CAN LINCOLN CARRY THE BALL?
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Jun 7, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Lincoln's C concept car (Roy Nakano) By now, everyone knows that the Ford Motor Company has decided to drop the Mercury line, ending production in the fourth quarter of 2010. It marks the end of the Mercury brand after 72 years. The other half of the story is Lincoln. Is the luxury brand enough to sustain the dealers that will be losing the Mercury franchise after year's end? Ford thinks so. And to help drive that home, Ford says it will be expanding its Lincoln lineup with seven new or significantly refreshed vehicles in the next four years – including its first-ever ‘C-segment’ vehicle. It’s all part of Ford’s plan to allow the Lincoln brand to go toe-to-toe against Cadillac and Lexus in North America. “We have made tremendous progress on profitably growing the Ford brand during the past few years. Now, it is time to do the same for Lincoln,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “The new Lincoln vehicles will transform luxury for North American premium customers through an unexpected blend of responsive driving enjoyment and warm, inviting comfort. We will also offer our customers a world-class retail experience through a vibrant retail network.” “Profitably growing Lincoln in North America is an important part of our One Ford plan,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “Our Ford brand is gaining momentum and winning customers around the world. Now, we are going to use the same laser focus to further strengthen Lincoln and deliver even more products luxury customers really want and value.” Foundation Set Lincoln’s product debuts continue later this year with the debut of the refreshed 2011 MKX crossover, which features the brand’s new MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology. Ford hopes that Lincoln’s expanded product development will help ensure it has a strong cadence of distinct products that are well positioned in the market. Plans for Lincoln include: • Lincoln’s first-ever C-segment vehicle • New Lincoln-exclusive powertrains, including an all-new V-6 engine and advanced fuel-efficient transmissions • EcoBoost engines available in all Lincolns – from the Navigator full-size SUV to the new C-segment Lincoln • Fuel economy leadership with each new vehicle – leading to Lincoln emerging as the most fuel-efficient luxury lineup on the market • More useful technology and features than any other competitor – with a special focus on comfort and convenience. New advanced features include: fully retractable glass roofs; adaptive computer-controlled suspensions; electronic, push-button gear-selectors; active noise control; and exclusive MyLincoln Touch driver connect technology Ford’s evidence that Lincoln has started gaining traction with customers include market share gains during the past five years. Lincoln’s share of the retail U.S. luxury vehicle market was 4.5 percent in 2005. For the first quarter of 2010, it’s up to 6.3 percent. Lincoln’s reputation with consumers seems to have risen, with favorable opinion and purchase consideration reaching its highest level in the past five years. Lincoln’s long-term durability was second only to Porsche’s in the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Survey.