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Old 01-22-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
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Default Concerned about the future for single point Lincoln Dealers

While the Ford Dealers can bask in the glow of the success their OEM is having, I wonder if the single point Lincoln dealers share that enthusiasm?

At Barrett-Jackson Ford had a very impressive display right at the main entrance to the auction. There must have been at least 15 different Mustangs on display as well as pre-production versions of the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Ford Taurus and 2013 Ford Escape.

Ford even had a Mustang on display the was on a rotisserie and rotated at 90 degrees so you could examine the undercarriage of the vehicle. The Mustang they had on display actually had "quad-exhaust" where there were two exhaust pipe exiting the side of the vehicle just before the rear wheel and then the standard dual exhaust.

And then there was the Lincoln display:



Lincoln had four vehicles on display all painted the same shade of silver. The display occupied about 15% of Ford's total display area and was mostly a wasteland concerning the number of people looking at the cars.

Personally, I don't like the grille treatment Lincoln's using to establish their brand and I think their Lincoln MKT crossover is so ugly that it actually taints the rest of their line-up. (Similar to the damage the Aztec did to the rest of the Pontiac line.)

Bottom line: I'm very impressed at what Ford has done over the past few years but I really wonder what the single point Lincoln dealers are thinking. They've lost their Mercury franchise so they can no longer offer cars to the heart of the market and they've lost the Town Car so they no longer have a vehicle for customers looking for a traditional luxury vehicle. All the Lincoln dealers have is four lack luster vehicles and the Lincoln Navigator - seems like a tough way to make a living.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:21 AM   #2
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They are thinking: 1) they are glad to still have a franchise, since they passed the last "buyout cut"; 2) They are thinking Ford will eventually put distinctive, leadership product in thier showrooms (drink the kool-aid and be happy); and, 3) they are thinking, selling parts, service, and used cars is a hell of a lot better than having a big facility and selling used cars. From what I heard, the facility upgrades were generally liveable, and mostly needed after the realignment upscale out of Mercury.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:43 AM   #3
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They are thinking: 1) they are glad to still have a franchise, since they passed the last "buyout cut"; 2) They are thinking Ford will eventually put distinctive, leadership product in thier showrooms (drink the kool-aid and be happy); and, 3) they are thinking, selling parts, service, and used cars is a hell of a lot better than having a big facility and selling used cars. From what I heard, the facility upgrades were generally liveable, and mostly needed after the realignment upscale out of Mercury.
You make a great point - I guess it's better to have a new car franchise with only five vehicles than no franchise at all.

That said, I'd still have to think the Lincoln dealers have some envy for all of the great product the Ford dealers have in their stable.

Concerning the facility upgrades, it's good to hear that they were reasonable. I was under the impression Ford was playing hardball with their Lincoln dealers and forcing them to spend big money or self-terminate.
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Old 01-25-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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Default I guess I wasn't the only one who hated the grille on the Lincolns

I just read a report on Automotive News that Lincoln's latest concept car, the Lincoln MKZ, has a horizontal grill styling that will likely make it to the production vehicle.

The report indicated: "The waterfall grille made a bold statement, but it alienated some customers."

Fixing the grille design on the Lincolns will definitely improve their appearance and it will be interesting to see how they sell once they reach the market.

It will also be interesting to see where Ford takes the Lincoln brand. Cadillac has already moved to a younger customer and shifted their image to be more performance oriented. Even Buick seems to be targeting younger customers with their designs.

Where will the traditional luxury car buyer be able to find a car to replace their old Lincoln Town Car? It's not clear to me but I still think there are a ton of senior citizens out there who still want a traditional luxury car and don't care for the aerodynamic looks and vehicles with expensive technology they'll never use.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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I don't think Lincoln has the same market as cadillac anymore. Cadillac Focus groups on styling are now located in Shanghi!
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:04 PM   #6
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I don't think Lincoln has the same market as cadillac anymore. Cadillac Focus groups on styling are now located in Shanghi!
I totally agree and I think GM deserves a lot of credit for taking the Cadillac brand up-market and making their vehicles worthy competitors to BMW, Mercedes and Lexus.

Lincoln's quandary, in my opinion, is whether they want to invest the Billions it will take to go up-market and chase Cadillac or whether it makes more sense to hang out with brands like Chrysler, Buick and Acura in the "near luxury" market and sell to the masses.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:56 PM   #7
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Lincoln's quandary, in my opinion, is whether they want to invest the Billions it will take to go up-market and chase Cadillac or whether it makes more sense to hang out with brands like Chrysler, Buick and Acura in the "near luxury" market and sell to the masses.
According to Jim Farley and the other executives at Ford, Lincoln will be aimed directly at Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. They want the dealer experience and products to eventually match those brands. Ford knows it will take time, but they claim they are committed to Lincoln's long-term growth to prominence again. Attached is a hyperlink to a video about the MKZ concept that starts off with Ford’s vision of Lincoln and then the concept car itself. This is also a good video to see what Ford will be expecting from its Lincoln dealers.

http://corporate.ford.com/news-cente...-concept-33701

It sounds like they are committed. Jim Farley helped bring Lexus up from the ground, so he (and the team) should be capable of resurrecting Lincoln. Lincoln also has its own design studio and management team now, so I guess we’ll see in a few years.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:27 PM   #8
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I totally agree and I think GM deserves a lot of credit for taking the Cadillac brand up-market and making their vehicles worthy competitors to BMW, Mercedes and Lexus.
I think Cadillac is getting there first with the CTS and now with the upcoming ATS. Even though the XTS will be the temporary flagship, it shows a lot of detail and technology that I've felt have been missing from Cadillac for some time. I really like the car, not so much for what it is right now, but for what it signals for Cadillac's future.

Once Cadillac gets its model lineup set, it will be a force to compete against Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Audi. Unfortunately, Cadillac isn't quite there yet, so Lexus and the German luxury brands will continue to dominate for a little while longer. Still, I think GM deserves a lot of credit for bringing Cadillac upmarket where it belongs.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:43 PM   #9
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Lincoln's quandary, in my opinion, is whether they want to invest the Billions it will take to go up-market and chase Cadillac or whether it makes more sense to hang out with brands like Chrysler, Buick and Acura in the "near luxury" market and sell to the masses.
I hate to be a quote hog, but I just had to touch on this subject concerning Chrysler, Buick, and Acura.

According to Honda, Acura will not be positioned to compete against Mercedes, Lexus, BMW,etc... It will aim to be below those brands. So, we know Acura will be in that "near luxury" market.

Buick has always been "near" luxury and I know GM wants it to stay there, but the Buick name does show up in the monthly luxury brand sales results. Some have argued whether the brand should be in the same sales category as Lexus and Mercedes. I'm not sure which way I fall on that topic, but the results haven't changed yet. I guess that means some people see Buick as a luxury brand.

As for the Chrysler brand, it isn't even listed with the luxury brands. Its sales numbers are usually listed with the mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Kia, Toyota, etc... This tells us what people think of the Chrysler brand and it isn't "luxury". So, the question becomes, does Fiat have the money and will-power to turn Chrysler into a true "near luxury" brand? Or will Fiat take the easy road and try to make Chrysler more of a mainstream brand like Ford? I know what Chrysler should be and where it should be positioned, but I'm not sure the population does anymore.

You can get a Ford Taurus SHO priced in the $40,000.00+ price range now and an Exploer Limited can reach almost $50,000.00. With Ford (and Chevrolet, Toyota, and Hyundai) pricing their models in the Chrysler price range, and with Chrysler pricing the 200 in the Focus and Cruze price range, one has to wonder if Chrysler really is "near luxury" or if it is a more fancy mainstream brand now.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:17 AM   #10
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According to Jim Farley and the other executives at Ford, Lincoln will be aimed directly at Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. They want the dealer experience and products to eventually match those brands. Ford knows it will take time, but they claim they are committed to Lincoln's long-term growth to prominence again. Attached is a hyperlink to a video about the MKZ concept that starts off with Fordís vision of Lincoln and then the concept car itself. This is also a good video to see what Ford will be expecting from its Lincoln dealers.
Thanks for the information.

It sure seems like there are a lot of OEMs chasing the traditional BWM/Audi/Mercedes customer - I wonder how big that market really is?

Concerning Audi, I was on the ASU campus a few weeks ago and saw an awesome looking A4 with dark tinted windows and aftermarket wheels. I actually thought it was a BMW M3 when I saw it from a distance.

I was thinking it wasn't too long ago that a college kid wouldn't be caught dead going to school in an Audi and now it's one of the best looking cars in the parking lot. I still think of Audi as a damaged brand from the whole 60 Minutes debacle but I'll concede that most people have probable long forgotten about that chapter in Audi's past.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:20 AM   #11
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I think Cadillac is getting there first with the CTS and now with the upcoming ATS. Even though the XTS will be the temporary flagship, it shows a lot of detail and technology that I've felt have been missing from Cadillac for some time. I really like the car, not so much for what it is right now, but for what it signals for Cadillac's future.
I've read a little bit about Cadillac's upcoming ATS and it looks very impressive. I also like the idea that GM can use that platform for the next Camaro and keep the car as a traditional RWD sports cars.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:29 AM   #12
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...one has to wonder if Chrysler really is "near luxury" or if it is a more fancy mainstream brand now.
You make a valid point, when you look at the entire Chrysler brand it's mostly a fancy mainstream brand and not "near luxury."

It will be interesting to see what Marchionne does with the Chrysler brand. In many ways it would be strategic to position Chrysler as a "traditional luxury" brand and capture all of the customers Cadillac, Buick, Mercury and now Lincoln seem to have abandoned. The styling to the Chrysler 300 and the traditional RWD platform would appeal to these buyers.

Ironically, Chrysler's "urban" advertising strategy markets the vehicle to an entirely different demographic. In fact, Chrysler's advertising for the 300 probably makes the vehicle less attractive to the "traditional luxury" buyer.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #13
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Thanks for the information.

It sure seems like there are a lot of OEMs chasing the traditional BWM/Audi/Mercedes customer - I wonder how big that market really is?

Concerning Audi, I was on the ASU campus a few weeks ago and saw an awesome looking A4 with dark tinted windows and aftermarket wheels. I actually thought it was a BMW M3 when I saw it from a distance.

I was thinking it wasn't too long ago that a college kid wouldn't be caught dead going to school in an Audi and now it's one of the best looking cars in the parking lot. I still think of Audi as a damaged brand from the whole 60 Minutes debacle but I'll concede that most people have probable long forgotten about that chapter in Audi's past.
I think the BMW/Audi/Mercedes/Lexus costumer base is a big chunk of the luxury market, and I think we are seeing a clear separation between the mainstream and luxury brands. Even though the luxury market is small in comparision to the mainstream market, having a big chunk of the luxury market will provide large profits for those companies that are in the driver's seat. I think Ford wants a bigger piece of that market as well. Plus, it helps that Alan Mulally seems to think very highly of those four brands. He used to own a Lexus LS450 before he came to Ford and he has said it was one of the finest cars he ever owned. I think these are the cars he is pushing Lincoln to become.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:07 PM   #14
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I've read a little bit about Cadillac's upcoming ATS and it looks very impressive. I also like the idea that GM can use that platform for the next Camaro and keep the car as a traditional RWD sports cars.
I was very interested in seeing the ATS and when it was displayed, I thought it was a very nice car. Unfortunately, a BMW 3 Series X drive coupe has my attention right now, so I think I will pass on the ATS at the moment. Still, I am glad Cadillac is coming out with this kind of car.

I really like the idea that the Camaro and ATS will use the same platform. This should make the Camaro smaller, lighter, and hopefully more nimble (much like the original Camaros).
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:18 PM   #15
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You make a valid point, when you look at the entire Chrysler brand it's mostly a fancy mainstream brand and not "near luxury."

It will be interesting to see what Marchionne does with the Chrysler brand. In many ways it would be strategic to position Chrysler as a "traditional luxury" brand and capture all of the customers Cadillac, Buick, Mercury and now Lincoln seem to have abandoned. The styling to the Chrysler 300 and the traditional RWD platform would appeal to these buyers.

Ironically, Chrysler's "urban" advertising strategy markets the vehicle to an entirely different demographic. In fact, Chrysler's advertising for the 300 probably makes the vehicle less attractive to the "traditional luxury" buyer.
To me, the 300 is the only vehicle from the Chrysler brand that has any semblance of luxury. However, having a base price in the mid 20s, doesn't make it seem like a luxury car. The Ford Taurus starts around the mid 20s and climbs all the way to the low 40s. How many other "luxury" flagships are priced competitively with large mainstream family sedans?

I really don't see the 200 and Town & Country as luxury or near luxury vehicles (even if Sergio and Auburn Hills scream it from the rooftops). So, what is the Chrysler brand really?

Regarding "traditonal" luxury, I think Lincoln tried that before and it didn't really work. With the headlight design of the 300 and 200, I don't think Auburn Hills is looking to the traditional luxury buyers either.
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