Have Ford’s Attempts To Reinvigorate Lincoln Been In Vain?

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It was late-2012 when Ford established The Lincoln Motor Company from its struggling Lincoln luxury brand, wedging some extra space between the premium marque and its mass-market parent in the hopes that it could reclaim some relevance in the market. The newly-formed Lincoln Motor Company was run at first by Jim Farley, now Ford President of Global Markets, before the reins were passed to Kumar Galhotra in September, 2014.

Galhotra has since been replaced by Joy Falotico, effective March 1st, as the 52-year-old executive was tapped to take over Raj Nair’s position as President in the North American market.

But has Ford’s decision to bestow its Lincoln luxury brand with a bit more autonomy been conducive to success? That’s the question posed Friday in a piece from 24/7 Wall St., which argues that The Lincoln Motor Company has been a commercial failure, its US sales “as bad as they have ever been.”

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“Sales fell 23% year over year in February and are down 25% for the first two months of the year,” the outlet says, noting the brand’s paltry 6,700 unit sales in February. “The sales of all its models but [the Navigator] declined, and most fell sharply.”

While true, January and February of 2018 were two outlier months in what has otherwise been a positive sales trend over the past few years. Lincoln Motor Company in 2016 saw its best sales since 2007 – just before the start of the Great Recession. Last year, brand sales declined less than one percent, from 111,724 to 111,159.

What’s more, transaction prices for new Lincoln vehicles are up $4,600 over last year, and for the month of January, prices were up by a staggering $8,700 over the same month the year prior.

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Of course, Lincoln’s rebound from 2014 through 2017 largely mirrored what was happening across the country, with US passenger vehicle sales peaking at 17.55 million new vehicles in 2016. Still, there’s plenty of cause to be optimistic about The Lincoln Motor Company’s future. We may just have to wait awhile before the company is able to match the impressive 231k sales it achieved back in 1990.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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13 Comments

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  1. There is plenty of room to grow Lincoln but they need to use the new front grill more wisely, it doesn’t look good on all the vehicles. And with most having the nondescript MK naming convention it’s very hard to tell the difference between vehicles.

  2. In smaller markets I think Lincoln should allow for its vehicles to be sold at Ford dealerships too.
    Here in Cayman Islands Lincoln sales were picking up nicely until about a year ago when our Lincoln / Ford Dealer was told they would have to build a dedicated Lincoln Dealership. With Lincoln sales just picking up (after many years of Little products marketing) it just wasn’t feasible. Those sales now going elsewhere – and with 50% of our population as transient Lincoln loses out on introducing its new vehicles to new owners who may have in turn bought Lincoln again later elsewhere after leaving here. Plus building relationships with locals too.

  3. Lincoln is basically the Buick of Ford Motor Company meaning that they are pretty much pointless in every way possible. The problem is they’re overpriced for one, they are bland and boring for two and nobody wants them for three. Take a look at the general motors corp for a moment and notice the vehicles they sell and the vehicles they don’t sell. The XTS didn’t do so hot which is why its one of the first to go. It’s a big, fat frumpy front wheel drive based vehicle that most people don’t want anymore. Cadillac has the super popular CTS and CT6 sedans that are working and selling a lot better than anything Lincoln has. Why? because they are rear wheel drive vehicles with optional all-wheel drive and they are good looking and exciting cars to drive and own. Also Cadillac has a mighty weapon on their side, the CTS-V which is basically a ZL1 Camaro in adult clothing. The ATS-V is a 1LE Camaro with a hot twin-turbo V6 under its hood and adult clothing. The Escalade is their super popular Tahoe/Suburban with luxury powered by a 6.2L push rod V8. It’s not some temperamental ecoboost V6, its a basic, standard push rod V8 engine. The new CT6 is an omega-platform Rear wheel drive based sedan that makes a statement when it goes down the street. It’s expressive, not a low budget copy of something else. Now I’ve personally driven the MKZ 3.0TT black label and the Lincoln Continental 3.0TT black label and they are very nice cars but they are nowhere near the same class as a Cadillac. They are more in the class of a Buick, a Volkswagen, a mid-range Toyota or something like that. Ford is finally starting to make the mustang a decent car (somewhat better than a Dodge but not quite a Camaro) so why not take the S550 chassis or the upcoming S650 chassis and start making sedans with that platform and use engines like the Gen-3 Coyote, the upcoming Gen-2 3.0T & the new 5.2L Predator and go from there. the new CD6 platform has promise for mid-sized SUV’s but if Ford is going to continue in this game then they need to listen to the enthusiasts out here who are still trying to be in their corner.
    Ford’s lineup should look something like this

    Focus: I understand the new Focus lineup is coming with a 275hp Focus ST and possibly a 400hp Focus RS Hybrid. This is a good starting point but these two options need to be offered in Sedan Form as well as Hatch form. They’d sell more and if we can put the Focus RS To 400hp the ST needs to be at 300hp. This should be Ford’s only input in the small car market with a base Focus model with a 1.6L Ecoboost offering about 250hp with AWD standard on all models with the ST & RS getting 6-speed manual transmissions.
    Mustang: Almost perfect (emphasis on Almost). In light of the new 400hp/442lb-ft torque 2.3L hybrid engine i would say put this exact variant of the new 2.3L Ecoboost in the car .Then take that car and put the current GT Mustang’s Performance Pack Level-2 suspension, brakes, wheels, etc on that car to match the Camaro V6 1LE, Also it should wear the ST moniker. Where the GT is concerned, I’m sorry but we need a better variant of the Coyote V8. Me personally, I’m thinking Ford should take the current 475hp Bullitt Gen-3 Coyote V8 and make a mild-hybrid setup like the rumored Focus RS 2.3L, add Tri-Y mid length exhaust manifolds that have a power spike in them for exhaust scavenging with separate high flow cats, The current exhaust system is by far the best Coyote exhaust system I’ve heard so far so it can stay, Make the 10-speed a DCT 10-speed, take the suspension from the GT350 and put it directly onto the GT along with the GT350 Brembo brakes and call it a day. The car should have about 490hp and 485lb-ft of torque when you get done. I don’t know what shortcomings the GT500 will have but we will address them when it is finally revealed and put on the street. Also the cars should have the new hybrid version of the Focus RS differential in the back of the car to improve handling and power delivery.
    Falcon: Take the S550/S650 chassis from the Mustang, stretch it and make it a capable sedan (like what dodge did with the Charger and make three models of it the ST, the GT and the Cobra with the 400hp/442tq 2.3L ecoboost hybrid, the mild-hybrid 490hp 5.0L V8 and the 700+ horsepower 5.2L predator V8 from the GT500 with all the equipment the mustang variants have put on the sedan but with and AWD system derived from the Focus RS but upgraded to fit the design and needs of the S550/S650 falcon.
    Those should be Ford’s 3 cars, in the gasoline segment. Even with those things, there should still be more than enough room left performance-wise that the Ford Performance segment can offer upgrades each of those cars. Superchargers, Borla exhaust systems, turbo upgrades, etc. The cars should also have optional upgrades from Ford for stereo systems such as Rockford Fosgate, better Recaro seat options, alcantara interiors, digital instrument clusters, Heads up displays, pedestrian detection, the FLIR night vision detection, lane departure warnings and all of that stuff that cars now come with.
    Now for the Ford SUV lineup
    Bronco: Please Ford, don’t screw this up, we are seriously counting on you for this here !!!! The Bronco needs to be a Bronco! It needs to resemble the Bronco from the Bronco6g renderings because that is a cool SUV! The 400hp/442tq 2.3L Hybrid would be an awesome choice in this vehicle followed by the Raptor 450hp/510tq 3.5L Ecoboost and a 3.0L Powerstroke diesel with 300hp and monstrous torque. This SUV needs Ford Performance upgrades such as snorkels, wheels, suspension stuff, brake upgrades, 32″ tire options, etc. Although rugged the SUV needs to be able to still have comfort to it, like the F150 Raptor does.
    Explorer: The new CD6 chassis explorer promises to be a step in the right direction. The new 2.3L 400hp/442tq ecoboost hybrid would be a great base engine for this vehicle. I understand that a new ST Variant is supposedly coming with this new explorer and i’m actually hoping that a 450hp/510 torque 3.5L ecoboost makes its way under the hood but with a better sounding exhaust. The current raptor sounds horrendous with any exhaust so hopefully Ford can make it sound closer to the Ford GT. The ST Explorer needs to have the 10-speed behind it, AWD, magnetic ride high performance suspension, GT350 Brembo brakes, a dual mode exhaust that sounds like the Ford GT, an Amazing performance interior and exterior and cool wheels 20″ wheels.
    Expedition: Does anyone buy SUVs this big anymore? It is a beautiful SUV, probably the best looking vehicles Ford has ever made hands down. Its beautiful in every sense of the word. I think the only gripe is that there is no V8 option for this but I would like to see Ford offer the 450hp/510 3.5L Ecoboost as an option for this since it’s not a vehicle that needs a loud exhaust system on it but it should have a good flowing dual exhaust system with quad tips on the end. I would say that plus the new 400hp/442lb-ft of torque 2.3L Ecoboost hybrid would be two really good engine choices for the big SUV.
    Ford’s truck lineup is pretty much where it needs to be. The ranger should be a very good addition to the lineup and i’m looking forward to the Wild track and Raptor Rangers. I would love to see the wild track with the 400hp/442tq 2.3L and the Ranger with a hot performance Diesel with a bunch of Ford Racing options for the both of them. The F150, as cool as it is, needs a better variant of the 5.0L. I would love to see Ford take the mustang GT Bullitt 5.0L V8, make a mild hybrid version with the 490hp like I mentioned above, drop that in the F150 and call it a day for the V8 variant. Then have the new 400hp/442lb-ft torque 2.3L mild hybrid ecoboost, the 3.0 Power stroke and the 5.2L Predator engine for the Raptor and that be the lineup for the F150. BTW the Limited F150 needs the mild-hybrid 5.0 as well and it should blur the lines between Ford and Lincoln just a little bit more similar to a Chevy Silverado High country/Sierra Denali or Ram Limited. The super duty trucks are amazing but of course GM & Mopar won’t rest so neither should Ford. I’m proposing a 500hp/1,000lb-ft torque Ecoboost 7.0L 427ci Power Stroke and have emblems on the side that say 427-Power Stroke!!!! now that would be sexy!
    As for Lincoln (which was why we are here anyway) the Motor company needs to have a coupe and a sedan on the S550/S650 platform.
    S550/S650 coupe/midsize sedan (Lincoln Mark-Ten) Yes I said it, the Lincoln Mark Ten. This needs to happen and it needs to happen now! This should be a direct fighter of the Cadillac CTS/CTS-V (CT5/CT5-V) Yes it does need to have the mild hybrid 490hp 5.0L V8, the mild hybrid 400hp 2.3L and the 5.2L predator, 10-speed DCT, magnetic ride and all-wheel drive along with huge Brembo brakes with gold painted calipers. It needs to be elegant and expressive and not boring or a knock off copy (you know what i’m talking about!) Even if it doesn’t outright beat Cadillac it needs to remind GM that we are still here!
    CD6 RWD based/AWD Lincoln Continental: Goodbye 3.0T and Hello 400hp/455tq 2.3L Mild Hybrid w/ 10-speed auto, magnetic ride, Brembo brakes w/ silver calipers, Focus RS derived AWD system and completely new styling that still say Continental. Now we all know that GM is planning a small twin turbo V8 for a higher performance derivative of the CT6 so Ford needs to plan accordingly. I would say drop in a mild hybrid 490hp 5.0L V8 for good measure since the Cadillac will be near 500hp with a small-displacement twin turbo V8.
    CD6 RWD based/AWD Lincoln Aviator: Return of the Legend and a combatant of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. As such I again go to the 2.3L 400hp mild hybrid ecoboost, the 490hp mild hybrid coyote and the upcoming 5.2L Predator engine. Performance still sells which is why vehicles like this are still being made and getting better by the year. Ford needs to keep up with all of this.
    THE LINCOLN NAVIGATOR: This was the bad boy of the big SUV world and has lost everything to the Cadillac Escalade. Even back in the day when it had the 335hp 5.4L V8 the Navigator was the best looking SUV on the market hands down. Now it’s the ugliest thing ever!!!! It needs to get its cool back and fast. The 450hp 3.5L is cool and i understand luxury and power is sometimes best served in silence but bland it should never be. Even classical music has its climatic roar that stirs emotion but is never overdone. It’s powerful, graceful and proper and that is how Lincoln should be. It’s interior needs more curves to the seats, it needs to firmly coddle its occupants and surround them in its luxurious embrace. it should massage while still offering support and bolstering like the continental does. (Best part about the current continental mind you.) The SUV needs to engage you as well just like Cadillac does. It needs to be able to handle itself like an athletic linebacker. Big, powerful, fast and agile. Obviously it’s no sports car, but it should have wider 22″ wheels and tires, sit lower to the ground, bigger brembo brakes with silver calipers, magnetic ride, a free flowing dual exhaust with quad tips with an exhaust note that is still dignified but gives just enough presence to let you know that its there like a Borla touring exhaust system. This should be a large “Grand Touring” SUV with the bad-boy attitude it had back in 1998.

    • Somebody has a little too much time on their hands here – although I love your enthusiasm. For starters Continental outsells CT6 and by a fairly big percentage – about 20%. I have been in both CT6 and Continental and the interior in the Continental (and Navigator for that matter) is fair superior than the CT6 or any other Caddy – there is some cheap plastic in the CT6 and all Caddys.

      Interesting here is that with the Expedition “it’s a beautiful SUV, probably the best looking vehicles Ford has ever made hands down” yet the Navigator “is the ugliest thing ever” – dude have you seen the profile on both – they are practically the same vehicle. Grills and tail lamps don’t make the entire vehicle. The previous gen Nav looked dated stoogy, the new Nav is clean.

        • not sure how anyone can have such contrasting reactions to 2 vehicles that are basically 90% the same vehicle (at least in the looks dept). Now I can understand if the comparison was Fusion/MKZ or Escape/MKC (Impala/LaCrosse at GM) that are mechanically-similar cousins but little shared sheet metal. I’d suggest going for an eye test my friend.

    • You seem to be a bit mistaken with your #s there buddy. The XTS is the best selling Cadillac sedan. Not to mention by quite a large margin.

      February 2018 Cadillac sales (sedans):

      ATS: 1388
      CTS: 886
      CT6: 846
      XTS: 1934

      *in order of size……. yes the XTS has more interior volume than the CT6.

      Yes a large portion of XTS sales are to fleets, but the XT5 (FWD, CUV, currently best selling Caddy model); outsold the likes of the MB GLE and BMW X5 (as of Jan 2018). The only other model to outsell it was the Lexus RX.

      To address your comment about GM continuing to utilize a V8….. I agree. I sat in the new 2018 Navigator recently at the auto show, and I must give credit where credit is due…… It was amazing. The interior was great, the sunroof was huge and it felt miles above the Escalade in terms of quality. However, if it were my money, I would still buy the Caddy due solely to the column shift and the V8. The TTV6 may be faster, and get better MPG (in theory, not real world), but you cannot beat the sound of a good ‘ol V8.

  4. more thoughts on the Explorer ST/ Aviator high performance variant. The Ford GT super car has a lot of really cool features about it as far as suspension and Aerodynamics. I would like to see some of that tech applied to the Explorer ST and Aviator. Both vehicles should have the adjustable height suspension and the Ford GT Supercar Brembo brakes while regular variants should have the Mustang GT Brembo brakes just painted in silver with Lincoln etched in the Lincoln vehicles.

  5. Why would I go to a FORD/Lincoln dealer to buy a Lincoln. All a Lincoln is , is a “gussied” up Ford for 10,000 dollars more. Basically you drive into a Ford dealership to buy one and the marquee has Ford/Lincoln on it. See what Lexus does. Some Lexus models are gussied up Toyotas BUT, here is the big but, they are stand alone dealerships with a LEXUS experience and it is a good one. I won’t look at a Cadillac for the same reason. I am not going to buy a Cadillac from a Chevy dealer. When buying a luxury brand I want the exclusivity of the brand and the upscale service that you pay for when you buy the car. The Lincoln brand could go away. There are enough upscale Ford models to satisfy everyone.

  6. Why don’t Lincoln SUV’s have the sexy grill anymore, like the 2013’s did? Loved all the shiny chrome look. Their grills now look like Ford’s leftovers! Also loved all the woodgrain on interior. Class!!!

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