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In Search Of New Customers, Lincoln Reinvents Itself


2013 Lincoln MKZ

2013 Lincoln MKZ

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Lincoln, Ford Motor Company’s long-term luxury brand, knows one absolute truth: it can no longer sustain itself selling mildly badge-engineered Ford products to its traditional (and aging) customer base.

To attract new buyers, especially the “cultural progressives” it covets, Lincoln knows it needs to step up its game. Step one was creating a new design center, its first dedicated one in four decades. Next came the obligatory change in personnel, with Matt VanDyke recently appointed as Lincoln’s global director of marketing, sales and service.

VanDyke will report to Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president, global marketing, sales, service and Lincoln. One of VanDyke’s first tasks will be to “optimize the new Lincoln vision,” on a global scale.

As Automotive News (subscription required) points out, the move to separate Lincoln sales leadership from Ford sales leadership trickles down to the dealership level as well. Dual-brand (Ford and Lincoln) dealerships will now have personnel dedicated to the Lincoln side, giving them better focus on the premium brand.

There’s a new and inspiring positioning video for dealerships, which incorporates everything from Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s son, through Abraham Lincoln, with a focus on recognizing the Lincoln customer of the future.

Expect a new ad campaign, with equally strong imagery, aimed at consumers and pitching the new Lincoln MKZ, which hits dealerships in late December. There's a new Lincoln compact crossover in the pipeline as well, since the automaker views the segment as offering up plenty of opportunity for sales growth.

Will that be enough to turn around Lincoln’s disappointing sales? It’s Matt Van Dyke’s job to make sure the answer to that question is “yes.”

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