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What I'd Do Differently: Jim Farley

Car and Driver
October 6, 2014
By: John Phillips


C/D: How goes Lincoln’s resurrection?

JF: Nowadays, everyone wants instant answers and fixes, but right now we’re focused on building Lincoln’s foundation.

C/D: Will Lincoln have a halo car?

JF: Specialty vehicles don’t create imagery for you. Customers look at your BMW 3-series or your Audi A4, at your execution of mainstream models. I gravitate to authentic things, things that go to the essence of the brand.
Complete and additional answers for the Q&As at the link.

Anyway, I take it that's a "no" to the Lincoln halo car.
 

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Lincoln's definition of world class luxury is a joke. Poor Lincoln. Their spin on luxury is embarrassing. Lincoln is trying to pretend but they don't have to. They just need to be real with their place in the automotive world. Lincoln is an upscale alternative to mainstream brands, like Buick, Acura, or Volvo and that's fine. Just don't pretend to be something you aren't.
 

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In other words, no new news.

Goal is, complete and competitive lineup, with a high degree of customization available.
 

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Lincoln is going to look like Buick
That would be if they are successful. Don't bet on it. Buick has a lot going for it such as the Opel connection, success in China, etc. What does Lincoln have going for it? You can only put krill strainers and leather seats on your bread and butter cars for so long. And of course they aren't going to build a halo car. Not because this guy is "genuine" or "authentic" - please - but because slapping krill strainers on a car such as the Taurus is not a failing strategy. It's a non-strategy. How much of a halo car do you expect to get rebadging a car which is already selling in mediocre numbers (I almost never see those cars on the road) at a low price point, if you intend to also raise the price because you have deluded yourself into believing the resulting rebadge is actually an upmarket vehicle? Lincoln is years and years away from any viability as a genuine luxury brand.
 

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What's embarrassing for Lincoln is that recent crash test for the 2014 Lincoln MKS! I was disturbed seeing how that car's cabin basically caved like a car from the 70's.

Lincoln, Oh Lincoln, your road is a LONG one...
 

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1. Keep in mind that it takes years to develop a new car. Whatever you see just showing up in dealerships today was laid out 3 to 5 years ago. Back then, Mulally was ready to pull the plug on Lincoln.

2. Fields was key in convincing Mulally otherwise. Fields seems more committed to revamping Lincoln than Mulally was.

3. Any plans for new cars that Fields and team created for Lincoln is only halfway gestated considering how long it takes to create a new vehicle. Any changes we see over the next year or so are simply cosmetic changes and/or Lincoln's late arrival into nearly complete projects.

4. China is a way of keeping Lincoln relevant (and producing some type of volume as well as market) while newer products come down the line.

Lincoln certainly isn't going all out to eventually be the American Bentley that GM is pushing Cadillac to be. But at least Ford is finally backing away from making Lincoln some type of environmental statement division they once considered.



.....plus, it now seems that a RWD Mustang based vehicle (could be either coupe or sedan) has finally been moved from the "twilight zone" and to the front burner.
 

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What's embarrassing for Lincoln is that recent crash test for the 2014 Lincoln MKS! I was disturbed seeing how that car's cabin basically caved like a car from the 70's.

Lincoln, Oh Lincoln, your road is a LONG one...
That car is old and is due to be replaced in a year or two. While they should have been updating the chassis to keep it current, I'm not even going to try and hold this one against them given their budget constraints.
 

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GM is pushing Cadillac to be an "American Bentley"? First time I've heard about that. Sounds unrealistic and wishful.

Anyway, Lincoln isn't doing anything new. They're merely bringing back their old formula from the 80s and 90s - classy mid-range vehicles. Black Label is pretty much a replacement for Designer Series.
 

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Lincoln's definition of world class luxury is a joke. Poor Lincoln. Their spin on luxury is embarrassing. Lincoln is trying to pretend but they don't have to. They just need to be real with their place in the automotive world. Lincoln is an upscale alternative to mainstream brands, like Buick, Acura, or Volvo and that's fine. Just don't pretend to be something you aren't.
When did Acura, Buick, and Volvo become mainstream?

I think you have your separation of mainstream, premium, and luxury wrong.

Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen are mainstream brands.

Buick, Mercury, Oldsmobile, and to some extent Hyundai/Kia (depends on which model) are premium brands.

Lincoln, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, Porsche, BMW, etc. are luxury brands.


If you want to break it down further:

Tier 1/entry level luxury: Lincoln, Acura, Infiniti, Volvo, etc.

Tier 2: BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, etc.

Tier 3: Rolls-Royce, Mayback, Bentley, Lamborghini, etc.
 

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In other words, no new news.

Goal is, complete and competitive lineup, with a high degree of customization available.
For the moment, that's as good of a goal as any.

Glad to see his son is a Pontiac fan. Good boy! That must get under Dad's skin a bit, eh? :)
 

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Lincoln must move away from building Ford clones. They don't have one original model in their line-up. I like the MKC a lot but would never buy one because I can get an Escape for much less and basically have the same car.
 

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Lincoln must move away from building Ford clones. They don't have one original model in their line-up. I like the MKC a lot but would never buy one because I can get an Escape for much less and basically have the same car.
The only "Clone" left at Lincoln is the MKX (Most sheetmetal shared with Ford Edge). That will be the case only a few more months.

Navigator will likely always be recognizable as an upmarket Expedition, like most of its competition is based on lower models.

You may know that the MKC is an Escape underneath, but none of the people buying EITHER VEHICLE know or care, if sales figures are any indication (and they always are).

with no RWD platform - how are they ever going to compete with Caddy and the Germans - and to an extent the Japanese lux markets? Lexus ES maybe (lol)
Maybe they don't want or need to?
 

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GM is pushing Cadillac to be an "American Bentley"? First time I've heard about that. Sounds unrealistic and wishful..
• On his mandate: “Mary Barra and Dan Ammann have been very explicit in their instructions: restore Cadillac to the pinnacle of global premium brands, not in sales but in aspirational brand character...
Will Cadillac compete directly with Bentley? Probably not. If I'm going to buy a Bentley, I'm going to buy a Bentley because I've already made up my mind. But it's clear that the orders are to put Cadillac out on the forefront of premium brands. I know they want to go back to where they were before the 50s. Before the 50s, they were still a choice considered against cars like Bentley. Only Cadillac wasn't hand made.

with no RWD platform - how are they ever going to compete with Caddy and the Germans - and to an extent the Japanese lux markets? Lexus ES maybe (lol)
guionM said:
.....plus, it now seems that a RWD Mustang based vehicle (could be either coupe or sedan) has finally been moved from the "twilight zone" and to the front burner.
 

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I don't hold much hope for Lincoln. They are really just on par with Buick and Buick sells better than Lincoln. Lincoln is just really Mercury taken over with the Lincoln name.
I think you're largely correct about Lincoln being a new Mercury, and that's just fine.


Mr. Mulally set this course years ago. Lincoln would be a line of up-market vehicles based on standard Ford platforms. If these vehicles were successful enough, then Lincoln would continue to exist. It's really that simple.

There's positively NOTHING WRONG with this. Given the circumstances the company had little choice.

Though Lincoln, and especially its dealers, have had a rough time of late, the new products have been well received by the market. We'll see if that continues. But Lincoln does not have to sell vehicles in huge numbers under this plan to prosper.
 

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I don't hold much hope for Lincoln. They are really just on par with Buick and Buick sells better than Lincoln. Lincoln is just really Mercury taken over with the Lincoln name.
+1
In Mercury's last full year of existence (2010), the U.S. sales tally for the brand was 93,195. It would be miraculous if Lincoln manages to reach that number in calendar year 2014 (YTD sales for Lincoln as of Sept. 30, 2014 came to 67,788).
 

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Will Cadillac compete directly with Bentley? Probably not. If I'm going to buy a Bentley, I'm going to buy a Bentley because I've already made up my mind. But it's clear that the orders are to put Cadillac out on the forefront of premium brands. I know they want to go back to where they were before the 50s. Before the 50s, they were still a choice considered against cars like Bentley. Only Cadillac wasn't hand made.
Back in those days, there weren't many luxury brands to pick from. Most died during the Great Depression. Cadillac was popular because there wasn't much competition in the luxury segment, and there were only two ultra-luxury brands at the time. That's why people believe they were just as good as Bentleys. However, Cadillac during that era was exclusive.
 
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