Putting a luxury face on a carmaker in a region where it's known more for affordable commuters than superb sedans is a tough endeavor. Lexus and Cadillac are facing that challenge in Europe, and Fiat may soon face similar issues here in the U.S. So Ford's consideration of taking the Lincoln brand global has its share of risks.
Speaking on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show, Ford's president of the Americas Mark Fields said the brand currently has no plans to go global, but didn't rule it out for the future. This isn't the first time talk of Lincoln going global has emerged. Back in 2008, we brought you reports that Ford CEO Alan Mulally was considering a run at the big time.
One of the problems then was Lincoln's lack of a rear-wheel-drive lineup. That problem remains, though the presence of all-wheel drive may make up for it. Another key to success in Europe is diesel power, something Lincoln doesn't currently have, but which is possible should Ford leverage its global resources. Still, there's some groundwork to be done before a global Lincoln launch would even be possible.
Instead of going global right now, Fields says Lincoln is focusing on its home market for the time being. Re-building the brand name and product line to a position of first-tier luxury status in America would give a launching pad for Europe and Asia. Without it, Lincoln would be swimming in deep water without a life vest.
On the other hand, increasing Ford's overall reach in the rapidly emerging markets of Asia is a strong plan for the future. This year, China's total vehicle sales outstripped the stumbling American market, and the rate of growth there is almost unfathomable.
What's clear, however, is that Lincoln already has enough challenges on its plate at home for now. To see what Lincoln has been up to lately, check out the revised 2011 Lincoln MKX revealed at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.
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