Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand, may have no sales relevance outside of North America, but I thought some of these words may resonate with our forum users.
They’re spoken by Jim Farley, Ford’s vice president of marketing, at the launch in Detroit today of the Lincoln MKZ concept, a car which signals the rebirth of the company and pitches it against the likes of Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes.
Pondering why Ford suddenly felt there was an opportunity for Lincoln, he said: “It’s as if the big bucks retailers have become soulless, forgetting what made them special. Clients feel like a number not a name. The showcase dealerships and expanding car ranges have made them lose touch with the customers.
“Our scale will allow us to focus on personal experiences, for people who don’t believe that one size fits all. Our customers will be the sort of people who don’t want to stay in a chain hotel, but seek out a boutique because they want warmth and personal experience. This is where Lincoln can carve a unique space.”
That will translate into innovations such as having extra staff in dealerships to attend to customers, providing courtesy cars for nothing if the car is in a dealership, delivering new purchases to customers and so on. It’s not ground-breaking, but nor is it available everywhere else. It is, in essence, a personal touch that Farley believes the big players have lost.
Now, I won’t get too carried away – this was a marketing man speaking at the launch of a new product, after all – but I do think Farley has a point.
Parting with tens of thousands of pounds should be about more than going through a process, and in this time-challenged modern world, customers, especially of so-called premium cars, should expect to have a hassle-free ownership experience after they’ve parted with their money. Other wannabe premium car makers could do worse than follow suit.