Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lincoln Motor Company

                The automotive industry here in the United States has drastically changed in just a few years.  We are used to seeing models come and go but now it has become more and more common to see brands themselves close down.  We haven’t seen this exodus from the market since the Great Depression.   Chrysler itself looked dangerous of closing its doors completely.  General Motors lost many brands.  The once cash cow Hummer is gone.  The brand of the future, Saturn seems like a sad failed experiment.   Saab was sold off and at the moment I am writing is out of business.  Pontiac was done away with despite some strong offerings like the G8 sedan.  Ford Motor Company has looked the strongest in this bleak time due mostly to a strong European offering.  However, Ford is not immune and it too sold off Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and super car maker Aston Martin.  Long time Ford owned brand Mercury was slowly put into the ground.  Now Ford is looking to possibly do the same to the Lincoln brand.

                This year Lincoln is pushing out a new ad campaign to bring more buyers into the leather seats of Lincoln.  Does this really have a chance to work?  There is no doubt a successful car brand needs a successful marketing plan.  But, that cannot be the only change to be made.  Currently the range of offerings from Lincoln are truly overprices luxury versions of Ford cars.  Make no mistake the new Ford cars are top of the line.  If you are looking to buy a new car you should stop by a Ford dealership.  Just stay away from anything with a Lincoln badge on it because you are over paying. 

                I cannot actually remember the last time I saw a new Lincoln and even thought “wow that’s an interesting car”.  All I see is a lot of badge engineering.   If Lincoln is to change their current image it will take more than a smart marketing ploy.  In the last decade Lincoln rival Cadillac has done much to improve its image from that of cars for retirees to drive under 45 miles per hour, to exciting and fresh cars that youthful buyers are drawn to.  How did they do it?   Well a big part of the credit goes to the Escalade which was being bought and shown off by countless hip-hop artists and professional athletes alike.  It was a correctly cool Cadillac that hadn’t been around since maybe Elvis drove a Cadillac. Cadillac also went racing.  In order to bring excitement to its new performance sedan the CTS, a racing program was built from scratch.  And when the CTS-V came out, all of sudden Cadillac was winning on the track and the showroom. 

                So should Lincoln go racings? Hardly.  It might work but I think the buyers have already seen that and they are smart enough to know they want something different.  Some have said Lincoln and Ford in general needs a rear wheel drive sedan in order to compete against European rivals like BMW.  Ford executives and leaders have stated the reason we won’t see a sedan like this because Ford is focused on fuel economy.  That’s what Lincoln needs to do.  Lincoln does offer hybrid versions of its line because the Ford counterparts the Lincolns are based on offer hybrids.  I think Lincoln needs to engineer a brand that is the most fuel efficient brand in the United States.  Lincoln isn’t going to be a best buy or the most luxurious brand but it could be the leader in fuel mileage.  This would require a lot of money invested into the brand but it would also show the buyers that Ford is serious about this. 

                  Lincoln will not survive without major change.  It cannot be just talk and overpriced Ford cars.  The buyers aren’t dumb.  Lincoln right now is a middle of the pack car brand if I am being nice.  In the automotive industry if you aren’t leading then you might as well be in last place.  Lincoln isn’t leading at anything right now.  If Ford wants to rebuild this brand and be known as the most fuel efficient company in the industry then make Lincoln the example.  If Lincoln was number 1 ahead of Toyota and ahead of Honda it would turn the industry on its head and prove to customers Lincoln will be for real from now on.

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