Can Ford Resurrect Lincoln’s Success?
Ford Motors Co’s (NYSE:F) Lincoln used to be the top-selling luxury brand in the 1990s. Though its sales have since faltered as the automaker has had its own fair shares of woes, Ford is now focusing on resurrecting Lincoln’s success, and it is looking at its premium small-car and crossover segments to help it do it.
In a presentation to investors on Thursday, Reuters reports that Ford detailed its expectations for the brand, using a chart to highlight the premium small-car and crossover segments as Lincoln’s target division. The U.S. automaker expects it to show significant growth by 2015.
And now that Lincoln sales are once again gaining momentum, Ford is ready to offer new models and revive its image. While the brand sold 230,000 cars a year at one point in the 1990s, it only posted sales of 82,150 vehicles in the United States in 2012. However, it now believes it can help boost sales once again by dipping into new vehicle markets, and possibly considering different versions of its current vehicles, such as a near-luxury compact sedan. This small sedan could even provide competition to General Motors Co.’s (NYSE:GM) Cadillac ATS and the Mercedes CLA.
The brand has already seen significant progress as it showcased a concept version of the Lincoln MKC compact crossover at the Detroit auto show this year. That vehicle is expected to be available next year.
With these new efforts, Ford is confident that Lincoln can improve its current status as the eighth best-selling luxury brand. Though Lincoln’s restoration didn’t have the best start — with the delay of the MKZ sedan due to quality and supply issues — the automaker is assured it can bounce back. With the luxury market growing quickly in the United States and China, Ford believes its new model introductions will come at just the right time, and the automaker even plans to launch Lincoln in China, the world’s largest auto market, by the second half of 2014.