Buick has done well for itself in the Chinese auto market, and now Ford Motor Company is hoping it can find a similar success by introducing Lincoln to the growing market. Starting during the second half of 2014, Lincoln will begin selling its cars in China through a dealer network that will deliver a personalized brand experience.
By the end of this decade, Lincoln says that the market for luxury cars in China will not only be larger than that of the United States, but it also expects this segment to account for around 2.7 million sales annually. Aside from Buick, other luxury brands doing well in China include Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and Lincoln hopes it can attract buyers looking to show off their wealth and enjoy cars specifically tailored to this market. While Lincoln is not elaborating on what kind of tailoring it plans to deliver, it could easily mean that the automaker is expecting to offer market-specific, long-wheelbase models as is the case with other luxury automakers on sale in China.
While it isn't clear which cars will be offered in the Chinese market, we can almost guarantee that the lineup will include the completely redesigned 2013 Lincoln MKZ. In addition to the Lincolns, Ford is also increasing its presence in China with the introduction of 15 new Blue Oval vehicles (and 20 new powertrains) by 2015. Ford is also investing into production facilities in China including five new plants which is expected to help it increase its global sales to eight million total units within the next few years.
Scroll down for Lincoln's official press release.
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Lincoln Coming to China, Bringing Rich Heritage and Unique Alternative to Growing Luxury Market
-Lincoln will be coming to China, offering its rich and unique heritage to customers seeking a new level of luxury
-Lincoln will provide a personalized brand experience for affluent Chinese customers seeking a luxury experience tailored to their specific needs
-Expansion into China further strengthens Ford Motor Company's commitment and aggressive growth strategy in China and establishes Lincoln as a brand with global appeal; this mark's Ford's largest expansion in 50 years
-Lincoln cars will be available in China in the second half of 2014
BEIJING, 28 August, 2012 – Lincoln is coming to China, bringing its rich heritage and a unique alternative to the evolving luxury car customers in one of the world's most important auto markets.
With a nearly 100-year history, Lincoln will deliver an exceptional and personalized brand experience for Chinese customers seeking luxury tailored to their own needs. New Lincoln products will begin to be sold in China in the second half of 2014 through an independent dealer network. The company begins meeting with dealers interested in being part of Lincoln's growth in China in the fourth quarter of this year.
"Lincoln is an important part of our plan, and introducing Lincoln in China marks the next step in our expansion in Asia and our commitment to serving customers in the luxury market," said Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally. "We recognize the growth potential for Lincoln in China, building on the growing appeal of our new Lincoln products and unique, personalized customer experience in North America."
Luxury for an Evolving Market
The luxury segment in China is forecast to surpass the luxury segment in the United States by 2020. In China, luxury vehicle sales are expected to more than double – from 6 percent of the market today to nearly 9 percent by the end of the decade, according to IHS. Annual sales of luxury cars are forecast to be approximately 2.7 million units by then.
In China, consumers now see luxury as more than a product, according to an intensive observation study of luxury car buyers conducted by TNS China, "Targeting luxury car drivers in China".
The study also shows that while many affluent consumers in China are still motivated by a primary desire to display their wealth noticeably, data gathered over the last 2 years reveals that a select group of consumers are evolving towards purchasing luxury for the personal experience rather than as an outward signal to others. Their motivation to purchase is also led by self-discovery of products and services that meet their own unique demands, providing a high degree of self-reward in making the right choice.
Lincoln's combination of outstanding products and a personalized luxury buying and ownership experience is expected to be particularly appealing to this evolving group of Chinese luxury consumers.
"Globally, we're seeing a new generation of luxury clients who value more individualistic and tailored options," said Jim Farley, Group Vice President, Global Marketing Sales and Service, Ford Motor Company. "In China, the emerging luxury buyers are younger and fast-changing, and they have a strong desire to understand and appreciate the heritage of a brand- the origins of its real values such as timeless elegance, sophistication and craftsmanship in Lincoln."
A Luxury Brand Heritage, Unique Vision for the Future
Lincoln, named after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, was founded by Henry Leland. Lincoln was acquired by Ford Motor Company in 1922 when it saw the potential in the brand and identified with its purpose to serve luxury customers uniquely.
"Lincoln will distinguish itself by providing more individual and personalized motor cars, and a more personal and crafted experience to match," said Farley. "The Lincoln experience promises to deliver elegant simplicity, something warmer and more personally engaging."
"Research shows that for luxury consumers in China, international credentials are not enough; heritage and excellence are also expected of a luxury car."
From the brand's start, Lincolns were known for challenging convention and driving innovation in design and craftsmanship. This includes the ground-breaking design of the Lincoln Zephyr and original Lincoln Continental.
Today, Lincoln is combining outstanding vehicles with personal and innovative customer service at every step.
Ford Motor Company Expanding Aggressively in China
"Lincoln's introduction to China represents a significant step forward in Ford's aggressive growth strategy for the country", said Dave Schoch, Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor China. "We are on track to deliver 15 new Ford-branded vehicles and 20 powertrains by 2015 to Chinese customers. With Lincoln, we will be expanding our product offering to cover China's fast-growing luxury car segment."
Ford Motor Company is building five new plants in China, including in Chongqing, which is home to the largest manufacturing location for Ford outside southeast Michigan. Once completed, the plants will double the company's capacity in China to 1.2 million passenger vehicles a year.
The expansion, the largest by Ford in 50 years, will help the automaker realize an increase in global sales by around 50 percent from 2010 to about 8 million vehicles annually by mid-decade.
Lincoln is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match. Lincoln cars will be available in China in the second half of 2014. For more information, please visit media.Lincoln.com or www.Lincoln.com.cn. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Lincoln
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.
Ford's wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and investment in China include Ford Motor (China) Limited, Ford Motor Research & Engineering (Nanjing) Co., Ltd., Ford Automotive Finance (China) Ltd., Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd., Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. Nanjing Company, Changan Ford Mazda Engine Co., Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Co., Ltd.
For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordmotorcompany.com and www.ford.com.cn.