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SOURCE: AutoNews.com

Ford may give Lincoln a compact
Jamie LaReau
Automotive News
September 4, 2008 - 12:30 pm ET

LOMMEL, Belgium -- Ford Motor Co. is considering a compact, or C-segment, vehicle for its Lincoln luxury brand, product development chief Derrick Kuzak said today.

"We do think that there is room for a smaller car in the Lincoln brand," Kuzak, group vice president for global product development, said at a press event here. He would not discuss specifics.

When Ford replaces the Escape crossover early next decade, the company is expected to bring out a Lincoln companion at the same time. Suppliers and analysts expect the C-segment Ford Kuga crossover sold in Europe to be the basis for those vehicles.
MORE HERE
 

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This article confuses me.

In light of the recent annoucment about Lincoln and Mercury deliniating their lineups - Mercury will be everything up to a mid-sized car and Lincoln everything from mid-sizer on up - this is awfully peculiar.

It doesn't make sense. By all accounts, Mercury should get a C-Segment product and a replacement for the Mariner based on the Kuga concept. And it may yet.

However, will Lincoln get them too?

Since Lincoln isn't traditional luxury anymore, I've argued that if it must make use of the corporate parts bin, it may as well offer a product along the lines of the TSX, 9-3 (or even the S40) so that it could have a stylish compact car to offer to consumers. It could offer AWD optional, come with either turbo engines or perhaps even Volvo I5s, and start at around $25K or so.

However, since the Mercury announcement, this would seemed to have been off the table. Are they reconsidering this now?

If this was tailored to Lincoln's expansion worldwide, then I would agree. But since Mercury will still be sold alongside Lincoln in North America, I'm not sure how this would panout. Does that mean that instead of overlapping at just the mid-sized category, they'd overlap in the Compact category and Mercury would reach even further downmarket to a true B-segment car?
 

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This article confuses me.

In light of the recent annoucment about Lincoln and Mercury deliniating their lineups - Mercury will be everything up to a mid-sized car and Lincoln everything from mid-sizer on up - this is awfully peculiar.

It doesn't make sense. By all accounts, Mercury should get a C-Segment product and a replacement for the Mariner based on the Kuga concept. And it may yet.

However, will Lincoln get them too?

Since Lincoln isn't traditional luxury anymore, I've argued that if it must make use of the corporate parts bin, it may as well offer a product along the lines of the TSX, 9-3 (or even the S40) so that it could have a stylish compact car to offer to consumers. It could offer AWD optional, come with either turbo engines or perhaps even Volvo I5s, and start at around $25K or so.

However, since the Mercury announcement, this would seemed to have been off the table. Are they reconsidering this now?

If this was tailored to Lincoln's expansion worldwide, then I would agree. But since Mercury will still be sold alongside Lincoln in North America, I'm not sure how this would panout. Does that mean that instead of overlapping at just the mid-sized category, they'd overlap in the Compact category and Mercury would reach even further downmarket to a true B-segment car?
I agree with your comments - Mercury under the new alignment should have this product, not Lincoln. Unless the product is SO DISTINCT as not to be confused with a Mercury, Lincoln shouldn't have the product.
 

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I'm with you Nadepalma, I thought with the Mercury announcement, Lincoln would focus on larger cars and Mercury would have smaller cars, albeit luxurious that will lead up to Lincoln. This is kinda confusing, just when I thought Ford had figured out what it was going to do with Lincoln/Mercury. Guess not.
 

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By the time CAFE is fully implemented a "C" class car will probably be as large as will be possible without penalties. Honda's current product line is closer than anyone else's to the 2020 CAFE requirements, and it falls short. Add to that increasing crash and rooftop requirements and "C" class may be a stretch as what will become "large" cars, down the road.

CAFE = Dumb, IMO!
 

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I don't really see the point in giving Lincoln a C-segment car. Not when Mercury is getting one. If they do that, we will be back to square one with Lincoln/Mercury. Lincoln was initially supposed to get a small crossover vehicle based off of the European Escape, but the idea was scrapped.
 

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This is the first I've heard of this.

Yes, this directly contradicts the new Lincoln-Mercury plan, and I have it on good authority that the Mariner will definitely remain in the Mercury lineup, based on the Kuga, and that Mercury will get a version of the Focus.

This smells like a move into international markets, and bodes well for the caliber of the Mercury Focus and Mariner.
 

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I mostly agree with davidlane - it's inevitable... But
not in the immediate plans < that's Merc's C-car*... But
I'd bet a nickel that even Now they're putting as much effort into the further-away LinColn as into the almost-here MerC.

the Kuga otoh, I've come to believe the initial scuttlebutt that it Will be a Lincoln, is IN the IntroSchedule, doesn't replace any FML vehicle, & will be Lincoln's first C... BUT
THEY GOTTA CHANGE THAT "NAME"!!!!!



* just cuz Merc's nearterm focus is in sub-Milan vehicles,
don't believe this 'SMALL' thing is permanent.
besides Nothin-being-Permanent,
imho there are already Plans that go beyond it....
...subject to revision of course.
 

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This article confuses me.

In light of the recent annoucment about Lincoln and Mercury deliniating their lineups - Mercury will be everything up to a mid-sized car and Lincoln everything from mid-sizer on up - this is awfully peculiar.

It doesn't make sense. By all accounts, Mercury should get a C-Segment product and a replacement for the Mariner based on the Kuga concept. And it may yet.

However, will Lincoln get them too?

Since Lincoln isn't traditional luxury anymore, I've argued that if it must make use of the corporate parts bin, it may as well offer a product along the lines of the TSX, 9-3 (or even the S40) so that it could have a stylish compact car to offer to consumers. It could offer AWD optional, come with either turbo engines or perhaps even Volvo I5s, and start at around $25K or so.

However, since the Mercury announcement, this would seemed to have been off the table. Are they reconsidering this now?

If this was tailored to Lincoln's expansion worldwide, then I would agree. But since Mercury will still be sold alongside Lincoln in North America, I'm not sure how this would panout. Does that mean that instead of overlapping at just the mid-sized category, they'd overlap in the Compact category and Mercury would reach even further downmarket to a true B-segment car?
Pleanty of good questions.

I think this demonstrates something we all have seen at GM repeatedly. It is somewhat easier to write on paper how you intend to define a brand then to actually do it. Ford has trouble keeping Mercury relevant. GM is trying to do it with Buick, Pontiac, and Saturn.

Pontiac was sporty and performance.
Pontiac then was to become the poor man's BMW & RWD.
Pontiac then became PONTIAC is CAR. (GM immediately introduced a Sport Truck. Ironic.)
Now Pontiac may be small FWD vehicles.
Or Killed
Or the new Saturn...


Saturn was a different kind of car company with no haggle shopping, great service and dent resistant vehicles.
Saturn then became a product starved, plastic sided, inexpensive thrifty kinda car company.
Saturn then became OPEL of America...but somehow has half its products as rebadges.
Saturn then invited us to RETHINK Saturn. Rewhat?
Now Saturn may become part of PBG.
Or Pontiac
Or Killed.

Buick, I don't even know how to describe.

Consumers have not idea whats going on.
 

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The fact is that brands like Lincoln and Buick have a serious demographic problem -- their customers are dying of old age. The Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age and many of them are solid import customers and will never buy an american brand.

So, it makes sense to start thinking in the long term for once. Having an "entry level" luxury product allows Lincoln to capture younger customers that otherwise might not consider them and also would never consider a down-market Mercury.

And of course Volvo, Audi, Acura, and so on all have entry-level products and it doesn't seem to hurt their brand reputation too badly.
 

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This is the first I've heard of this.

Yes, this directly contradicts the new Lincoln-Mercury plan, and I have it on good authority that the Mariner will definitely remain in the Mercury lineup, based on the Kuga, and that Mercury will get a version of the Focus.

This smells like a move into international markets, and bodes well for the caliber of the Mercury Focus and Mariner.


I would agree. A question I would have though is this: If this does indicate "international" markets, Lincoln will need more than one vehicle. Are there other Lincolns currently being produced that they are planning to take global? Personally, I can't think of one I would try that with. The MKT would be almost too big, especially for Europe. The MKS is...............well.........whatever. Assuming the MKR is still in the pipleline it could be exported, although probably in small numbers.


Is there someone who can clarify "Category C"? My own impression would be something along the lines of a Mazda 3 in size. Yes? No? Smaller than the current MKZ?

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I would agree. A question I would have though is this: If this does indicate "international" markets, Lincoln will need more than one vehicle. Are there other Lincolns currently being produced that they are planning to take global? Persoanlly, I can't think of one I would try that with. The MKT would be allmost too big, especially for Europe. The MKS is...............well.........whatever. Assuming the MKR is still in the pipleline it could be exported, although probably in small numbers.


Is there someone who can clarify "Category C"? My own impression would be something along the lines of a Mazda 3 in size. Yes? No? Smaller than the current MKZ?

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Ford Focus is a C-Car, so you're on the right track. The next Focus will come with AWD, so I presume the Lincoln will as well.

Lincoln will not export to Western Europe. The current plan involves export to Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, India, and China.
 

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Ford has said that Lincoln would be an international luxury brand. Maybe in North America, Lincoln will be glorified big Fords and Mercury will be glorified little Fords and in the rest of the world all glorifed Fords will be Lincolns
 

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Ford Focus is a C-Car, so you're on the right track. The next Focus will come with AWD, so I presume the Lincoln will as well.

Lincoln will not export to Western Europe. The current plan involves export to Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, India, and China.
Thank you for that. I really was a bit in the dark on that score.

I was thinking just this as I clicked on "submit reply". I'm still so steeped in the "Global-means-Europe" paradigm that the areas you mentioned didn't occur to me until I gave it a little more thought. The markets you note are ripening and if Ford/ Lincoln is careful and patient it can enjoy long-term success.

Have you heard any rumblings about what products are being considered for this expansion, outside of this mysterious C car?

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Thank you for that. I really was a bit in the dark on that score.

I was thinking just this as I clicked on "submit reply". I'm still so steeped in the "Global-means-Europe" paradigm that the areas you mentioned didn't occur to me until I gave it a little more thought. The markets you note are ripening and if Ford/ Lincoln is careful and patient it can enjoy long-term success.

Have you heard any rumblings about what products are being considered for this expansion, outside of this mysterious C car?

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The entire line is game for export.

Remember... people in these development markets like their cars big, chromey, obnoxious, and most importantly... tasteless. Very unlike Western Europe, where unless it's a 1.0L diesel Smart Car or a BMW 3-Series, they don't want it.

I never understood why Cadillac is focusing so much on Western Europe, which won't buy Cadillacs no matter what GM does. Sell a big landeau-roofed, chromed-up successor to the 1976 Coupe de Ville, and the Russian dealers won't be able to keep them on the lots.
 

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The entire line is game for export.

Remember... people in these development markets like their cars big, chromey, obnoxious, and most importantly... tasteless.
Then Lincoln's success is all but assured.


I never understood why Cadillac is focusing so much on Western Europe, which won't buy Cadillacs no matter what GM does.
I'm forced to agree. When the first European sales plans were finallized back in 2004 I thought: "Ya, go get 'em Cadillac".But the more I see and read, the more I can see that Western Europe is far too mature a market, with a collective memory that is firmly ingrained. People there seem to have brand pre-conceptions that they defend bitterly and happily take to the grave. Americans are down-right flexible by comparison.

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Ford's stance on Mercury:



Which is unfortunate. The grotesque Lincoln grille will look even more grotesque on a Focus. And we've already got Volvo S40 in case anybody wanted a more expensive Focus. That said, GM is reportedly preparing a small Cadillac. Will the Big 2 be asking themselves again how could it go wrong?
 

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But the more I see and read, the more I can see that Western Europe is far too mature a market, with a collective memory that is firmly ingrained. People there seem to have brand pre-conceptions that they defend bitterly and happily take to the grave.
Nope. People simply don't care. Cadillac has got nothing compelling to offer, and certainly doesn't live up to the collective memory of large, elegant cruisers. Europe does not want an Escalade, and the CTS is neither a 3er nor a 5er at any right. Europe might have wanted a large barge a la Chrysler 300, but GM conveniently forgot to build a good large Caddy.
 
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