Lincoln fans might want to give incoming Ford CEO Mark Fields a pat on the back for having a hand in saving the brand from the chopping block last year. He's among the people spearheading the rejuvenation of the division away from its stodgy image to appeal to younger customers.

According to two unnamed sources speaking to Bloomberg, CEO Alan Mulally was ready to kill Lincoln last year. Following the slow production ramp-up of the MKZ combined a with a costly ad campaign, Mulally was frustrated and openly suggested dropping the brand. However, Fields and Jim Farley, Ford's marketing boss, convinced the CEO that the brand was worth saving. They also created a plan to prevent similar problems for new models in the future.

It seems that one part of the strategy may involve waiting until new models are at dealers before starting a big ad campaign for them. Lincoln global director, Matt VanDyke, recently told Autoblog that the division is holding off on a full marketing push behind the new MKC crossover to prevent the supply problems that plagued the MKZ last year. Its big offensive begins in the fall when the CUVs are at all of the dealers and consumers are at home watching more TV. VanDyke also told Bloomberg that Fields, Farley and Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, have more direct oversight over new product launches now.

Fields might be right to stick with Lincoln, at least for the short term. The brand is right in the middle of its overhaul with a new MKX midsize SUV and MKS sedan still on the way, according to Bloomberg. Its new strategy appears to be showing early signs of success by being the premium company with the highest new owner satisfaction in a recent survey by AutoPacific. It's also about to launch in China this fall. It seems too soon to count Lincoln out yet.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 98 Comments
      Mondrell
      • 9 Months Ago
      If nothing else, Mark Fields deserves credit for recognizing that you can't turn around decades of underinvestment/underutilization with just one car. Killing the brand off may've been a good answer in the short term, but what about the middle or long? Ford would require just as much credential-building to reach upmarket, as it's spent so much of its history as an everyman brand that few beyond intellectuals and loyalists would give any $50,000+ Ford that isn't a high-performance Mustang or other halo performance machine a shot.
        billfrombuckhead
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Mondrell
        They should have made a top top of the line Mustang into some sort of Lincoln, a 4 door coupe or 2 seater roadster, something Bob Lutz would have done. Are you telling me they couldn't have kept the Town Car alive in some sort of fashion? The damn thing was hero iconic but hey when have a MkT waiting in the wings......................ROFL
          to your email L
          • 9 Months Ago
          @billfrombuckhead
          Yup they essentially did that...................IN AUSTRALIA!
      S C
      • 9 Months Ago
      Mulallys' style is one of constantly re-evaluating the products the company offers. If you don't include the ultimate decision to shut it down, then you are not looking at it hard enough to justify saving it.
      PTC DAWG
      • 9 Months Ago
      You gonna drive me to drinkin if you don't driving that HOT ROD LINCOLN
      Fatfaso
      • 9 Months Ago
      Simple solution here. Copy Audi! Audi's are nothing more than heavily facelifted VWs (which started as FWD and were converted to AWD) and that's no bad thing (I own a 2010 S4 myself). Differentiate from Ford by only offering vehicles in AWD and focus $$$ on really improving design of cabin and choice of interior trim. It's probably too late to change styling direction (unfortunately), but start working in the right direction. I think Audi is a cash cow for VW. Lincoln could be the same for Ford if they would only put forth the resources up front to make it happen. I'm a believer... We'll see if Fields has the vision to turn Lincoln into a player in the luxury car world.
        Winnie Jenkems
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fatfaso
        Good analysis, but Audi has something Lincoln doesn't - a performance-oriented full time rear-biased AWD system on all but the lowliest models. Ford would be wise to develop such a system for its "luxury" brand. They need to differentiate themselves to justify the premium over their Ford stablemates.
        Scott Danskeren
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fatfaso
        You have excellently explained why you'd have to be an idiot/pretentious douche to buy an Audi. Thanks!
          Fatfaso
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Scott Danskeren
          Wait, what?! What makes me a douche for enjoying my Audi? I'm from Detroit so I have to deal with snow. I wanted a car with a stick, a big motor with semi-decent mpg and AWD. The only other car that is sold in the USA that meets my criteria is a WRX/STi (maybe a Golf R), but I wanted something a little nicer. I'd purchase a Caddy ATS if it was sold in a configuration that met the standards I outlined above. If you ask me, ad homenum attacks on commenters without giving analysis is a douchebag move.
          Justin Campanale
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Scott Danskeren
          Please don't lump all Audi owners together with this moron. Every brand has dbag drivers.
      RUNRUNRUN@ilikeelectronics.com
      Mulally was right.
      • 9 Months Ago
      [blocked]
        Chris
        • 9 Months Ago
        WTF are you talking about? I know I shouldn't feed the trolls. Just an FYI, all of the individuals you are criticizing are themselves white, so I don't know where you're going with the whole race thing.
          yonomo200
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Chris
          "White" vs "good for the white race" It's an ignorant, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic statement, probably by a fake who is just as you have already figured out, simply a troll looking for a reaction. This idiot probably doesn't even believe what he posted.
        K. Rogers
        • 9 Months Ago
        Fourth Reich motorist.
      Scott Danskeren
      • 9 Months Ago
      Really, What they need to do for a start, is get away from the MK-whatever naming system. Rolls Royce and Bentley don't use alphanumeric names. If they want to position themselves anywhere in the market, they need to stand out.
        Michael Carvey
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Scott Danskeren
        Alphanumeric names are fine in the luxury sector. Look at BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. The problem with Lincoln's approach is the names make no sense (MKC, MKS, MKT, MKZ, MKX); you can't tell the relationship between the names. An Audi A8 is larger than an A6, which is larger than an A4. Makes sense. They can use MK, just have a pattern for the last digit MKC (small crossover) = MK2 MKZ (midsize sedan) = MK3 MKX (midsize crossover) = MK4 MKS (large sedan) = MK5 MKT (Large crossover) = MK6 RWD flagship = MK7 Compact entry level vehicle = MK1 Navigator = MK8
          mycommentemail
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Michael Carvey
          I can't keep either one of them straight. The difference is that there are actually Mercedes enthusiasts out there who care enough to wade through that naming mess. There are significantly less people interested in untangling the stupid naming system that Lincoln has saddled itself with. And even then Mercedes has a little differentiation (c, s, g, m). Mk what? Ah forget it. None of those cars are interesting enough to bother figuring out which is which.
          drew
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Michael Carvey
          Alphanumeric names are a German trademark. American (and Japanese) brands ditching their old nameplates and adopting the system just reeks of copycatting.
        IcoHolic
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Scott Danskeren
        Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Acura, Audi, Infiniti do....... who else?
      Gearhead
      • 9 Months Ago
      Kill it and follow Hyundai's approach offering a full range of cars. No worries about cannibalizing Ford sales. Make great Fords. The Fusion is a great example of a great looking car with near premium interior and outstanding performance.
        b.rn
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Gearhead
        The Fusion is a great car, but Lincoln outclasses it for both luxury and performance.
          Winnie Jenkems
          • 9 Months Ago
          @b.rn
          They are the SAME CAR. The Lincoln has an optional V6, gimmicky transmission and a big sunroof. THAT'S IT.
        IcoHolic
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Gearhead
        The MKZ is a much different feeling car than the Fusion. The separation of the platforms is even greater on the Escape/MKC according to early reports.
        K. Rogers
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Gearhead
        If they continue to soldier on with basing Lincoln models on Ford platforms, then I say let each of these cars be a great Ford rather than mediocre Lincoln.
        billfrombuckhead
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Gearhead
        The Korean Government Motors entry, Hyundai is barely staying ahead of Jeep for 6th best selling brand in America even with endless government help, yep, that's who to copy. Maybe it's time for Ford to quit listening to Wall Street analysts (conventional wisdom=stupidity) and listen to actual car enthusiast and luxury car buyers. Alfa Romeo has a brighter future than Lincoln which stands for nothing except weird chrome grilles and badge engineering.
      AlBongo
      • 9 Months Ago
      Lincoln was killed once, it can be done again. Hire a man named Booth if you must, just get rid of it already.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 9 Months Ago
      Ford will never turn Lincoln around unless they develop a RWD platform. Rebadged Fusions and marketing is not going to do it. There is an expectation of RWD above 40k.
        Greg Aryous
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        What about most Audi's being FWD VWs....!
          That Guy
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Greg Aryous
          Facts.....aren't they a pain Greg?
          Radioactive Flea
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Greg Aryous
          Most Audi’s are bought in AWD form. VW is not a luxury car. Why is there always that one guy who thinks VW is a luxury car?
      Steve
      • 9 Months Ago
      Thank God they kept it alive, so Fields can continue to limp it along and mismanage the brand.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 9 Months Ago
      Some thoughts: 1. MKC looks great, appears to be very competitive in a crucial segment, and is priced right. I think it will do well. The styling translates much better to a SUV. 2. The MKS and MKT still suffer from horrendous baleen whale styling and desperately need a facelift. 3. Interior materials need to improve. Again, the MKC is off to a good start. The acres of Ford standard cheap grey plastic covering the console of the MKZ are unacceptable at the price point and have no place in a luxury car. Wood, leather, metal. Got it? 4. RWD, RWD, RWD. Are they really going to use that new global Mustang platform for only one car? Also, Lincoln can not expect to be a serious competitor in today's luxury market without a proper RWD flagship. Build it in the style of the '60s Continental. Remember that concept from ~2002? I'm still waiting. 5. If they can't bring themselves to commit to RWD, they at least need to develop a full-time rear-biased AWD system like most Audis. Lincoln needs something to differentiate itself from its Ford stablemates and justify the premium. Gimmicks like a pushbutton transmission and big sunroof aren't going to do it. But a good rear-biased AWD system just might.
        clquake
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        Luxury car buyers don't care about rwd. If they did, Audi wouldn't be around.
          Winnie Jenkems
          • 9 Months Ago
          @clquake
          @ clquake & MayTheBestCarWin05: you must have missed point #5 - rear-biased AWD. The A8 (a massive FWD-based vehicle) is regularly praised for handling like a much smaller car. There's a reason for that, and it's called Quattro. It's why they can drop a 520 hp V8 into the thing without it torque-steering into a tree. And if Lincoln insists on plowing ahead with FWD platforms, they would be wise to take a lesson from Audi and develop a similar system of their own.
          Autoholics Anonymous
          • 9 Months Ago
          @clquake
          @Winnie. I can get behind those 5 points and as far as the RWD goes I do miss having that (and the 4v V8 ;)) in the Aviator I used to drive. The MKZ with the Sport "Appearance" Package I drive now is good but having that FWD pull and spin on hard acceleration and the occasional understeer that accompanies it can be a bit of a buzzkill at times. @clquake. Yes and no. It really depends on which luxury car buyer is looking at the purchase of such a car. If they are looking for all out comfort and refinement then maybe the RWD wouldn't matter. One potential plus of a FWD vehicle is that the driveshaft tunnel can be mitigated for better rear seat legroom. An example would be the Infiniti G35S that my boss has the tunnel was more than a bit intrusive whereas the Lincoln MKZ(Mine), Ford Fusion, Chrysler 300, and Honda Civic that my coworkers have are less intrusive. On the other hand though a fairly significant number of "Luxury" buyers either want the whole package or want a nicer car with a more sporting prowess are desired in the driving experience.
          AcidTonic
          • 9 Months Ago
          @clquake
          Yeah but the A8 is available with an AWD 12 cylinder if so desired.....
        bc3091
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Winnie Jenkems
        Have you sat in a new Lincoln? We have a 2014 MKT and the interior of that vehicle is amazing. Granted, the exterior could use some work.
    • Load More Comments