Ford Gets Serious About Re-Inventing Lincoln

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Ford Gets Serious About Re-Inventing Lincoln
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Ford knows it will take a lot of work to restore its Lincoln premium brand. Most recently, Ford created an elaborate booth with modern decor for Lincoln at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show only to see the MKZ concept go up in smoke. Furthermore, the Lincoln MKZ concept failed to garner the same level of attention as the parent company’s 2013 Ford Fusion, or its main rival’s new 2013 Cadillac ATS compact sedan.

Ford global sales chief Jim Farley admits, “It will take every ounce of our energy to execute Lincoln in North America.” Apparently, that is exactly what Ford plans to do. Over the next couple of years, Ford will introduce seven important new models for the Lincoln line-up. According to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, he expects the new Lincoln vehicles to be just as great as what Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and BMW have to offer. However, rather than developing a dedicated front-engine, rear-wheel-drive luxury platform, Lincoln will stick to platform sharing with mainstream Ford vehicles.

According to Jim Farley, Lincoln’s success is not only dependent on its products, but is dependent on the improvement of customer service as well. Farley said, “the secret sauce to Lexus was the personal touch.” Ideas and suggestions extended to Lincoln dealers include washing an owner’s Lincoln vehicle after servicing, or putting a rose on the seat when returning a car to its owner after repairs.

Ford admits that customers aren’t very keen on Lincoln and that it will be difficult to target young, financially successful men, which would have been obvious luxury targets. Jim Farley says that Lincoln will go after a different demographic that he calls “the magician.” Magicians are trend-setting early adopters that live along the coasts. These young individuals are more likely to try new, interesting products, regardless of what others think.

When Ford Motors dropped Mercury, the decision proved to be extremely beneficial to the American automaker as it allowed greater focus on Ford products, dialing in quality and image. Time will tell whether Ford can get Lincoln to return to its past glory or whether the once iconic luxury brand will join Mercury in the history books.

[Source: USA Today]

  • Boston Jeff

    Lincoln wasted goodwill years ago by not standing behind its products. I know many who had cars with bad engines that Lincoln refused to fix. My wife’s Honda gets a free car wash from her dealer and has received this extra service for years. I think Lincoln dealers lack the products and therefore the capital to compete…I wonder if American car companies understand the excellent service model provided by both the Germans and Japanese. It’ll be interesting to see how well Lincoln competes but I wouldn’t bet the bank on them finding accepting “magicians”.

  • Stephen Kim

    As a 2004 Aviator owner, I used to visit a Lincoln dealer in neighbor area, say about 6~8 miles. Now these days, I have to look for the nearest Ford/Lincoln dealer through website: no personalized relation with customer service specialist. Ford and its dealership got failed as much same as they did with other American auto makers. Will Ford restore Lincoln’s prestigious name value again? It is not just about a new design of product lines as Jim said. It is all about the customer relation and loyalty relation between three parties: a manufacturer, a dealer, a customer. On the same issue, Ford has not been successfully studied and complied with this simple basic of the current global business market. My father owned Lincoln Mark IV, V, VII then 1999 Ford Expedition. I owned ’78 Pinto, ’83 T-bird, ’87 Continental then ’04 Aviator. Unfortunately, no more Ford vehicle!