Ford's treatment of Lincoln has gotten so bad that complaining isn't enough. I want t

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Fix Lincoln

JERRY FLINT

Ward's Auto World, Mar 1, 2004


Ford's treatment of Lincoln has gotten so bad that complaining isn't enough. I want to offer a comeback strategy.

First, a few words about how bad it's gotten.

The Lincoln concept cars, two out of three, are awful. One is a Ford pickup badge-engineered as a Lincoln. This will destroy what prestige Lincoln has left. Then there's the Lincoln Mark X, a Lincoln version of the Thunderbird. They're putting the T-Bird to sleep. Why do a Lincoln concept?

Then there is the forgettable Blackwood pickup, and the failure to expand the LS line is turning a promising vehicle into a failure.

And who thought of completely redoing the '03 Lincoln Navigator but not changing the exterior design? It's still new, but already looks old. Let's not even talk about moving Lincoln to Southern California and then putting it under the direction of a German living in London. Hello? Anybody there?

Worse, I think, is that Ford seems to hate Lincoln's best customers. The Town Car once earned $1 billion a year. And the Town Car/CrownVic/Grand Marquis platform was Ford's most profitable car platform. But old guys buy Lincolns. They have no abs, and they aren't particularly stylish. Ford planners and marketers in their 20s and 30s just don't care for them. Proof? They are letting those cars die without a fight.

OK, here's what we do:

Priorities: Town Car, LS, crossovers, expanding Navigator SUV.

Town Car: Build a new one that appeals not only to geezers and limo drivers, but every rich guy out there. I'll even give you the car. Look at the Aston Martin Lagonda Vignale concept developed about 10 years ago. Is that beautiful and rich looking? Lincolnesque? The clay model should be in a Ford warehouse somewhere. Build it and put Lincoln back on the map.
The Lincoln LS: A 4-door sedan isn't enough. Expand the line with a wagon and all-wheel-drive cross/utility vehicle (CUV). Limit the V-8 to a few thousand specialty models. The line should be mostly 6-cyl., to keep the price down. And rename it. LS is a lousy signature. I like something with a Z in it.
The CUV: Ford's plan to turn the Aviator into a car-based CUV (moving it off the Explorer platform) is sound. But why use the Mazda6 platform? There's a brand new CUV platform going into production in Chicago — bigger, with a Volvo base. That should be the Lincoln platform, for gosh sakes.
Expand the Navigator lineup à la Escalade ESV.

Now here's the cherry and whipped cream stuff if you have a few extra bucks.

A Lincoln Hummer. The concept already is in Ford's warehouse. It's called the Equator.
The Continental: Go back to its roots as a true ultra-luxury car. Make it a limited volume $75,000 V-12.
A small CUV, but no cheap Lincoln, so beware of the Mazda6 platform. We need class.
To William Clay Ford Jr.: Just do it. That's all you have to do to get Lincoln back in the fight.

Jerry Flint is a columnist for, and a former senior editor of, Forbes magazine.
 
I agree with many of his points. It is very sad that the panther chassis platform may be replaced in a few years with the 500 platfrom. A platfrom that has all the cars looking like bloated taurus and designs stolen from VW passats. They hate that they have the reputation of having a platfrom that only old people buy. Although the CV is the only car they makes a decent police cruiser any more. The TC is the very last of a breed that once dominated the Luxo market. That being a big, v8 powered, body on frame, american car.

The current Navigator looks sharp. They need an extended wheel base model. Also, I think they could release a Mercury vehicle to compete with the GMC Denali. A pickup is a piss-poor idea IMO(although I think it looks good). I think even Cadillacs pickup isnt faring too well. The current explorer based aviator seems to be fine although it could use a little more class to the styling. DO NOT make it car based. Those things are totally hideous.

Lincoln needs to come out with an all wheel drive sporty european influenced mid-size car. I dislike these type of cars but lincoln needs to stay alive.

The LS platfrom has alot of potential that needs to be explored.

The continental is a proud name sake and Lincoln needs to be very careful how they use it. The current concept is ok. But by no means should it be produced. Make it a grand flagship with a V8 and V10 or perhaps 12 on higher end models but do not over price it. Not too many people are gonna buy an $80k Lincoln. Make it a car that will compete with the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 series.
 
What amazes me is that they would try another pick up so soon after the blackwood - you would think they still were stinging from that. They couldnt give those away and canceled the model after what - 8 months of production? But now its a viable idea? Yeah, I wanna load a ton of horse manure into the bed of my $60k pick up. Im sure the soft and supple leather wont stain too much from my dirt laden work clothes. Its totally impractical and basically useless.
 
One more thing I forgot. Bring back the Mark. Give it classic styling. Dont make it look like that stupid concept. Make the Mark what it always was. Don't try to make it compete with german sports cars.
 
Absolutely.

Its unfortunate and dissappointing to look at lincolns current model line up.

Navigator
Aviator
Town Car
LS



Now lets look at cadillac

XLR
CTS
SRX
ESV
EXT
ESCALADE
DEVILLE
SEVILLE

Twice the number of models - all new and updated designs (or in process) - and the styling is more a combinatin of future and classic.
 

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