Ford trains dealers in Lincoln Academy to revive brand

Article by Anita Panait, on June 14, 2013

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.

Almost the same as the Lincoln MKZ Concept displayed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the production version of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ epitomises a design ethos that is delicately distinct.

Max Wolff, Lincoln Design director, says that Lincoln calls it simple elegance. The company sought for the new MKZ to be appealing and accessible. They tried to avoid staying with typical luxury designs and intricate styling. Lincoln devised an automobile that is warm as well as decadent, while still being deliberately self-possessed.

Lincoln MKZ Exterior

A swooping roofline characterises the new luxury sedan's silhouette. The precipitously raked windscreen and elongated backlight create a smoother and more flowy look that is ten percent more streamlined than the previous model. The MKZ shape is a complete vision created with only a few lines.

Although outstandingly contemporary, the styling keeps traditional Lincoln design touches that include a more sophisticated reading of the split-wing grille, first found on the 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr.

The rear-view mirrors are mounted on sculptured door pedestals. This enables the front door’s glass to reach further forward to better visibility and to let even more light into the interior.

The fashioned headlight assemblies use bright, energy-saving LEDs. The front lights turn in synchronicity with the steering wheel, creating better visibility. In the back, LEDs allow a slender, distinct full-width tail light graphic.

Topics: ford, lincoln, academy

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