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The Future of Ford Lincoln

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On: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 12:58PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The Future of Ford Lincoln

Since Ford announced the discontinuation of Mercury by year end of 2010, Ford says it will focus completely on “Lincoln design and customer services, in order to win younger customers,” according to a recent automotive news article.

Jim Farley, group VP of global marketing for Ford, stated, “It's not about scale right now, it's about getting it right.” Farley added, “The next set of products is about getting it right for the customer.”

Lincoln is the last luxury brand under the Ford name since the sale of Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

Future Lincoln products will still have the signature waterfall grille, but the body design will differentiate them more from other Ford products than in the present lineup.

Back in 1998 Lincoln ended up as the number one seller in the United States in the luxury car segment, with a record of 187,121 vehicles sold. Last year that number dropped to as low as 82,848 compared to Lexus, the new leader selling 215,975 units.

Lincoln will have 7 new vehicles in the next 4 years, according to Ford.The new vehicles will be in the $35,000 to $55,000 price range, according to a statement by Farley to the press.

“Our commitment on the upper body will be specific, and the MKX is an example of that,” said Farley. “We're making a commitment to differentiate the product at every step we can.”

An example of what Ford plans for future Lincoln products is the Ford Lincoln MKT crossover, with luxury features and dramatic styling as compared to the Ford Flex, which shares the same platform with the MKT.

Some say that Lincoln has not distinguished itself enough from other Ford products to justify the extra cost, but Farley disagrees, stating, “People don't cross shop luxury at the feature level.”

The new Lincoln will not only be getting a new look, but the fuel economy and technology will be the major focus as well, according to Farley. Lincoln also plans to offer superior customer service.

Boosting Lincoln's cachet will mean emphasizing technology and fuel economy in advertising. It also means offering superior customer service, Farley said.

“In major metro markets we have to get our dealer body count down,” Farley said. “And we have to get our dealer throughput up. It's really critical we improve our profitability in the dealerships so that we can get our customer buying experience up.”

With the Mercury brand being discontinued by the 31st of December, Ford plans to close around 260 dealerships that are currently selling Mercury vehicles, most of which wouldl not be able to stay afloat by offering only Lincoln. Ford would not disclose just how many Lincoln dealerships will close for sure, but Farley did say that Ford is working on voluntary consolidation programs.








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