David Woodhouse, who took on the role of director of design at Lincoln Motor Company in 2013 before gaining expanded duties in 2017, has resigned his post. No reason was given for his abrupt departure.
Woodhouse’s exit comes after the designer and his team finished work on revamping the brand’s SUV-heavy lineup and crafting a new model to draw the sales Lincoln so desperately craves.
The man who oversaw the development of Lincoln’s current vehicle lineup will retire effective November 1st, the automaker claims. Scott Tobin, a Ford Motor Company veteran who hopped the pond from Europe to the U.S. in 2006, had a hand in developing a wide swath of the company’s current products.
Tobin’s departure comes at an interesting time for Lincoln. The premium brand, having returned from its near-death state in the earlier part of the decade, finds itself in need of volume-boosting new product.
The service doesn’t receive as much press as the new-car subscription services offered by a growing list of premium automakers, but Lincoln’s pilot project did carry many of the same aspirations. It just didn’t carry new cars.
Launched in California earlier this year, Lincoln’s subscription service offers users a range of older, contemporary models — insured, with maintenance covered — for a monthly fee that, depending on where you live, could secure a decent one-bedroom rental apartment. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ford’s luxury division says demand for the service isn’t exactly red hot.
Traditionally, Lincolns served as the poster car for traditional, well-to-do Americans, just not ridiculously wealthy ones. Think successful club owner, business executive, law office partner, Vegas hashish importer, or rare antiques dealer. Regardless of model, the brand’s vehicles never ventured into the rarified pricing air occupied by European exotics — not even the Continental Mk. II, which stickered for the equivalent of $90k back in 1956.
That changes for 2019, as the Lincoln with the biggest margins — the full-size Navigator — joins its Cadillac rival in topping the six-figure mark.
The product pipeline is already in place, but what about the dealerships? That’s where Lincoln Motor Company’s focus now lies, as it begins rolling out a plan that will see standalone Lincoln dealerships pop up in 30 high-volume markets.
As the premium brand attempts to shuffle off sliding sales with a utility vehicle onslaught, the brand wants those high-rising vehicles shown off on well-lit runways encased in glass cubes. Lincoln calls this design “Vitrine.” It’s not just important to the brand — it’s “critical.”
With the future of Ford’s sedans looking rather bleak, Lincoln has made some changes to the MKZ for the 2019 model year. There’s nothing really wrong with the luxury sedan; it’s a solid performer (minus the recalls) and has become rather handsome since its 2017 facelift. But it’s too similar to its sibling car, the Ford Fusion, and has lacked some of the technology rival manufacturers have added as standard equipment.
This has caused the model to hover around 30,000 annual delivers in the United States for as far back as we can remember. Meanwhile, the Fusion went into 209,623 American driveways last year. However neither vehicle is on course for a record sales year. The Fusion has endured a major decline in popularity since 2015 and the MKZ might not even break 20,000 sales in the U.S. by year’s end.
Ford plans on dropping the Fusion eventually, which means the MKZ is likely to follow it into the grave. But the pair should stick around a little longer than the rest of the company’s passenger cars, so Lincoln wants to give customers something to remember it by while simultaneously streamlining its production.
Ford Motor Company is finally challenging Geely Holding Group’s trademark application for the Lynk & Co automotive moniker. We’ve been waiting on this one for a while and are a little curious as to why it took Ford so long to realize the Geely-backed brand sounded so similar to Lincoln Motor Company.
While Chinese manufacturers enjoy a rich history of borrowing designs and names from competing automakers, the brunt of their more brazen attempts at thievery exist in the past — probably because they traditionally end up in court. Geely also has the benefit of plausible deniability since the Lynk name is supposed to hint at the vehicle’s unparalleled level of connectivity. It would be reasonable to assume this was a big coincidence.
Still, even if that is the case, nothing is going to halt the corporate litigation train now that it has left Ford Station.
After entering the hot Chinese car market two years ago, Lincoln Motor Company now wants to start building its vehicles there, sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg.
Lincoln is reportedly in talks with partner Changan Automobile Group to build a manufacturing facility — which would serve as an export hub — as early as 2018. Timing of production depends on whether sales continue their upward path.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
- ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
- ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
- ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
- ToolGuy Nice torque figure.