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2011 Lincoln MKX – Click above for high-res image gallery

Just a few years ago, Ford had so many luxury brands in its then considerable suite of marques that there were upscale offerings for just about any taste in every region of the world. Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar are now in the hands of other owners and Volvo is on the outs, so how will Ford deliver luxury goods to other regions of the world? How about Lincoln?

The idea has been kicked around to no avail in the past, but with a growing luxury market in emerging markets like China, the Blue Oval may need a new global plan for its lone luxury marquee. Automotive News reports that Ford will only discuss expanding Lincoln globally when its North American operation gets turned around. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields told AN, "We don't have any plans at this point to take it global. That doesn't mean in the future we wouldn't look at that, but it's very important for us to focus on North America."

If Ford waits for Lincoln to turn around in North America before looking at other markets, the process could take a while. Lincoln sales were down 23 percent in 2009, with sales dipping to a 28-year low of 82,847 units. Many of Lincolns newer models have arrived with a luke-warm reception from both journalists and the car-buying public, though there are high hopes for the recently introduced 2011 Lincoln MKX and its trick MyLincoln Touch interface. Another Lincoln that could help spur sales overseas is a smaller model based off of the Concept C from the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      American cars are generally well received in the Middle East, where Lincoln does have a presence. SUVs (particularly large ones), and RWD sedans usually fare better though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who the hell is going to buy those ugly Lincoln???

        • 5 Years Ago
        Personally, I like some of the new lincoln designs... even if the products aren't really the right for me, technically.

        But the art deco styling theme is an american flavor, which might find limited appeal to other countries without that context.

        Art Deco architecture and design was a modern, slightly sleek idiom that was a stark contrast to previous Victorian-english, French, Italian, or Spanish old-world themes, let alone the even older Gothic or Roman themes.

        But Art Deco isn't as stark as Bauhaus, or scandinavian modern design themes.

        And on a more technical front... Euro/global fords tend to be more premium and well optioned than US Ford.

        I am not sure that Lincoln is going to find a design foothold, nor enough degrees of separation in technical matters to really make a case for itself abroad.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The new Lincoln grill reminds me of my daily routine to see if my nostril hair needs trimming.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lincoln is hot you ugly
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let's look at the astounding success of Cadillac in markets other than the US...





      I think part of the issue is that American cars are pretty much designed exclusively for American tastes. Although Ford America if you are reading this please please please replace our POS Falcon with the Fusion or the Taurus.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you're the first person I've seen with a grudge against the Falcon.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is why they want to turn it around here first before going overseas, something Cadillac hasn't done.

        You don't launch a brand with mediocrity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        He is right.

        Part of Cadillac's problem was in the product. Actually, look at the 2010 lineup Cadillac has for sale in Europe. The BLS did nothing to gain sales. The Escalade..come on do you think Europeans want an Escalade? The CTS is actually pretty good though, and even it isn't selling. I guess Europeans may just have a bad taste for American cars, thinking it's junk. That and a flashy Cadillac isn't attractive in cultures like Germany.

        Cadillac has also been successful in China, that much should be mentioned. I think Lincoln should get in on the success Buick and Cadillac have enjoyed in China ASAP. Even if offered only in North America and China, the sales and revenue would probably be high enough to allow some impressive new models to make it through the pipeline.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering how successful Buick has been in China, I think it's a smart move for Ford to promote Lincoln over there too, it'll directly compete with imported Caddys
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lincoln needs a LS replacement. RWD, euro suspension & handling, slightly euro looks, but this time don't mess up on the coil-on-plug design or valve covers. That car was a great car otherwise and IMO proves Ford can compete.

      But until Lincoln has a new RWD higher-powered car that ball won't get rolling.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lincoln will need a ton of work to be ready. The styling is horrible with those droopy mustache grills and poor shapes and proportions, the sizing is wrong for the Euro market, and their products just generally aren't very good.

      Frankly they will have to reinvent the brand from the ground up. I can't think of a single product that is even close to competitive. Anyone who buys a Lincoln sedan over even a Hyundai Genesis is crazy.

      I'd love to see them be competitive though. Take whoever brought back the Ford GT and stick them in charge of the division.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another thing.
      If they re-badge this as Ford in Europe, it will sell well.
      This is more European than any SUV or crossover Ford offers at the moment..
      • 5 Years Ago
      They're going to need smaller cars and a good diesel engine to do well in Europe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford has a good diesel.

        Show me a small Lexus please? Or a small Jaguar? Or Aston Martin? (All three, because we're not sure what market they're targetting.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah okay, the rebadged Toyota iQ. Now a *real* small car that people can buy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ford can take BOTH Mercury and Lincoln global, they need revamping.

      Mercury gets the MKS(With the "Sable" name), a small focus based car(Comet?), A Mazda-RX8 based Coupe/Roadster with the Capri name(Ford Capri replacement) without the wankel obviously, Milan is alright, Grand Marquis gets killed and replaced by a Falcon-based Marauder, and a Mustang-based Cougar, a Kuga-based Mariner and Explorer based Mountaineer. Mercury should be positioned as a semi-luxury/sport brand, similar to Saab, Alfa Romeo and Infiniti.

      While Lincoln gives Mercury the MKS, Lincoln gets a bunch of RWD Vehicles, The CUV's/SUV's are okay. A Falcon Based MKR to replace the MKS, A Mid-Sized Executive Sedan based on the DEW98, another DEW98 based sedan(Shortened) for a 3-Series sized car. Along with a Focus based 1-Series sized car. and a DEW98 Based Luxury Coupe. They can re-design the Town Car and make it a Limo-only option or something.

      They can ditch the Alpha-Numeric names for their old names:

      Full Size Sedan: MKR ----> Continental
      Mid-Sized Executive Sedan: Versailles
      Small-Sized Sedan: Zephyr
      1 Series Sized Car: Tracer(I know its a Mercury name but whatever)

      Navigator is alright I suppose.

      MKX gets renamed to Aviator
      MKT gets renamed to Blackwood

      Lincoln should be positioned at Mercedes Benz, while Mercury should be the near-luxury sporty brand aimed at Europeans.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should have just kept Volvo which is a global semi luxury brand ad expanded it into further markets.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lincoln is a perfect example of what is wrong with the domestic car makers. They are barely competitive in their own home turf (with some exceptions, of course), that they shouldn't even think about branching out into the rest of the world until they own a commanding lead here at home.

      There was that news story just the other day that COMBINED the Detroit automakers are below 50% here in the US. That's just sad.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Pretty sure that's exactly what Fields was saying in the quote given.

        Automotive News reports that Ford will only discuss expanding Lincoln globally when its North American operation gets turned around. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields told AN, "We don't have any plans at this point to take it global. That doesn't mean in the future we wouldn't look at that, but it's very important for us to focus on North America."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes the market share of the domestic makers has indeed fallen. But don't blame Ford (or Chrysler for that matter). In 1981, before the SUV and minivan boom and bust, Ford had a 16.6% U.S. market share and Chrysler had a 9% share. Today, after the SUV and minivan boom and bust, Ford has a 16.1% share and Chrysler has a 8% share. It's those other guys in the Ren Cen who dropped the flag.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Depends what "luxury" means.

      If you're just aiming for Lexus, badge engineering will suffice, and who knows? The masses have bought "American" before: I'm talking about the Cortina and Escort Mk I. Even the Transit Mk I had the same cues.

      However, if they're aiming at the same place Aston Martin, Land Rover, and Jaguar occupy, then Lincoln is going to have to have product that is distinguished from Ford. Kinda like Lexus has start to do with its LFA (which I hate, but it could be a halo car to pull Lexus up a notch).
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a great thought, but Lincoln really needs to be a lot more competitive in the global marketplace against the likes of Audi (I mention that and not the other 2 due to the more fair comparison of FWD/AWD vehicles) in terms of drivetrains, etc. The reason for this is because Fords in Europe are very close to Lincolns here. This is also why Cadillac hasn't had a great success in Europe; it's not too much higher (in terms of interior quality, etc.) than Opel.
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