Ford Motor Co. has promised its frustrated dealers that it will invest $1 billion in a bid to make the struggling Lincoln brand competitive, with an assortment of new products coming to market by 2014.
Once locked in a bitter, ongoing battle with Cadillac for dominance in the American luxury market, Lincoln has become little more than an afterthought in recent years. It currently holds less than 1% of the overall U.S. market, despite the addition of new and updated models like the MKS sedan, and MKX and MKT crossovers. At the current sales pace of barely 7,000 vehicles a month, Lincoln could end the year with volumes of less than a third of luxury market leaders BMW and Lexus.
The “question is whether Lincoln will be viable,” IHS analyst Rebecca Lindland told the Detroit News, which revealed the new management commitment to Lincoln.
That was a relatively charitable way of putting things. Earlier this month, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson suggested Lincoln is “over,” and that Ford might as well “sprinkle holy water over it.”