Ford Tries to Breathe Life into the Lincoln

Lincoln 2012 LA show
Lincoln 2012 LA show

U.S. made luxury cars have become all but extinct, as buyers have deserted the iconic U.S. brands for foreign models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and others. We noted earlier today that the General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) Cadillac is unlikely to succeed with its turnaround effort. How much more unlikely, then, is the effort that Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) plans to announce today for its luxury Lincoln model.

Ford will add a new brand name, Lincoln Motor Company, to its stable, improve its customer service for buyers of Lincoln cars and run an ad for Lincoln at this year's Super Bowl, starring none other than Abraham Lincoln. All this to support the latest model, the MKZ, which goes on sale early next year. Three more models will appear, including a newly designed SUV.

How big is the problem that Ford is trying to fix with the Lincoln blitz? Well, GM sold slightly more than 117,000 Cadillacs in the first 10 months of 2012. Ford sold about 69,000 Lincolns.

Like Cadillac owners, Lincoln owners tend to be older. In fact, at an average age of 60, even older than Cadillac buyers, who average 57 years of age. Lincoln's average age has risen by five years since 2007, whereas Cadillac has added just two years to its buyers' average age.

If the Abraham Lincoln link-up doesn't work, there is always the image of the Hot Rod Lincoln. Maybe that will attract younger buyers.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Autos Tagged: F, GM