Auto blogMon, 17 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:29:00 EST
"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms." - Paul Bucek
Lincoln is launching a Black Label service and customization program in December at 32 dealerships across the country in a bid to attract new and more upscale customers.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST
Ford has announced five separate recalls, affecting 202,000 vehicles built between 2005 and 2014.
It's not been a great couple of weeks for Ford. On October 30, the company announced a 205,000-unit recall, and yesterday, it was revealed that the Ford brand's year-over-year sales were down over 5,000 units while the company itself was down 3,000 units over through October. Now, the company has announced five separate recalls affecting 202,000 vehicles built between 2005 and 2014.
After the horrible weather last winter, it's hard to look forward for the season to return this year. For those readers in much of the country, the snow is going to be flying soon, and with it comes salt on the roads. That means Ford's regional recall for the 2007-2008 Edge and Lincoln MKX arrives at the perfect time because they are at risk for corrosion.
The campaign covers 204,448 examples of the models in 21 states, plus the District of Columbia and some provinces of Canada. In total there are 186,024 vehicles in need of repair in the US and 18,424 in Canada.
According to Ford, it's possible for the area, "under the reinforcement brackets where the fuel tank is mounted" to corrode. If this happens, there might be a gas smell in the vehicle or even a fuel leak could develop. In fact, the automaker reports that one fire could be related to the problem but no injuries or accidents are reported.
Episode #403 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Michael Harley, and Ronnie Fung of Autoblog Canada talk about the $5 billion investment Ford is making in Lincoln, the McLaren 650S, and the best apps for drivers. We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!
Autoblog Podcast #403:
We're set to record Autoblog Podcast #403 this evening. Check out the topics below or drop us your questions and comments via the Q&A module. And don't forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics For Autoblog Podcast Episode #403
Ford investing $5B in Lincoln
It's no secret that Lincoln has received short shrift from the Ford Motor Company for years, and former CEO Alan Mullay even wanted to kill the whole thing off when he ran things. Today, things appear to be trending in a different direction. Fresh investment has helped enable a sizable marketing push for its well-regarded MKC compact crossover, a couple of awards for the company and plant the seeds for a major expansion into China. While the situation is still in the early going, it looks like Lincoln is on a tentative (if long) path towards a turnaround. If new reports are accurate, the brand is poised to build on that momentum with its largest investment in new products in years thanks in large measure to a new modular platform codenamed D6.
According to four unnamed insiders speaking to Reuters, FoMoCo is investing over $5 billion over the next five years, partially to create a new modular platform to underpin multiple Lincoln vehicles - and possibly some Ford products, too. Development is reportedly being overseen by the division's new boss, Kumar Galhotra. At the moment, specific details about the D6 chassis aren't yet known, but it's rumored to have the flexibility to support front-, rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles. According to Reuters, the first model using the framework could be an MKZ replacement and seven-passenger MKT successor in 2019.
Until the D6-based models hit, expect to see continued expansion from Lincoln. Ford management isn't trying to turn around the division overnight and is planning "in terms of generations of products," according to current CEO Mark Fields. The strategy unsurprisingly includes a production version of Lincoln's recent MKX Concept, as well as an all-new Navigator using aluminum-intensive architecture. Reuters also claims the MKS is due for renewal in the meantime, including with a longer-wheelbase version to appeal to the brand's new Chinese buyers.
At this point, making fun of the Lincoln MKC ads starring Matthew McConaughey is getting pretty old, though apparently Lincoln loves it. The commercials have been airing for over a month, but Conan O'Brien, Ellen DeGeneres and even South Park have all taken their swipes at the spots with the smooth-talking actor monologuing about his new luxury crossover. Saturday Night Live might have finally killed the joke in its recent episode featuring Jim Carrey.
The problem certainly isn't that Carrey does a bad job in the spoofs, and he actually pulls off a pretty good McConaughey impression. They start out as pretty direct mimicry and slowly evolve into the absurd, including cracks at McConaughey's acting career and the way he rubs his thumb and finger together. Carrey certainly raises at least a chuckle at times, though.
However, the comedian's engaging performance can't take away from the fact that SNL has arriving to this mocking party pretty late in the game. The jokes just don't feel fresh anymore, so hopefully these ads put the final nails in the coffin for the riffs - at least until the next batch of Lincoln ads arrive.
Following positive third quarter financial results recently from General Motors, rival Ford took a tumble in Q3. The automaker posted pre-tax profits of $1.18 billion, compared to about $2.59 billion in Q3 2013, a drop of around 54 percent. Net income also suffered with $835 million made in the quarter, versus $1.272 billion last year, a decline of about 34 percent. The Blue Oval blamed the gloomy figures on three reasons in its release: "lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects."
There were problems of one kind or another in practically every region. North America experienced higher warranty costs than expected, partially due to recalls. The sales volume for the quarter was 665,000 units, versus 725,000 in Q3 2013, and pre-tax results amounted to $1.41 billion versus $2.296 billion last year.
South America and Europe both posted worse pre-tax results than last year. On the bright side, European volume was up slightly to 321,000 vehicles, from 303,000 in Q3 2013. The Middle East and Africa also lost $15 million, but that was an improvement compared to the $25 million loss previously experienced in this region.
The Ford Motor Company has a lot of reasons to celebrate after winning eight categories in this year's Texas Auto Writers Association's annual Truck Rodeo. Most important among them, the Blue Oval's latest 2015 Ford F-150 earned the prestigious Truck of Texas award, ending the Ram 1500's two-year winning streak. The 2015 Lincoln MKC also grabbed the honor as the CUV of Texas, and Ford was named Truck Line of Texas.
FoMoCo even took trophies for best technology with its extensive use of aluminum on its latest F-Series and best commercial vehicle for the new Transit 250. It wasn't a total sweep, though, because the Jeep Grand Cherokee grabbed the title of the SUV of Texas for the fifth straight time.
This year's event put 60 auto writers in 75 pickups, SUVs and crossovers and challenged them to find the best in a plethora of categories. All of the winners are listed below, and scroll down to read the full announcements from the Texas Auto Writers Association and Ford.
You would think that commercial being ridiculed across the Internet would be an advertising executive's worst nightmare, but that's not necessarily the case. At least not when it comes to Lincoln and its latest campaign to promote the new MKC.
The campaign features Matthew McConaughey channeling his characters from True Detective and The Lincoln Lawyer, and was quickly spoofed by both Conan O'Brien and Ellen DeGeneres. But instead of shaking their heads in dismay at the comedy talk-show hosts' take on their ad, Lincoln and its advertising firm Hudson Rouge welcome the free publicity.
"We're flattered. Just to get out into the public mind with parodies says you've achieved a certain amount of notoriety," Hudson Rouge CCO Jon Pearce told Automotive News. "It's hard to put a dollar amount on earned media. We couldn't ask for better."