It could be a decade before Lincoln becomes a "true luxury" brand--those aren't the words of an industry analyst or competitor, but J Mays, Ford's design chief. While rival Cadillac has made good inroads into the luxury field with several new launches over the last few years, Lincoln has struggled to live up to the luxury billing enjoyed by BMW, Mercedes-Benz and now, Cadillac.
According to The Detroit News, Ford is at the "investment stage" with Lincoln, and turning the brand into a fully-fledged luxury marque could take ten years. At the same time, Lincoln isn't short of competition, but it's still struggling to define its place in the market.
Its trouble, say some analysts, is that Lincoln is treating luxury as a series of checklists--leather seats here, some technology there--when many true luxury products are defined by unique selling points and experiences that other brands can't or don't offer.
To a degree, Lincoln already offers that with its unusual push-button shift on some models, but Mays promises a "whole list of things" that will feature in future vehicles to differentiate them from competitors. Ideas such as the firm's Black Label trim are a start, but plenty more should be on the horizon.
It may be two or three decades before Lincoln once again matches its '80s and '90s heyday. That's a long time to wait for true luxury.