Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

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Thread: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

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    Firebird Concept (the turbine one) Amphibian's Avatar
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    Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    As a stand alone brand, Lincoln would be rather difficult to do in Europe right now.

    But I thought about an alternative: What if Ford Europe treated Lincoln as almost a sub-division of Ford in Europe? Instead of the Vignale, Lincoln products would act as the premium Ford products. To be clear, this isn't making Lincolns Ford branded and badged vehicles in Europe. However, they would still be marketed more or less under the Ford umbrella. Maybe a decent example is what Chrysler did briefly with their SRT vehicles, making them technically of the SRT "brand". But even in that case they were still "Chryslers", "Dodges", etc. Another near similarity would be what Citroen did for their DS cars, which are based in most ways on the mass market Citroens but have their own styling and such to be part of the DS division. This would give Ford Europe the ability to have more upmarket products than even what their Vignales will probably be able to achieve, but without the cost of setting up a new network and such for Lincoln. Like I said, I don't think that would work out in Ford's favor and would be a recipe for failure.

    Here's the obvious advantage of Lincolns being based on Fords that are generally sold in Europe: the basic car is thereby already engineered for diesels, various smaller engines, and RHD. So the MKZ for example could simply port over a Mondeo diesel or two (maybe offer a higher boost version?), a 1.6T and 2.0T gas engines, maybe the 2.3T too, hybrid, and it's about good (I don't see there being much of a market for the 3.7L). The MKC would likewise borrow such elements from the Kuga, and isn't Ford planning on selling the new Edge in Europe? So ditto that for the new MKX. There would still be some conversion costs, but if I'm understanding the process correctly they'd still be less than, say, a Navigator that would have to be totally engineered for RHD conversions, new diesels and gas engines to be paired with the truck, etc. On that subject, I'm only talking about bringing "New Lincoln" Lincolns over there in theory: MKZ, MKC, new MKX. The MKS and at least the current Navigator would not be sold there.

    As for positioning, much of the lower end of the luxury market is already covered by higher end Fords, especially once we get to something like the Mondeo. Maybe even Black Label vehicles exclusively would be the ones brought to Europe? We're talking small volume here and mostly "gravy sales" by virtue of there being not a ton of costs associated with bringing Lincoln to Europe as opposed to Cadillacs, which have to be converted to RHD and haven't many diesel options, plus are marketed and set up separately from other GM brands - or at least that's the idea. Rather, I'm talking about this being more a division like DS within Ford Europe. Now what if sales were good enough in years time to actually justify Lincoln as a separate brand? Well, if they get there then that's another matter, but for now this I think would be a potentially reasonable option to expand Lincoln's horizons within exorbitant costs. But it gives Ford Europe more options to sell higher end products without having to design their own vehicles. And if Lincoln used their own platforms an idea like this is totally out of the question. Also gets around the whole "gussied up Ford" thing as I'm sure publications there would be quick to mention these as based on the Kuga, Mondeo, etc. And some slightly tighter suspension tuning or such might be in order too. Whereas the US MKZ offers the equivalent of a "sport" package, that might as well be standard on a Euro MKZ.

    Seems like it might have potential in several years even though Ford is doubtless planning on keeping Lincoln out of Europe for a long time. The main hurtle that I can think of is pricing. I don't know if Ford would want to build MKZ at the Spanish factory wherein they build the Mondeo, for example. But if they're imported, that might make pricing problematic. But if people will pay 60K for a loaded Passat, then maybe they wouldn't have as much an issue paying a fair bit of money for a premium Ford (again, branded and sold as a Lincoln but marketed as a sub-division of Ford) that costs even more but is more premium and exclusive. At least that's the way I would think it's possible.

    What do you think? Is there a small scale way of introducing Lincoln in Europe or would you rather they just direct efforts elsewhere? Even with this idea in mind I would think bringing Lincoln to South America, the ME or south Asia might be easier regions to bring in Lincoln. But I'm just speaking hypothetically here.

    Last edited by Amphibian; 09-01-2015 at 06:06 PM.

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    It might work in the sense that Lincoln would be "exotic" in Europe, but Europeans seem pretty smitten with their European cars.
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Why not? If sold by Ford dealers or a selection of said dealers, sold as Fords but with a different badge and design theme and Ford was happy with it selling in low numbers for years.

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    maybe intro'ing the MusStang in Yurpland was (just) a way of pre-qualifying dealers for Lincolns
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?


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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    I suppose it has potential to add a bit of volume, but it would take such a long time for them to every catch on that I think even the 'small' investment wouldn't be returned for many many years. I like the Vignale approach myself.
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dequindre View Post
    It might work in the sense that Lincoln would be "exotic" in Europe, but Europeans seem pretty smitten with their European cars.
    I suppose that is true. If Europeans are stupid enough to find a regular American Ford with a Lincoln badge and a leather interior exotic. Parked next to real luxury cars? Like Mercedes? Like BMW? Like Audi?

    I'll have whatever you are smoking.

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul8488 View Post
    I suppose it has potential to add a bit of volume.
    And I will suppose it doesn't. Do we need to go through all the reasons Cadillac is a catastrophic, unmitigated failure in Europe? Again? Diesel?

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Granted I am/was more interested in GM products, but IMO Lincoln as a brand is almost completely unknown outside North America. People know about Chevy and Cadillac, and of course know Ford, but I doubt Lincoln has any brand recognition in Europe. I'm not in Europe, but I could not tell you a single Lincoln model available. That's not necessarily a negative. Ford already has an established dealer network so adding a new brand could be seen as the equivalent of Toyota adding Lexus.

    A quick look on their website would suggest to me that they are more conservatively styled than the equivalent Cadillacs, which would also work better in Europe.

    Would they stand up against equivalent BMW and Mercedes or would they need to come in as a tier 2 alternative like a Hyundai or Kia ?
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sox View Post
    And I will suppose it doesn't. Do we need to go through all the reasons Cadillac is a catastrophic, unmitigated failure in Europe? Again? Diesel?
    Every Lincoln model has a Ford equivalent, and aside from the Navigator, a diesel ready to shoe-horn in.

    Not saying it's a good idea, but Ford could much more quickly put diesels in Lincolns than GM could in Cadillacs.
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by paul8488 View Post
    Every Lincoln model has a Ford equivalent, and aside from the Navigator, a diesel ready to shoe-horn in.

    Not saying it's a good idea, but Ford could much more quickly put diesels in Lincolns than GM could in Cadillacs.
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    The top trim Fords are already competing at price points with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in Europe - and losing out on poorer residuals - the upcoming introduction of the Vignale sub-brand is likely to compete with those same top trim Fords just as much as the German trio. Ford may not gain anything on volume, Vignale's success will be measured by increased margin, or not.

    There's nothing surprising in European customers liking European brands, no different to North American customers liking North America brands. Both Ford and Opel/Vauxhall are seen as American despite being built in Europe - just as Hyundai/Kia, Honda, Nissan and Toyota are seen as being Korean/Japanese despite being built in Europe.

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
    The top trim Fords are already competing at price points with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in Europe - and losing out on poorer residuals - the upcoming introduction of the Vignale sub-brand is likely to compete with those same top trim Fords just as much as the German trio. Ford may not gain anything on volume, Vignale's success will be measured by increased margin, or not.

    There's nothing surprising in European customers liking European brands, no different to North American customers liking North America brands. Both Ford and Opel/Vauxhall are seen as American despite being built in Europe - just as Hyundai/Kia, Honda, Nissan and Toyota are seen as being Korean/Japanese despite being built in Europe.
    That's interesting on perception of Ford & Opel. My earliest memory of non-Australian Fords were Escorts and Cortinas and Opel provided the Gemini and first Commodore, so both seem very European to me.
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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Around where I live I seen more imported Navigators than I seen Cadillacs...

    And the Marks are and have always been popular at funeral homes just as much as Cadillacs are and have been. Both hearses and follow cars.
    Last edited by 70eldo; 09-02-2015 at 07:22 AM.

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    Re: Could Lincoln Work in Europe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
    There's nothing surprising in European customers liking European brands, no different to North American customers liking North America brands.
    Unfortunately for GM and Ford, North American customers seem to like Japanese and Korean brands more:-(

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