Can Mark Fields Do to Lincoln What Alan Mulally Did for Ford?

Source: Lincoln

Had Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally gotten his way, the company may not have bothered investing its time, energy, or money into resurrecting the Lincoln brand into what we see today. In fact, Mulally was apparently interested in letting the brand go, and it was Mark Fields, who becomes CEO of Ford on Tuesday, who convinced him that the luxury marque was worth putting in the effort to bring back.

As it turns out, convincing Mulally to hang in there with Lincoln might have been the easiest part of Fields’ job, as he is now responsible for generating appeal for Lincoln among younger buyers and pulling for the brand like what Mulally did for Ford. In short, turn it around.

Lincoln has largely ridden on the success of the Town Car in years past, but now that that era is over, it’s struggling to carve out a niche for itself and shed its frumpy, geriatric image. While it started with the MKZ sedan, the MKC crossover is helping shoulder the burden, and the MKX is getting an overhaul, as well. Even the Navigator, which has remained largely unchanged throughout the years, has gotten some attention.

“Our team is so enthused about Mark becoming CEO,” Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln, said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week. “Mark really understands and has instilled in all of us the strategic importance of the luxury business. It’s a small part of industry sales relatively, 8 percent and growing, but the contribution to the overall bottom line is a much higher percentage.”