Very interesting article in the Detroit News today: http://detnews.com/article/20110606/AUTO01/106060342/1148/GM-refocusing-product-line. If you are a GM fan, read it closely as well as the follow-on article (with many more details): http://detnews.com/article/20110606/AUTO01/106060339/1148/GM-refocusing-product-line/Akerson’s-battle-plan-for-GM.
Good reading, but it’s Akerson’s remark about Lincoln that caught our eye: “They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It’s over“.
How true it is, and how sad it is. Lincoln has a line of dressed-up Fords, offering only a slightly better cut of leather and wood to differentiate them. We’ve see the same exact same badge engineering from Lincoln for too many years. Only the departed Lincoln LS was exclusive to Lincoln (although its DEW-98 platform shared with the Thunderbird and Jaguar). The platform engineering was world-class, but the sales team failed dearly. This should have been done right, although arguably the Ford of that time didn’t know how.
You have only to look at the enormous success of the Cadillac CTS for the justification of a rear wheel drive Lincoln. Or the undoubtedly similar success of the upcoming ATS, which will also supply a small and light basis for the next Camaro.
Or further east to Nissan, where the “FM” platform has spawned the entire Infiniti line of cars, as well as the 370Z. There may not be a more successful platform in the entire world. Costs are shared across many models, paying the engineering bill as well as the products costs of extensive aluminum components.
It’s exactly what Lincoln could have had. The DEW-98 was intended to underpin the Mustang, as well as a larger sedan (Continental?). And plans were in the works for a smaller version to build a BMW 3-sized competitor. A planned update to the platform could have taken the platform to the next step by reducing it’s already-reasonable weight and making provision for different lengths and widths. Exactly the same benefits that the ATS, CTS, and FM realize.
And instead Lincoln has nothing of note, other than a dated, heavy and slightly worked-over Volvo chassis.