Ford is the first to admit that its upmarket Lincoln brand is in need of direction, seeing it languish as a lower tier luxury brand for the past several years despite its Detroit rival, Cadillac, being able to turn things around considerably during the same period. We’ve seen some potential with cars like the MKS though at the same time we’ve seen some major mistakes--Lincoln MKT anyone?
We’ve also reported several times in the past about Lincoln launching seven new models by 2014, with compact cars and crossovers to be included. But to really shake things up Ford is also established a crack team of 85 staff to work on fixing the American luxury brand.
Speaking with Automotive News, Lincoln spokesman Christian Bokich revealed that the new team will focus exclusively on Lincoln, with the brand’s marketing, engineering, product development and dealer issues the top priority. Previously, he explained, staff had to work on all three Ford, Mercury and Lincoln brands, spreading talents very thinly.
Half the team has allegedly been recruited from rival luxury brands, namely, Audi and Cadillac, and most are positioned at Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Cadillac, especially, is a brand whose performance Lincoln would like to emulate. Last year Cadillac sold 146,925 vehicles, nearly double the 85,828 vehicles sold by Lincoln.
The team's arsenal will include a new $100 million advertising budget, as well as several redesigned models in the near future including a compact crossover and new hatchback. More details should be revealed at the Lincoln National Dealer Council meeting on April 18 so stay tuned for an update.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]