Report: Ford Designer Says Lincoln "Not True Luxury" Brand Yet

Ford design chief J Mays told The Detroit News that Lincoln is "not true luxury," but said the brand could improve its image within a decade. That's despite a concerted effort from Lincoln to reinvent itself as a worthy competitor to German luxury brands.

"No, we're not true luxury… We're in an investment stage with Lincoln. We've probably got a 10-year investment to make," Mays told The Detroit News.

However, Mays promised that Lincoln has a "whole list of things" it will add to future cars to help distinguish them more from Ford vehicles. Citing examples like the accordion-pull air vent controls in Bentley cars, Mays said that Lincoln will use unique touches to define its brand. He said that Lincoln could build on the push-button transmission and new interior design in the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, for instance; product planners also previously told us that the MKZ's giant panoramic sunroof could become a signature item in future Lincolns.

"Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, 'That's that particular brand,'" Mays said.

Ford and Lincoln have tried to improve the luxury brand's image and ramp up its sales, but so far haven't found much success. So far this year, the entire Lincoln brand has sold just 45,207 cars, a figure beaten by many individual Ford products. The Ford Fiesta, for instance, reported 45,831 year-to-date sales.

After launching the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, the brand also attempted to renew its image by changing its name to the Lincoln Motor Company and launching a new advertising campaign highlighting some of its heritage models. Lincoln has also announced its Black Label treatment, which will debut on the 2015 Lincoln MKZ (pictured above) before spreading to other models. Like Audi Exclusive or BMW Individual, the Black Label treatment allows buyers to pick upscale interior appointments like white leather. Lincoln also plans to expand its reach to the Chinese market next year.

On top of that, Lincoln plans at least two more new cars in the coming years. A compact crossover, based on the Lincoln MKC concept shown in Detroit, is expected late next year, and a compact sedan, which could serve as a rival to the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, is expected in 2015.

Source: The Detroit News

J. Mays should be ashamed of himself. He has been creatively bankrupt since his last hit - the 2002 Thunderbird. Other than having been in a coma for 12 years, there is no other excuse for him not to have taken control and responsibility for Lincoln. Why was the MKT not built as shown in the Concept? Where is the gorgeous MKR?. Why was the dumbed-down MKT Wagon allowed to become the new Taxi Cab ( taking over for the Town Car)?Ford didn't close Mercury - it closed Lincoln and put all the extra badges on Mercury product.  EVERY LIncoln product is a re-badged minimally upmarket Ford - exactly what Mercury has always been; LINCOLN was always a stand-alone brand with unique architecture.Stop building Mercury's Mr Mays - and start building Lincolns. Your design staff knows what they should be like, even if you don't.
This article highlights the problem at Lincoln. Every quote about Lincoln's present and future is made by Ford executives (J. Mays, Jim Farley, etc.). There is no executive on Lincoln's new management team who is senior enough to speak for the brand. This is further proof that Lincoln is merely a high trim-level of Ford rather than a true Lincoln Motor Company.It is truly sad how Ford is trashing the Lincoln heritage. The Cadillac management team over at GM seems to have a vision for the brand while Ford seems content to foist ancient hand-me-up platforms on poor Lincoln. The Volvo S80/Ford D3? The Mazda G/Ford CD3? The Ford Mondeo CDW27? Come on!The 10 year investment Ford is talking about is really about them trying to figure out how to play the luxury game while dwindling market share threatens their ability to survive. In this article, Ford is admitting that they are sending the farm team out to play in the World Series.

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