“We like to think some things are worth the wait,” tweeted Lincoln Motor Company this morning.
Ford’s premium division had a reason to be cheeky when it teased the backlit face of its next-generation full-size SUV, as the Navigator hasn’t seen a full redesign in 11 long years. That’s an eternity in the automotive world.
When the current-generation Navigator began production in August of 2006, Twitter was a month old, the American job scene and housing market seemed sturdy, and Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer were looking forward to long, happy futures. So, this week’s New York International Auto Show should be quite the momentous occasion for the resurgent automaker.
A couple of weeks ago, Steph asked about the one that got away. From Aussie coupes to strange French sedans — which, by the way, require such a deep love of all things Gallic that one must have garlic toothpaste in their medicine cabinet — the B&B had some great examples of forbidden fruit for which they yearn.
Thing is, though, all those examples were denied us by the manufacturers. This time, we’re going for something far more personal. What’s the one that got away … because you sold it?
Not content with just offering Chinese buyers the Lincoln Continental, Ford Motor Company plans to take a page from General Motors’ playbook and offer the expansive market its own home-built SUV.
The automaker intends to partner with China’s Changan Automobile Group to build Lincolns in the city of Chongqing, starting in late 2019, Ford claims. The two companies reportedly began talks early last year.
By the year 2020, you’ll probably forget all about words like “Focus” and “Fusion.”
That’s because Ford, to capitalize on the relentless juggernaut that is the utility vehicle market, plans to add five crossovers or SUVs on the market in three years. Lincoln will see another non-car join its ranks, too.
That’ll bring the Ford brand’s utility lineup up to 12 vehicles, and Lincoln’s to four. The identity of four of the vehicles is well known, but we now have a better grasp of what to expect from the remainder.
Ford plans to offer an aftermarket device that will give older models access to new technology like remote start, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and smartphone alerts.
According to the automaker, Ford SmartLink will plug in to the OBD-II port of 2010-2016 model year Ford and Lincoln cars, allowing access to remote start, lock, and unlock, Wi-Fi access for up to eight devices, and smartphone alerts for vehicle health, security, and location.
We’re forever hearing the tap-tapping of superior keyboards around here and elsewhere on the wild and crazy interwebz, condemning those who drive CUVs for not having a real SUV, and those who have SUVs for not having trucks. And if you have a truck and don’t use it for these paramount truck activities, then you should be in a small sedan. End of discussion.
But since this is (North) America and freedom of choice abounds, I want us all to play a trucky little game for today’s Question of the Day.
Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, PSA (Peugeot, etc.), and Suzuki are now part of an automotive alliance concerning your dashboard. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, as they’re styling it, is apparently all about muscling around Google and Apple’s forays into the automobile, and is based on Ford’s existing “AppLink” software project, which has been around for several years.
I’ve written about smart dashboards before for TTAC. Particularly, in 2013 after Apple’s original announcement, I was amazed automakers were willing to cede so much control over the precious dashboard real estate. I later noted people are likely to be more loyal to their phones than cars and to make buying decisions around what cars support their phones “properly,” especially because Apple and Google fundamentally know a lot more about you and can do a much better job of knowing what you want to listen to and where you want to go.
But what exactly is the SmartDeviceLink Consortium all about? You might think it sounds like it’s a rejection of your smartphone driving the screen in your car, as with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Curious as to what was really going on, I then dug into the giant pile of software and specifications they’ve posted on Github. What’s really going on here isn’t as much in opposition to what Google and Apple are up to as it’s an attempt to standardize it and refactor it.
There remains a select group of American car buyers who are actually buyers of cars. In fact, there are still American car buyers who want American cars. Indeed, there are still a number of American car buyers who want American luxury cars.
As an example, consider the all-new Lincoln Continental.
It’s not a hot seller — at least not in the conventional sense of the word. The new Lincoln Continental isn’t topping the sales charts. Indeed, given the fact, in November, the Continental was America’s 17th-best-selling premium brand car, it may not even be a warm seller.
But there are a couple of indicators that suggest the 2017 Lincoln Continental is over-performing; that it’s exceeding Ford Motor Company’s expectations. That’s not bad news for America’s remaining handful of American luxury car aficionados, especially with the measure of success being enjoyed by a cross-town Continental rival.
Ford’s Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant will continue to crank out Lincoln MKC crossovers, rather than head down south for a Mexican vacation.
The news, which Ford confirmed after an enthusiastic President-elect Donald Trump tweeted it, means the automaker will need to look elsewhere for more Escapes. It doesn’t, however, mean a factory closing was averted.
Yes, if the report is true — and Ford isn’t confirming it — the mighty Ford Flex will bow out of existence in 2020, leaving fans of the polished brick heartbroken. Still, there’s a mystery as to the fate of its leviathan-like platform mate, the Lincoln MKT.
As our own Matthew Guy has marvelously demonstrated recently, it’s widely known a new-car purchase’s best value can often be found in the base-level trim. Rarely is a vehicle improved in proportion to the cost of additional options. Nor is the money spent on additional options or higher trim levels recovered in resale as secondhand customers are reluctant to pay more money for bells and whistles because, quite often, they’re obsolete by the time the car sells the second time around.
If we take these truths to an obvious conclusion, it can be said that the higher the trim level, the worse the resale value — and in my years of experience working for Autotrader, I can tell you that’s true. Many of the low-end pricing tools used by dealers to determine used car values often don’t even take trim into account.
Is it any wonder then that General Motors’ and Ford’s top trim levels have wretched resale values?
No, I’m not talking about “LTZ” or “Titanium.” I’m talking about Cadillac and Lincoln.
Every “How To” automotive series pushes the aftermarket hard for free stuff, even under-the-radar journos like Zach Bowman and Regular Car Reviews find themselves with free/discounted goodies. I’ve done product reviews in TTAC’s past, so this isn’t a Baruthian hit piece on journalistic greed. Heck, Bowman generously donated his pre-sponsorship clutch for TTAC’s Ford Sierra (more on that much later) and Mr. Regular seems like a righteous enough dude.
So instead, think of my work as the alternative to PowerBlock TV. What work is this, you may ask?
TTAC Commentator Kurt_B writes:
Hi TTAC. I’m a long time reader and member. My four-year-old Mustang hood is peeling. Ford does not cover this issue outside of the three-year comprehensive warranty, and even when repaints are authorized they don’t last. This is a very common issue that has to do with poor paint adhesion to aluminum. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see peeling 2015+ F150s in a few years with their aluminum panels.
For Sajeev: A lot of owners buy aftermarket fiberglass hoods (Cervini, etc). Others have their factory hoods repainted, which may or may not last. One shop I went to suggested vinyl-wrapping the hood — something I really don’t want to do to a four-year-old car.
For the last two years, my daily driver has been a used 2006 Audi A6 Avant (bought outright in cash). Living in Minnesota and attending college in a rural part of the state, it’s the ultimate vehicle. It swallows 4 people and gear for a spring break Chicago vacation, gets through the snowstorms, and has heated seats and steering wheel. It even averages 24 mpg!
However, its mileage has reached the point where it’s no longer economically feasible to hold onto (repair-wise) going into the spring of 2017. I’m trying to hold off until used car prices fall, because of lease returns. With a budget of $15,000, I’m hoping to get five-plus years of use out of my next vehicle. My search has gravitated towards larger vehicles that are kinda low-volume players (with a slightly better reliability record) like the Lincoln MKT, Toyota Sequoia, Lexus LS/GX, Volvo S80, etc. Something bigger and a little more cushy. So, what do you recommend?