As President's Day Looms, Lincoln Seeks to Emancipate Itself from Struggling Auto Sales, Reports Edmunds.com
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — February 17, 2011 — While America celebrates the legacy of Abraham Lincoln this President's Day, the automotive brand named after a president whose life was tragically cut short is hoping to avoid a similar fate. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, reports that Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand continues to struggle even while much of the auto industry is showing gradual signs of recovery.
Last month, Ford's luxury brand suffered through its worst January sales performance in at least two decades, and the lowest for any single month since September. In 2010, Lincoln finished eighth in the luxury car sales race (85,828 total sales), well behind seventh-place Audi (101,629). The brand's sales performance represents a steep drop-off from its peak of 193,000 cars sold in 2000.
"One of Lincoln's problems is that its models are too similar to Ford's mainstream lineup," said Jessica Caldwell, director of pricing and industry analysis at Edmunds.com. "If Lincoln really wants to embrace its luxury identity, it needs to find ways to give its cars more distinctive characteristics that command those extra thousands of dollars from luxury buyers."
Lincoln's future products are under wraps, but one of the ways Lincoln has announced it plans to distinguish itself is through marketing. In a recent interview with Edmunds' AutoObserver.com, Ford's new VP of Marketing and Communications Jim Farley explained that Lincoln will employ an entirely separate marketing strategy from its parent company that focuses on a more personal, experiential touch.
"Social media has really allowed us to tell people the new Ford story, the one Ford story, and break a lot of myths," said Farley. "But luxury customers are pretty different. They want to learn more than something on Facebook. If they're going to spend $45,000 or $50,000 on a vehicle, they want to hear from, and meet, the manufacturer, and they want to learn more about the products."
With the annual President's Day holiday, some might think that February presents a unique opportunity for Lincoln to market itself to consumers. But Lincoln sales have been traditionally bland in the month that celebrates its presidential namesake. Edmunds.com reports that while Lincoln's True Cost of IncentivesSM (TCISM) typically climb about 5 percent in February, its month-over-month sales fall slightly (-0.9%) on average.
Read more about the history of Lincoln on Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/lincoln/. The full interview with Ford's Jim Farley can be found on Edmunds' AutoObserver.com at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/02/qa-mulally-lieutenants-execute-one-ford-globally.html.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.