Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) will launch its new Lincoln Continental line to make headway in the Luxury car market that is dominated by German car makers. The move is the latest bid by the American automaker to reverse its declining fortunes. Ford plans to use its position as the smallest maker of Luxury cars to its advantage. The new Lincoln Continental is designed keeping in mind the American and Chinese markets.
The updated classic sedan was unveiled on Monday by Ford ahead of the New York auto show. The upcoming New York show will feature sedans by Ford’s competitor General Motors, which is also looking to headway in the Luxury sedan market.
Ford had in 2002 dropped the name Continental, however, the name ‘Continental’ retained a special luxury value in China where it is used by celebrities. Therefore, the move to bring back Lincoln Continental has been kept in mind by the huge car market in China,which has become the largest luxury car market in the world.
The name ‘Continental’ still has many taker in America according to Ford executives who pointed the recurrence of old Continental models in movies to reiterate their point. The optimism though could be little too much given that Lincoln lags behind its competitors like BMW, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes and Cadillac in the American market.
Mark Fields, the CEO of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), is of the opinion that there are many similarities between the American and Chinese luxury sedan markets, and the car is meant for both the markets. One of the main differences between the two markets is that in China most luxury cars are chauffer driven, which is not the case in America. To cater to this, Ford has incorporated many passenger amenities that include “smart” windows, which become opaque on touch.
American sales of Lincoln are up 1.2% in the first two months of 2015 and lags behind the 9.2% increase in the overall market. The company aims to increase the sale of its Sedan to 300,000 a year by 2020, which will be three times its current sales.
Ford along with General Motors was one of the hardest hit companies during the recession. It is to be seen whether the latest move by Ford will help it regain lost ground in a market that is dominated by Germans and Japanese.