Ford is pouring over $1 billion to revive its Lincoln brand, with focus on creating a luxury car-buying experience that will entice younger, better-educated and wealthier buyers. To implement the magic, Ford its teaching its dealers the tricks by having them undergo training at the Lincoln Academy. The academy aims to raise dealer’s consciousness and sharpen their senses with exercises like sampling cheese.
The training was indeed challenging. One of the trainers asked dealers of the age of their customers, several of them relied with numbers in the 70s and 80s. Doug Fiedler, a Lincoln Academy trainer who consults for firms like Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Norwegian Cruise Lines, responded that people who “literally live their whole lives to aspire” to buy a Lincoln. He said that this is not a good business model.
Lingering questions over the state of Ford’s luxury brand were answered through the launch of the Lincoln MKZ luxury sedan – the first of four new or redesigned models in four years. According to data from Bloomberg Industries and researcher Edmunds.com, Lincoln posted record sales of the MKZ in each of the past two months.
The MKZ even spent fewer days on dealer lots than the BMW 3-Series or the Mercedes-Benz C-class. Ford considers Lincoln as vital to its future as it needs successful high-profit luxury line to complement its own range of vehicles. Ford posted a record $8.34-billion pretax profit in North America in 2012 and has posted a 0.8 percentage point gain in market share so far this year.