What Is Ford Thinking With Lincoln?

The new Lincoln MKZ is a striking car, but so far it hasn't sold well. Photo credit: Ford Motor Company

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Ford (NYSE: F  ) owned a whole bunch of different auto brands.

There was Jaguar and Land Rover and Volvo and Mazda and Mercury and Lincoln and even James Bond's favorite ride, tiny British supercar maker Aston Martin.

They're all gone now, sold off during Ford's wrenching restructuring, casualties of CEO Alan Mulally's determination to focus the whole company behind one single line of products.

All gone, that is, except for Lincoln.

Of all of the brands Ford once owned, the only one it kept was an ancient luxury brand started by Edsel Ford -- a brand that in recent years has been known mostly for airport limos.

For a while, I thought I knew why. Just as General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) is doing with Cadillac, I figured that Ford would completely overhaul Lincoln, turning it into a high-margin, high-profit global luxury-car powerhouse.

GM's overhaul of Cadillac is starting to look legit. But I still don't understand what Ford is thinking with Lincoln.

The change that got things rolling -- only it didn't
I admit that I got excited when Ford put Jim Farley in charge of Lincoln last year. You probably haven't heard of Farley, but inside the auto industry, he's a big deal. Alan Mulally once described him to me as Ford's "secret weapon."

Before Farley joined Ford, he worked at Toyota (NYSE: TM  ) -- where he was the general manager of Lexus. In other words, he's a guy with firsthand experience running a great luxury-car brand. He seemed like a great choice to turn Lincoln into something special.

But so far, it's not happening, despite a marketing overhaul for "The Lincoln Car Company" that launched in December.

The latest Lincolns are pretty cars, but they're not hitting home runs with critics the way Ford's mainstream cars always seem to do. More to the point, they're not selling. The Ford brand's sales were up almost 7% last month. Lincoln's? Down 22.5%.

It doesn't help that Ford botched the launch of the latest Lincoln, the MKZ sedan, holding up production for weeks because of quality issues -- while a huge national ad campaign was running. Intrigued potential customers visited dealers, only to find no cars.

That didn't help Lincoln's rep with the customers or with its dealers.

Ford's magic has so far eluded Lincoln
Lately, everything that Ford has launched has seemed to be an instant success -- except for Lincoln. Go back through Ford's new-vehicle launches over the past couple of years -- Fusion, Escape, Focus, Explorer. All big hits with critics and buyers. In some cases, Ford hasn't been able to make enough to meet demand.

But where are Lincoln's hits? So far, that new-product magic has eluded Ford's luxury brand. Lincoln doesn't have a single gotta-have product, just a confusing stew of alphabet-soup model names. No car stands out; no car gets big attention.

It's possible that those gotta-have products are coming, of course. It's possible that Ford has a big vision for Lincoln, that the company is quietly laying the groundwork (and making the investments) for a big brand renaissance that will be clear to all of us in a couple of years.

But I don't know. I'm not getting the sense that something like that is happening. And because so much of what Ford has done under Mulally has been excellent, that leaves me wondering what's going on here.

Does Lincoln need a "farewell address"?
Veteran auto journalist David Kiley recently wrote at Autoblog that "Lincoln needs a farewell address," not an overhaul. I'm not sure I agree -- at least not yet -- but Lincoln clearly needs something that it's not getting: a strong new direction, and great new products that work with that direction.

Is it coming? Or should Ford put the Lincoln brand out of its misery, as Kiley argues, and maybe start over with a whole new brand, as Toyota did with Lexus not so long ago?

Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:13 AM, ahazimeh wrote:

    ford should do something about the gril of the lincoln cars and make it look like the crystler 300 because the younger generation is going for that type of look and that will bring in a good amount of buyers.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:45 AM, staceyandjoe wrote:

    I finally got my MKZ last week and so far, the car is already falling apart. check engine light came on twice and my glass roof was stuck open, and the touch screen system is so confusing, it takes a NASAS engineer to figure out how to control certain things.

    lincoln has failed and they should drop the brand before it hurts the overall company.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:46 AM, TxPat wrote:

    I own a Town Car - not made anymore, unfortunately. One of the best cars we ever owned and very comfortable. The new cars may appeal to the younger set, but most of them are hard to get in and out of just not as comfortable to ride in.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:50 AM, homelessgdog wrote:

    Not to concerned about Ford. Even less concerned about Lincoln. I hope both do well good for our American workers. Nothing they make excites me.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:56 AM, jmt21022 wrote:

    Every Lincoln right now is nothing but a warmed over Ford, nothing new. And their choice of design is absurd at best. And no, they don't need to go to a Chrysler grill. That's not what people are looking for unless you live in the ghetto! I will put my '03 LS V8 up against anything Lincoln is making right now in terms of power, comfort, handling, reliability and mpg. They need to start listening to what people buying cars really want. I have been a Ford fanatic since 1970 and looking forward to new offerings from Lincoln the last couple years. I may just have to look elsewhere.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:04 AM, ServicedLincolns wrote:

    Lincoln is definately going in a way that is making thier previous customers uncomfortable. Town Car owners are very loyal to that car, and taking that away hurts the brand. My customers have made it clear that they will not purchase another Lincoln, they don't like the style. Young buyers don't have any interest in a Lincoln. I think that Cadillac will take over the market for any current Lincoln owners.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:10 AM, fknottyfor wrote:

    I own a Town Car because it's great for long distance driving. Ford's abandonement of the Town Car will drive me to Infinity/Lexus/Acura, not whatever Lincoln's latest model designation is.

    Not everyone is interested in a Cadillac look-alike and, if they were, they'd buy a Cadillac, not a Taurus warm-over.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:12 AM, Gorilla10 wrote:

    With most of the cars looking the same anymore I can't tell one car from the other. Why spend that much money for a Lincoln that looks like a Fusion.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:17 AM, wigginsrl wrote:

    The new MKZ is underpowered. Period. I don't understand this. The original Lincoln mistique was big, powerful, luxurious. There was even a song "hot-rod Lincoln". Now the best you can get is a turbo 2L or the mild-mannered 3.7 V6? Why, when the excellent 3.5 turbo and 5L V8 are available in lesser Fords? What scares me about this is, it suggests whoever's making the decisions understands nothing about their target customers, the younger car buyers!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:18 AM, spuhworm wrote:

    Some things Lincoln could do, pretty cheaply, is give their cars actual names. Produce a new Mark with the ersatz tire hump on the trunk lid. Put the "bull's eye" ornament back on the front..can't hurt the gas mileage that much. In short, give your product back its differential advantage.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:21 AM, mm6175mm02915 wrote:

    As a member of a family that has owns 5 Mark VII coupes and 3 Mark VIII coupes, I plead that they start building a full to mid size coupe again. Also, give the models names instead of the MK# designations. They need to have the designer series cars like in the 70's, but use current fashion designers like Burberry, Louie Vitton, Nautica, Coach, etc. This is why the Lincolns of the 70's didn't all look alike.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:22 AM, EuSnake wrote:

    "The latest Lincolns are pretty cars, but they're not hitting home runs...". Comments like these are the reasons that totally mislead the manufacturers. I remember when they redesigned the Thunderbird for the last time and reading comments by every auto magazines how "beautiful" it was, and I was saying how "UGLY" it was. I predicted then it was going to "kill" the car - and the rest is history! When is Detroit going to realize that a beautiful design sells a car. Put all the bells and whistles and latest technologies in a car in an ugly body design, doors and lines that don't line up, and I will NOT buy it. Look at Hyundai cars and their finish. I droll everytime I see one passes by!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:26 AM, m777k wrote:

    As an airport limo the Lincoln has NO competition.

    There's a hint for you grey flannel suits! I drive an airport limo - a Lincoln towne and ferry a host of very rich very successful people of ALL age groups. The number one thing people say is GEE THIS IS SUCH A GREAT AND COMFORTABLE CAR - BETTER THAN MY. . . .(insert any luxury brand here)

    As far as the drive - it's the best. We have a dozen cars with almost 300,000 miles on them and they drive like new. Super driveability. Quick response. Excellent maneuverability. Great power. It's got it ALL. We need to buy three dozen MORE but guess what . . . Ford's not making them. Here is the central problem with the Big Three - They don't LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS and don't read the sales figures of the past. MORONS all.

    If you need help - look to the KOREANS - The Hyundai is a monster hit and quite a value.

    Ford needs to REVIVE the LINCOLN and RETIRE its executives who spend too much time playing golf and schmoozing with bankers.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:37 AM, fingerlakes54 wrote:

    Lincoln went through this type of loss of identity in the 1950's. Robert McNamara [later to become Sec. Of Defense] wanted to kill the brand. Lincolns last chance was the 1961 "slab side" Lincoln Continental which was supposed to be a Mercury. The 1961 also had the 4 door convertible which became very famous. Though much more expensive than a Cadillac the Lincolns went on to sell very well. With some imagination you can see the extra sharp clean lines of the Lincolns from 1961-1997. It was easy to spot a Lincoln because it did not have the "melted Jelly Bean" style most cars have. It was in a class of it's own. McNamara didn't get his death wish for Lincoln but went on and lost the War in Vietnam.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:39 AM, MichaelPhelps wrote:

    My first Lincoln was a 1968 Continental (Suicide Doors) . . . Lincoln had the reputation of being an "older-successful man's car). I was 25! When I first relocated to NYC, all you saw were Cadillac

    and Cadillac Limos. Within a few short years, the Lincoln Continental and Lincoln Limos overtook Cadillac. My next Lincoln was a 1970 Mark III. In 1973, I went back to the "Town Car". I have been driving Lincolns since 1968 and will drive NOTHING else. My 2003 Town Car has 198,651 miles (just checked) - NEVER a mechanical problem. The interior luxury is unmatched by any car. I am looking for a 2009-2011 Town Car now. I'll keep my 2003 for my German Shepherd (his daily rides to his park). I will NOT buy any of the new MKZ, MKS or MKX! They are FORS Taurus with the Lincoln Star attached. SAD! LINCOLN execs should bring back the TOWN CAR - they can still meet the Fed gas mileage and environmental regulations. NO TOWN CAR = NO SALES for LINCOLN!!!! VERY SAD!

    Michael Phelps (The Author - NOT the Olympic Champion).

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:40 AM, ajjr100 wrote:

    My daughter and I visited the Detroit Auto Show in 2011 and viewed the new Lincoln. In my opinion it is a beautiful automobile. The have reduced the grill significantly, yet kept the identity. The new Lincoln has some futuristic features like the "self-steer" capability on highways (still can't figure how they got that through their lawyers). Branding and development takes a good three years. Ford is a great company and they will be successful with this venture. As for a full blown "Town Car" like the '90s - forget it. EPA and foreign competition have proven that the mistakes of the 80s and 90s will not be repeated. The minimal "big car" market is not going to be attempted for the small number of sales - although tell me why large truck sales do so well?

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:42 AM, 1CaptFun wrote:

    Ford executives need to get their heads out of the wrong place. They are trying to revive an old name. They should be building a new platform for the Lincoln. Look what GM is doing with the Cadillac. Customers who want to buy Lincolns, want rear wheel drive, a comfortable ride, a car that will transport five people in comfort with luggage. The Lincoln will not do any of the above. Re-design the car give the people what they want and business will increase!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:53 AM, aksdndndnd wrote:

    The iconic Linclons' of years past all looked distinctively like.......Lincolns. Today you can't tell a Lincoln from a dozen other cars.

    Ford has not given me any reason why I should pluck down $40,$50,$60,000 dollars on a card that no one cares about.

    The only statement that Lincoln makes today is the one that people wonder why you wasted so much money on a has-been.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:53 AM, HoTrOdLiNc96 wrote:

    I previously owned an 04 LS and currenlty a 96 Mark VIII. both rear wheel drive V8 cars. Plenty of power good mileage. I am not nor have I ever been fond of front wheel drive or anything less than a V8 which is why I wont buy a Lincoln any time soon. And i sure as h@%$ will never buy a Crapilac. When I get ready to buy another car if Lincoln hasnt figured out how to build another rear wheel drive car with a V8 I will either buy a Mustang or rebuild the Mark 8.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:56 AM, hot10 wrote:

    I bought a 2010 MKZ and am very satisfied with the car! He biggest problem I have had is on dealership issues. Am wondering if Ford hires people who really put customer service as "Job #1". We have two dealers in town and I have gone to the dealer I did not buy car from and am satisfied. Dealerships need to be improved!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:04 PM, ChrisChenoweth wrote:

    I have to admit that I am shocked. I think it's sad. Ford used to have the best designers especially at Lincoln decades ago. They have ads running on the airplane screens continuously (I fly a lot), talking extensively about interior design, fabric choices etc. Then they show the completed interior, which truthfully looks like an upscale Mazda dashboard. I have owned several Lincolns in the 70s and 90s. They were good cars, but basically upscale Crown Victoria's.

    The design of this new car outside totally misses the mark. Plus all the alphabetic letters for names, I'm fairly intelligent, and I can't figure it out. I walked over to a Lincoln dealer recently when having my car serviced at a nearby dealer, the show room was empty of people, the cars looked like they were from the 90s. I saw a design concept a few years ago ago of a retro four-door Continental update, that truly looked like a luxury car. Haven't heard anything more about that one?

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:07 PM, gmstick wrote:

    "...just a confusing stew of alphabet-soup model names."

    You mean like: "ATS, XTS, CTS ,CTS-V, SRX?" Oh, wait: that would be CADILLAC.

    Or LS, GS, ES, IS? (Lexus); or C/E/S/CL/CLS-Class? (Mercedes). Picky-Picky.

    Mr. Rosevear: have you actually DRIVEN the new MKZ? It's not a "refreshed previous model. Please drive one, and THEN write about your impressions.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:16 PM, atrotman1 wrote:

    When it comes to Lincoln I have the fix, first they must get away from using Ford's platform and go back to what worked for them so many years ago.

    First the need a true Luxury Car ( TOWN CAR/ rear wheel drive) they need to bring it back, you need a flagship and the town car is it and it should have a "refined version of the 5.0."

    Then they need to bring back the Lincoln LS or Continental rear wheel drive as the next size down with a refined V6.

    Then the MKZ needs to go back to the Zephyr name and continue with it's platform but get rid of the stupid grill

    They also need a 2 true coupe one rear wheel drive high output V8 (Marauder) and one front wheel/awd combo call it the Lincoln new mark series V6 HO, Plus a two seat covetable can accompany both coupes.

    As fare as there SUV go a redesign MKX is needed with a more curvy look V6 Rear/ AWD. the MKT need a complete redesign and needs to be lighter give these SUV better looks and they will sell. I like the MKC idea just try to make look and feel like a Lincoln.

    Lincoln also needs a performance arm to get the excitement out, this use to be a great company Ford needs to bring back the great cars and names that made Lincoln great, it can be done.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:23 PM, Mikado2k wrote:

    I have just read most of the comments written and figured I needed to put mine in. The jest of the comments that stood out was what I feel. A warmed over ford. Even look on the website under future vehicles and what do you see, a warmed over ford. Think back to the 180’s. The Lincoln Town Car that was a true Lincoln. Nothing looked like it and when you drove one you knew that. The Navigator/Expedition and the Mark LT/F150 are fine examples of why Lincoln is not making it. Turn off the oven and Make a true Lincoln Truck and it will sell. A true Lincoln SUV. A true Lincoln Luxury Town Car.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:24 PM, twhorselover wrote:

    It's because the new Lincolns are ugly!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:28 PM, Kizashi wrote:

    Lincoln rightfully phased out the Town Car. The model was a dinosaur and doing nothing to attract younger buyers or a larger market. Ford could have been developing Lincoln long ago, but decided to buy the Jaguar and Land Rover names for their instant upscale and Hollywood crowd appeal instead, then developed them into profitable makes.

    Unfortunately, they then liquidated those successful investments to Tata Motors and kept the largely ignored Lincoln brand. They should have kept Jaguar and Land Rover as their luxury brands and killed Lincoln.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:34 PM, Rowlandville wrote:

    I love Detroit Iron. Most Americans do! So why is Lincoln trying to look Japanese?

    Lincoln's stellar history: The Mark series. the early 60s 4-door convertibles. the Town Cars! Each are iconic pieces of American history. So why in the hell is Lincoln mimicking Lexus (like Lexus used to mimic Mercedes)? Who reading this has any emotional connection with those designs?

    Cadillac is running with a modern interpretation of their stacked headlights and vertical tail lamps. Boom! Instant connection! Lincoln had that same option, and its 2007 MKX took that approach. Look at that grill. It oozed with early 1960s cool. That one connection gave car guys goosebumps. They could have built on that! So why did they create another line of cars that looks - no surprise - like Toyotas? Crazy.

    One last note, if you want to see how badly Lincoln is dropping the ball, check out Cadillac's Ciel concept car. THAT should have been Lincoln's concept! More than that, it should have been Lincoln's signature production car.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:40 PM, doc82 wrote:

    the problem with lincoln is the quality of their cars. in 2001 i bought a fully loaded LS for $45,000. it came with every option i could imagine.

    fast forward 11 years when i went to buy a 2012 mkz. gone are the luxury options of the past.

    gone is the electronic tilt wheel. it has been replaced with the same cheap lock lever in the escort.

    the $1,000 additional navigation system has less options and under-performs my $99 garmin. it doesn't load the roads that are coming up, lots of stuff isn't even on their maps.

    the seats in my ls are real leather. the seats in the mkz are band-aid-style seats. who wants holes in their leather seats? the lumbar only comes out half as far as the LS.

    even the buttons in the LS were nice. the mkz has buttons almost like those on hospital beds. real real real cheap.

    the worst thing for lincoln was to discontinue the towncar. lincoln will try to claim that the MKT and the MKX are now towncars, but they're just crossovers. NOT CARS! no respectable lincoln owner would be caught dead in one of these, not to mention the PT cruizer style concept they are thinking of making. If they really want to keep lincoln a luxury car brand, then they need to actually make a luxury car, and it needs to be a car.

    i ended up getting a CTS-V coupe (from cadillac) because they're the only luxury car brand that still offers LUXURY and CARS!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:41 PM, evansmee wrote:

    I too have read this article and agree with the majority of the posters here. I too am a loyal Lincoln Town Car owner and am saddened that Lincoln has stopped production of this vehicle. The Town Car stood its ground and filled a need for many whether for limo service or full size luxury vehicle. The Lincoln Town car is always a recognized vehicle that stood above the rest. We are not sure which new vehicle we will replace our town car with in time, but it will not be one of the new Lincoln models. This loyal long time town car owner is moving on. Will it be Cadillac, Chrysler, or Lexus? Time will tell! Lincoln has missed the boat on this one! They might try listening to their customers and dealers on this one. I have yet to find a Lincoln dealer that agrees with the demise of the town car. Take heed Lincoln!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:41 PM, doc82 wrote:

    the mkz is nothing more than a ford fusion.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:46 PM, doc82 wrote:

    for those who think lincoln was right to discontinue the towncar:

    who asked you? you couldn't afford one anyway. just get a focus and be done with it. everyone who can afford one still wants one. they are the only style car that actually has prestige.

    so until they start making new towncars, or until i can find a 2011 lincoln towncar signature L, black, with black leather interior, heated seats, and a moon roof...(not a fleet or rental car)...i'll just sit on my pile of money.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:46 PM, autofool1 wrote:

    Lincoln Motor Company: Founded Detroit, Michigan, United States

    (August 1917)

    Founder Henry M. Leland

    The company encountered severe financial troubles in 1922, was forced into bankruptcy and sold for US$8,000,000 to the Ford Motor Company on February 4, 1922.

    The purchase of Lincoln was a personal triumph for Henry Ford.

    When Ford acquired Lincoln, it quickly became one of America's top selling luxury brands.

    Placed under the direction of direction of Henry's son Edsel, in 1923 several body styles were introduced, that included two- and three-window, four-door sedans and a phaeton that accommodated four passengers.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:46 PM, akitadad wrote:

    The is nothing "mild" about the power of MKZ's 6 cylinder! Step on it, and see what happens. I am on my second "Z", not happy they changed the platform to a Focus, the old one was better.

    Yes, they are WAY overpriced, but what a great car! I will buy nothing but Lincoln.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:48 PM, doc82 wrote:

    the new lincolns look like joan rivers after her botox.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:52 PM, homopithicus wrote:

    Do not be bullied by the japanese cars. Lincoln has a great reputation as a last hold out car. 1979 was the last of the giant American car and it was the Lincoln. 2011, the last bench seat six passenger car,, Lincoln Towncar. Ford needs to stay with the big man market. Build Lincolns for men six and seven feet tall. A man sized car so tall people are not forced to buy a pickup truck !

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 12:54 PM, doc82 wrote:

    for those who unfortunately bought an mkz:

    yes, i have driven one. i couldn't get out of the dealership fast enough. i couldn't see paying $50,000 for a focus. the v-6 is very underpowered. (yes, it is). don't believe me? wanna race for pinks? of course when i win i have to try to sell a focus/mkz.

    what's it's top speed? 120? how is that going to beat my 10.4 second LS?

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 1:04 PM, jeepdude911 wrote:

    Ford wisely put the Mercury marque to bed a few years ago. It should do the same with Lincoln. The other thing it should do has to do with not following the Dodge Sprinter into building a flimsy excuse for a van. The E series van should stay body on frame with an optional Power Stroke diesel. As an EMT I can say with absolute certainty that the 2004 -2006 E-350 Diesel was the best ambulance platform known to mankind and enabled the saving of many lives. Don't kill it, Ford.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 1:11 PM, pramah523 wrote:

    Dear Ford/Lincoln

    I purchased a 2009 MKS new in 2009. I had so much trouble with wheel noise and imperfect ride that the vehicle which I "thought" was cool was "snot". I hope Lincoln can get it together and bring a luxury car to the market which is heads above its little sister

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 1:24 PM, CitizenUSA wrote:

    That GRILL has got to GO !!!!

    I can afford any car I want but I would not buy any car that looked like the new Lincolns

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 1:43 PM, Gunny1947 wrote:

    Ford should bring back the Lincolns of 30's,and 40's! they would sell like hot cakes! Beautiful cars they were!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 1:43 PM, mguir wrote:

    My 12 year old son says the new Lincoln cars all look like they have old time mustaches. Now that is all I see when I look at them.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:10 PM, Twinwillow wrote:

    I have a bit over 14,000 miles on my 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

    The car is very comfortable and the ride is great. Plus, I've not had any problems

    whatsoever!

    My dealer is great and the hybrid engine can easily exceed OVER 50 mpg on many trips. Although, 38-44 mpg is the norm.

    For those familiar with the Lincoln Hybrid, I have four full white flower blooms on the dash display.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:16 PM, flash52856 wrote:

    I am a loyal Lincoln Town Car customer and have owned several through the years. There is not a car out there that can combine to the smooth ride of a Town Car. I have close to 200,000 miles on my 2002 Lincoln Town Car and was looking to trade it in someday for a brand new Lincoln Town Car which Ford discontinued. They should bring back the Town Car its a successful man's car, roomy stylish, what a big mistake having all those new Lincoln with the alphabet names. I guess I will be looking to purchase a caddy.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:18 PM, dhw04105 wrote:

    The only value left in Lincoln is the name. It still equals American elegance. Unfortunately, Ford has done everything possible to trash that equation as if they never understood it in the first place. The latest ad has images of eagles soaring and a guy wearing a stove top hat. WTF. It's so clear they are confused and have no clue.

    Why not simply show the targeted demographic using their vehicle in sophisticated settings and make damn sure the quality is there to make it believable.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:18 PM, skibum50 wrote:

    Lincoln needs to re-think the way the front end looks....it is as bad as the Edsell...and the results will be similar....change it to a more muscular look & get rid of that grill...ASAP

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:26 PM, Strato102 wrote:

    The MK this and MK that naming convention for Lincoln is insane. The Mark series went out a long time ago - get over it and come up with some real, memorable names for Lincoln products.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 2:29 PM, Twion300zx wrote:

    I know that I may not be formally trained but I have some ways to bring Lincoln back. Ford can email me if they want to talk. I work for way less than the current guy and probably harder. I have a passion for this. I'm serious.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 4:10 PM, 00towncar wrote:

    Lincoln has always said Luxury to me. Expensive but very much worth it. It has always been exemplified by it's style, elegance, size, ride and look of class. You dont buy a Lincoln for gas mileage or if you are on a budget, you buy a Lincoln for comfort, style and luxury and roominess. The Town Car should have remained and been re worked as their flagship like it always was. The Lincoln is not a race car, nor should it handle like one. LUXURY is what it is all about.

    Return to making the Town Car, and get rid of the rough riding, expensive ford escort with a lincoln emblem, mkz, mks, and the other throw aways.

    I own a Town Car and would like to replace it with another Town car, but I will be forced to buy a Cadillac instead.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 4:18 PM, 97TownCar wrote:

    Having read the comments posted, I believe the majority of people have summed it up well.

    1. Stop with the bland look-alike cars that show no passion for the classic motor car.

    2. Stop with the alphabet soup names.

    3. Bring back a retro look Lincoln from the '60's, like Ford did with the Mustang in 2005. Rear wheel drive with a V8.

    4. Bring back the rwd Town Car, and offer some designer-styled versions, like they did in the late '70's. They were so stylish!

    I love my '97 Town Car! So smooth, with plenty of power. 146,000 miles with routine maintenance so far. In close to showroom condition, Lady Lincoln still gets "thumbs up" from lots of people when I'm driving around town.

    I'd bet they'd have a huge hit if they re-made the mid-60's Continental convertible. Baby boomers ain't dead yet...make somethiing to appeal to us!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 4:29 PM, vinnieboiblue wrote:

    If FORD, really wants to make Lincoln a Premium American Car brand to compete with the best, it needs to give Lincoln, Autonomy in creating its own cars and not share pieces with FORD, except maybe technology and engines. A reskinned FORD with leather interiors and redesigned dash boards just does not cut it anymore. People want to drive a car that says Lincoln, and not FORD or they would just order a high end FORD.

    GM has done it with the recent released Cadillac ATS and upcoming CTS. The ATS is unique in that it does not share a thing with any of its brand siblings, not until 2015 when the next Chevrolet Camaro will be built off the ATS chassis. So if FORD wants to succeed in making Lincoln a legitimate player in the Luxury brand market, give it space and autonomy, and you will see the end results for a better product.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 4:36 PM, walleandeve wrote:

    Lincoln has mostly trucks and SUV's, oh, and a couple of cars, too! Are they supposed to be to Ford what GMC is to GM? I would like to see a nice 5-pass, RWD CAR (not truck) to better the Cadillac XTS. And with a V8. The Caddy only comes with a V6, but you can get a V8 from Hyundai, for goodness sake!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 5:18 PM, Vesuvius1 wrote:

    Had a Lincoln Navigator for many years. Liked it. When it came to buying a new care in 2010, I didn't like the look of the MKX or the new Navigator. Switched to Cadillac and got an SRX. No plans to go back.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 5:20 PM, davidv935 wrote:

    Lincoln needs to benchmark the other luxury brands (not what younger buyers want) to understand the motivators of that customer segment, then design a set of models to be best-in-class in each segment they intend to compete. My perception of Lincoln is that it is the cheap alternative of the luxury brands which for me means it is competing against top-line Toyota, Nissan, Buick, etc. instead of competing with Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac, etc..

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 5:32 PM, davidv935 wrote:

    To endorse and embellish on a few of the other comments, the new design must be a distinctive head-turner. One commenter hit that nail on the head by stating the body design is what brings you to the dealership. But that must be followed with world-class technology in a luxurious cabin.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 6:01 PM, texcruzzer wrote:

    Well at least there are posts on the subject. Lincoln does need a shot of individuality. They have no marquis model, just "me too" models. I would hope they use the new Mustang platform and build a two seat luxury sports car with a turbocharged 5.0. That would set it apart, as long as they incorporate some really vintage Lincol styling. Throw out the aerodynamics and give us a modern interpretation of the 1961 Contenintal as the styling theme for all of their models, not this wussy butterfly (not waterfall) grille crap. Make it unique in a world of me too design. That, and performance, is what is saving Cadillac. Wake up Allan. Fire the Lexus guy, they have become me too's also.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 7:02 PM, NJB53 wrote:

    My husband has a 2011 MKZ Hybrid and says it's the best car he's ever owned. We have owned many different models of Lexus for the last 20 years and traded one in for this car. He puts on several miles a year and gets phenomenal mileage ( 41 mpg) at the same time it's a lovely luxury car. It's heavy and handles beautifully. I am waiting for them to bring out the MKX line in a hybrid and will trade in my Prius for one. We are very satisfied with Lincoln.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 7:40 PM, billf111 wrote:

    What Lincoln needs is a return to the Luxury Sport Coupe. A 4 passenger highway cruiser with performance, comfort, and luxury. Sedans are just too common. Front and rear Bucket seats with a full console right down the middle. Lots of leg room for tall passengers front and rear and excellent performance on a twisting road or open highway.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:30 PM, lincolnfan11 wrote:

    If Lincoln wants to compete, then they better figure out how to get the MKR on the road!!! quick!!! without the contact paper console down the center. Everything else they have produced is nothing but a best try when there are so many other brands to buy......Lincoln's used to stand out like the Mark 7 and 8's...now you get a dressed up Ford with quality issues...too many quality issues.People want to buy american but Lincoln cant get its identity together....you have the car called the MKR, offer it in a coupe and 4 door with a strong six cyl, a powerful V8, or the ecoboost system and then you'll see Lincoln orders up and a sports luxury sedan back on the road like it should be. Reliability must mirror lexus or people will go from Lincoln show room to the Lexus showroom and so will the sale! Like Cadillacs,Lincolns need one grill like the one on the MKR!

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:36 PM, robbyj812 wrote:

    Build two lincolns on the rear drive mustang platform a 2 door and a stretched version 4 door

    or use the aussi falcon platform

    My thoughts,no rear drive

    no survive

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 9:38 PM, ddwilliams74 wrote:

    I've been a Lincoln owner for 35 years. I've owned four Mark series, three Continentals, one MKZ and now the MKX. The most fun I've ever had with a car was the 1998 Mark VIII LS. The 2012 MKX that I now drive is great. It has all the power I need and the best ride of any Lincoln I've owned. I have taken co-workers out to lunch in my MKX and they all tell me it's the nicest and best ridding vehicle they've ever ridden in. I usually trade vehicles every three to five years and my next vehicle will be another MKX. I love it.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 9:44 PM, jpterry89 wrote:

    look, i love lincolns. and i'm young, i'm only 23, ford just needs to spend some time with lincoln again. put in the effort that made lincoln great for decades up untill the mid 90's when it seemed like the world forgot lincoln. the front end on some of the line is okay, but it doesnt need the same front end on every vehicle. lincolns are supposed to be big and different even from eachother. and right now they aren't big or different. cadillac and gm said its okay to still have a real engine we're a wealthy mans car. ford and lincoln need to do the same. keep the price point but make a real car, and make a 65 70 thousand dollar flagship. you dont have to sell many of them or take a loss but they need a full size luxury roller, something to strive for. no more ecoboost, just something real. a true lincoln from yesteryear with modern touches. i'd save and save until i could get one.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:43 PM, jRyanW wrote:

    Rear wheel drive will get you customers. Only people who don't like to feel the road enjoy these FWD cars... there's nothing better than feeling your rear end accelerate you around a corner as you mash the gas while going around a sharp turn. Give us a Town Car and we'll buy it. That's what us older buyers want - not a car that reminds us that we're getting old but one that makes us feel 22 again.

    Perhaps they need to purchase whatever is left of Carbon Motors. Their E7 Police prototype was revolutionary and would've taken over the patrol car market instantaneously. A car that can be used as a police car, a livery service, or a comfortable and stylish grocery-getter is exactly what Lincoln needs.

    oh,. and that front end looks as if it was designed by someone who was once on the Pontiac Aztek team...

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 12:14 AM, joanofarc13 wrote:

    Buick is being sold & shaq'd by the basketballer.

    This happened earlier than warblers anticipation.

    I believe Americans would've like war in Afghanistan ending already. Ultraconservatism markets certain American commodities.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 12:20 AM, jackweho wrote:

    Please go back to names instead of alphabet letters. Even if the owner knows what he has, no one else does. Also Lincoln always was a "big" "luxury" vehicle, not a Honda or Toyota sized car. Cadillac tried going small with the Cetera- almost ruined the company. Lincoln is going down the same path. The Aviator was a great concept, but they tried to squeeze everything from the Navigator into an Explorer-based vehicle. When it worked it was the greatest, but Lincoln finally took it back after a few years and gave me an MKX. MKX is okay except for the brakes; they have always squeaked, and I would love a car with a little bit more room. But that seems to be Lincoln's thought process-think small. If people want small they will buy Honda; if they want to buy big, now they can only buy Cadillac. I think the sleeper cars are made by Buick-bigger than Lincoln and interior as good as Cadillac. Test drove the Enclave-was ready to write a check on the spot but they didn't have the color I wanted-am on waiting list.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 1:26 AM, SenorBoogie wrote:

    So far, Ive seen one great idea; make a Lincoln based on the ford mustang V8 platform, I say one with 500hp but more luxury, better sound system,suspension and tech features. It has to match or exceed the performance of the Cadillac Cts AND come with a convertible option eventually. A real hot rod Lincoln. Second, bring back the Town Car as the real money maker via limo companies etc. Finally, they need an all wheel drive off road model based on the Ford Raptor.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 3:32 AM, eddyg76 wrote:

    I was in high school when the Mark VIII came out and I was impressed. the two doors, the rear tire hump, luxurious interior and the mustang cobra engine. A teacher got one that spring and I had to check it out. Since, I have had 2 LTD's a mark IV and a collector series town car. i still have my fav LTD with me and can't tell you how my friends really get into the comfort of the interiors of these old Fords. in reading all the comments, there needs to be a true full size sedan in the market. A two door performance Lincoln could help a lot. Lincoln had it before and would do it again like this to start.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 9:32 AM, Thermus wrote:

    Honestly, always thought Lincoln had the ugliest styling in the entire industry, the grills is so ugly I had to avoid looking at it, it literally makes my stomach sick. every time I saw a Lincoln on the road, I think to myself, I would never buy it because if the look. Look at what GM has done with Buick since it redesigned in China, it is now a really handsome expensive looking car. That grill, my God, looks like jack nickelson joker's mouth...

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:36 AM, ajjr100 wrote:

    Several more comments:

    1.) Key in "Lincoln Concept Detroit Auto Show" and it should bring up the future of the Lincoln. Note the grill has been greatly reduced and the grill is horizontal rather than the parallel look of the past.

    2.) Body style is sleek - again, remember that change takes about 3 years.

    3.) Most of us "Fools" won't be buying this car nor a new BMW, CTS, Acura, etc. as we have better things to do with our money than tie up $40,000 in a car that is worth less than half that amount in three years. A new car is a bad investment strategy, as everyone knows.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:40 AM, epsteinlarue wrote:

    My husband and I both drive Lincolns. He has a 2002 Blackwood and I have a 2006 Zephyr. We love both of them! The Blackwood has 145K on it, pulls our camping trailer to the lake several times each summer without problems. My Zephyr has 110K on it and I absolutely love it and it's front wheel drive! Live in Idaho, and if the road is open, I can make it anywhere. Great to take to the ski lodge! I agree, bring back the town car, it's a classic, but leave the front wheel drive and change the MKZ back to a Zephyr!

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 10:47 AM, marcdamien wrote:

    I'd Love to see a two seat luxury Lincoln with a chasis that allowed for a choice of a few body types. Something that would appeal to the unique, the snob in all of us, and provide both prestige and elan to the owner. Lincolns did that at one time, before they bacame tuna boats, and before they became boring compacts with tacky grills and no visable difference between itself and some Korean wanna be.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 11:21 AM, Jlstern wrote:

    For years I've always purchased Lexus. I love the style and quality. In recent years the style of Lexus has diminished, in my opinion. I decided to give American car makers a second look. I remember my parent's Lincoln's; while never overly dependable they always had a ride that couldn't be beat. The cars had a feel of power and elegance.

    I went to a dealer just to take a look. Here's what my initial impression was. First, why would I want to drive a car that looks like a whale hunting for krill as it's coming down the road--was the design inspiration really modeled after a giant whale?!? To me words that I associate with "whale" are anything but sleek, beauty, class, or sophistophication; nothing against the whale.

    I think to myself, well let's give it a try, maybe they still have some of the old school charm. The sales person began asking me if I was interested in the MK-this or MK-that and I was confused. Perhaps MK is a reference back the Mark but I had and still have little clear idea what the difference between an MKT, X, or S even is. At least with Lexus and Mercedes I can tell some about the engine and body type from the name of the car.

    So, then I decide to test drive a car anyway, it was the MKS. I was being sold on the notion that the MKS was comparable to my LS460, lol. Maybe it is because I am used to the intrigrity of Lexus but everything in the Lincoln just felt cheap; the buttons, the leather, the power, the ride--you name it. I was simply disappointed. Furthermore, is the MKS styled after a Toyota Avalon, Jaguar XJ, a Dodge Charger, or a whale?!? What happened to creativity in design and finding ones mark on the map?!?

    Sad but apparently Ford truly does circle everything wrong with its product. :-(

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 11:29 AM, garydoniedonie wrote:

    Although our '08 Town Car has dozens of improvements over our '99, I think there has been some quality slippage. The engine, although essentially the same as in '99, has several noises at idle that the '99 with 212000 miles does not have. The headlight lenses cracked all over, the instrument electronics have failed once, and the variable speed ac blower "goes crazy" as it approaches the temperature setting. It is a great car, but I don't feel that it will give us the years and miles of service that the '99 has given. We had a '95 chevy ss that gave no end of problems, so it is no wonder that people are looking elsewhere for reliable cars.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 12:30 PM, cityperson wrote:

    The newer Lincoln is like most of the new vehicles, hard to get in and out of. My wife and I will keep our SUV, Van and small truck, they are easy to get in and out. Plus the van you can sit and the SUV with out your knees up to your chin. It is funny that people pay $30 to $50 + dollars not to be comfortable in the back seat. Then they show a basketball star sitting in small Buick, with the seat up against the back seat.

  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 2:25 PM, kkrimmer wrote:

    It doesn't help that Ford botched the launch of the latest Lincoln, the MKZ sedan, holding up production for weeks because of quality issues -- while a huge national ad campaign was running. Intrigued potential customers visited dealers, only to find no cars.

    That didn't help Lincoln's rep with the customers or with its dealers.

    ----

    FIRE TOP MANAGEMENT... just like a NFL team will fire a coach... restart confidence.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 6:10 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @autofool1: You are correct and I knew that -- Leland founded Lincoln and then Ford bought it. Edsel ran it, but he didn't start it. Thanks for calling that out.

    John Rosevear

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2014, at 2:48 PM, dmayo wrote:

    The problem is simple, we have a person in charge who is trying to make Lincoln into Lexus. The people at Cadillac are not trying to make a BMW or a Mercedes or an Audi but have instead made products that do everything that all of those other great car companies offer but are unmistakably Cadillac's. Many of you will notice that I left out brands Acura, Lexus, Buick and Infinity and for good reason. These brands are largely made up of vehicles that are nothing more than reworks or their parent companies offerings. certainly they all have one or two models that are brand exclusive architecture but most are not. Ford needs to decide what it wants Lincoln to be. If the answer is a true luxury brand for the world that appeals to upper middle class and wealthy buyers than you need to go the Cadillac route and fight Mercedes and BMW. If the answer is a premium brand then you can get away with reworking ford products as does Acura and say Buick and you can even put one or two unique products in there to boost slightly into the real luxury world as does Lexus. Define the goal for the brand and then spend what's necessary to make products that people will buy. No matter which way you go define the look of the product as something that your intended buyers will gravitate towards and recognize as a Lincoln . That is not happening currently with weird grill work and alphabet soup names.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2014, at 2:54 PM, dmayo wrote:

    Also if you are more interested in trucks and suvs then cars you are not in the market for a luxury car. Real luxury car companies build great luxury cars and then maybe offer reworked vehicles in other classes largely because everyone else does it. Having SUV's and trucks as the bench marks of your luxury brand just makes you a fancy truck brand. "Vans" in my opinion have no place in a real luxury brands portfolio. Their architecture and unworkable blob styling waters down any luxury brand.

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