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Posts Tagged ‘Ford luxury brand’

Ford’s Fields Makes Mark with New Appointments

CEO replaces Farley as head of Lincoln.

by on Jul.22, 2014

Kumar Galhotra is succeeding Jim Farley as President of Lincoln. Farley remains in charge of Ford's global marketing efforts.

Less than a month after taking over as Ford Motor Co.’s CEO, Mark Fields is making his first tweak to the company’s leadership team by replacing Jim Farley as the head of Lincoln with Kumar Galhotra, who had been vice president of engineering. The pair will report to Fields and the change is effective Sept. 1.

Farley, who came to Ford from Toyota with a reputation as a brilliant marketer and will remain in charge of global marketing, was charged with creating a new approach to customers for the company’s struggling luxury unit.

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However, as Lincoln rebuilds and expands it’s only natural that the brand has a dedicated leader, Ford officials said. (more…)

Ford Moves Up-Market With New Vignale

Free car washes for life?

by on Sep.12, 2013

Ford's new Mondeo Vignale makes its Frankfurt debut.

With the European market showing tenuous signs of revival after plunging into its worst downturn in decades, Ford Motor Co. is prepping a major product offensive that includes a push into more up-market segments it abandoned with the sell-off of its former Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo brands.

Ford is leaving room for the eventual European launch of its North American luxury brand Lincoln, until then the maker is betting its new Vignale brand-within-a-brand can attract the sort of demanding buyers who might otherwise migrate to other high-line marques – and that it can deliver better sales while earning higher margins, in the process.

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While Vignale is still a work in progress, Ford pulled the wraps off the first model to carry the new name during this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The Ford Mondeo Vignale is a fancier version of the maker’s midsize model line – which is sold in the U.S. as the Ford Fusion – and slots above the current Mondeo Titanium model. (more…)

Lincoln Readying Potentially Major Re-launch of MKZ

Production finally approaching “launch levels.”

by on Apr.02, 2013

The new Lincoln MKZ is now at "launch levels."

With production of the new Lincoln MKZ finally approaching “launch levels” after a costly delay in the production of the critical new luxury sedan, parent Ford Motor Co. is studying just how extensive a re-launch will be needed to put the 2013 model back on the radar for potential buyers.

The Lincoln MKZ was supposed to serve as the foundation for the revitalization of the long-struggling luxury brand. But even as the first of the sedans began rolling into showrooms late last year, Ford decided to curb production, worrying that the MKZ could fall victim to the same snags that resulted in quality problems and recalls for other new 2013 models, such as the Ford Fusion sedan and Escape crossover.

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The problem, admitted marketing chief Jim Farley, is that the carmaker went ahead with a major nationwide marketing campaign, including several costly Super Bowl spots, even without product in the showroom. That left dealers unable to serve potential buyers – some of whom are still waiting while others likely switched to competing brands.


Report: Lincoln Gets Its Own Design Studio

Luxury brand to also get unique interiors and powertrains.

by on Aug.10, 2011

Lincoln has recently shown the Lincoln Navicross concept, but future Lincolns will be designed in a new dedicated studio.

It would appear Ford is getting serious about plans to revive its flagging Lincoln brand. The automaker will give Lincoln its own design studio within the Product Development Center in Dearborn.

While Lincolns will continue to be based on Fords – something most automakers do successfully between their mainstream and luxury brands – new Lincoln Design Director Max Wolff will be charged with giving the luxury versions a unique look.

According to Autoline Daily, Ford will also invest in unique interiors and powertrains, adding that those powertrains will offer big improvements in fuel economy.

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The news comes on the heels of Ford’s recent announcement that it will invest $1.2 billion in new Lincoln models, with seven new vehicles planned for the next four years.

What remains to be seen is how much of an impact the new design studio can have on those new vehicles since the designs for at least some of them must already be set because of the auto industry’s long lead times.

But a unique design studio could be the key to resurrecting the luxury brand.


First Drive: Lincoln MKT

Luxury crossover has distinctive look, but tail is rather ungainly.

by on Sep.17, 2010

The Lincoln MKT includes styling cues from past Lincolns, but many will have trouble getting past the large tail end.

Let it never be said that Lincoln went conservative in its design of the MKT luxury crossover.

On first glimpse, the MKT seemed to have rather odd proportions. While most of the vehicle has a nice design and well-played features, the bulky rear end gives the tail end a heavy look. Let’s call it like it is: The MKT looks like it’s packing a load.

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In contrast, the design of the Buick Enclave, is striking, making it the most beautiful of the luxury crossovers. Sure, styling is a subjective area frought with peril for auto scribes. In Lincoln’s defense, luxury car buyers typically want a flashy design that stands out from the crowd. It’s also worth noting that my wife disagrees with my assessment.

Lincoln has made great use of the split-wing grille, which it is extending across the lineup. It gives Lincoln a distinctive front end design, which also points back to Lincoln’s storied past.

But still that rear end …