53.)

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Agreed, Lincoln is currently dead in the water from an image standpoint. Navigator has been long superseded by the ‘Slade in the mindshare department, LS was a sad tale, Town Car looks like history when Wixom closes down, MKZ has subpar IIHS crash tests compared with other entry level luxury cars, MKX is just an Edge clone with little identity of its own and a reportedly lousy back seat cushion, MKS doesn’t look like anything worth choosing over the competition.

    What happened to the stunning Continental concept from a few years ago? lost in the FoMoCo beauracracy, unfortunately. Perhaps Mulally, the Lexus owner, will beat some sense into the ranks.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    MKZ, it’s almost sounds unmelodic like the car, another cutsey little derivate of some platform that’s overused at ford. Is it one more 30K mid size car in a pack of maybe 50. Will it break through and save lincoln, no? Small investment in the car business breeds small results. Let’s see,TheMKZ replaced the Zephyr which replaced I guess the continental. The Zephyr ran for one year, if you bought it, it is now another of the countelss detroit orphans. (Your reward for buying American) If ford thinks that the 20 year old design town car, the zephyr and a ford luxo pickup will keep lincoln alive, look again. Cadillac spent I think 3 billion to take their morose products from the toilet to competativeness. That’s a lot of change, but it bought them a stable full of saleable models. If caddy didn’t do this, they would look exactly like lincoln does now. Lincoln started as an also ran division of ford, and every time they got competative with caddy, they stopped the investment and fell back to mediocrity. However, now you have lexus, bmw, and mercedes plus a revived caddy, they won’t make it against this field of competitors. As a side note, even chrysler, which doesn’t have a luxury brand is stretching the 300C to make it a more modern competitor for the carriage trade which is now a lincoln town car domain.

  • avatar
    rtz

    I have heard from a good source that he will most likely bring his Boeing buddies over to Ford with him. Source also believes this guy will have a good shot at turning Ford around.

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    You should be glad that Boeing isn’t doeing like the 2.5!

    A airplain going down.

    Boeing is fighting back Airbus rather well.

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