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Auto blogMon, 27 Oct 2014 14:29:00 EST
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.
These days, when you buy a new car, it's not unreasonable to expect a certain period of free maintenance to come along as well. Sometimes this is through the life of the warranty, in other cases a little less. But Ford Motor Company is going beyond those deals for at least one part of its cars. As of now, if you buy a set of Motorcraft brake pads for a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury model, you get free replacements for as long as you own the vehicle. The offer is good at Ford or Lincoln dealers and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.
"We will replace the pads for as long as you own the vehicle," said Elizabeth Weigandt to Autoblog. She did clarify that the Motorcraft pads are generally for models from the '90s or newer. Also, to take advantage of this program, a person must return to the same dealer each time to get the free parts.
Of course, Ford isn't just handing out brake pads to anyone who walks by; there are certain stipulations. First, the components have to be worn down to less than three millimeters to be eligible, and the buyer still has to pay for the labor to install them. If the model is used as a fleet vehicle for commercial purposes like as a taxi or limousine, this offer also doesn't apply; the same thing for racecars. On the plus side, if you recently bought a set of pads from one of the participating locations, you're still in luck. The deal covers parts purchased as of July 1.
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.