NPR's Planet Money claims the fate of the U.S. auto industry rests on the success of... Lincoln?
To make this point, the two hosts draw an analogy between Lincoln and Audi, the latter of which has risen on a wave of methodically executed success for over a decade to become a global leader in automotive luxury with the youngest clientele in the business. To achieve this success, Glinton argues that Audi followed the following three-step plan.
Step 1: Become known.
Step 2: Totally separate yourself from the parent company.
Step 3: Make a really cool car.
There's no argument that Audi has done these things and that they've contributed to the brand's success, but Glint goes on to explain how Lincoln is trying to walk the same path to similar success. To become better known, it will soon launch a new marketing campaign to replace the one starring Roger Sterling from Mad Men. To separate itself from Ford, Lincoln has created its own design center a few miles down the road. And as for the really cool car, that would be the new MKZ. From listening to the episode, one doesn't get the sense that even Blumberg or Glint believes Lincoln will achieve what Audi has for parent company Volkswagen, but they seem to put a lot at stake if it doesn't.
And that's where we differ with Planet Money. While there are countless positives that would result from Lincoln becoming a world-class luxury carmaker, Ford has survived and even thrived in recent years despite not being able to improve the marque's fortunes with consumers. Even if this latest attempt doesn't get Lincoln a mention in Jay-Z's next single (acknowledgment by the rap community appears to be the clearest indicator of luxury brand's success), past experience tells us that Ford – and Lincoln – will just keep trying.
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