Lincoln Goes to China
As I’m sure you’re well aware, China is a huge country with a swollen population and also the fastest growing economy in the world. So it makes sense that the demand for the luxury car market is quickly growing as well. The Chinese are big fans of Citroen and will be getting the Citroen DS9 shortly. But Lincoln went sniffing around the market and has decided its time to introduce their brand to the Chinese come the year 2014.
The Chinese, it turns out, don’t just want an impressive looking car that will show off their lot in life. They also want a car that can perform. A car that can provide them with and exciting and comfortable driving experience. Lincoln seems to think they can provide this. Studies have shown that your average wealthy Chinese individual is of a younger generation, but also has string desire to educate themselves on the heritage of a brand. It’s important to them to know that what they’re driving has a history of sophistication and craftsmanship. Luxury consumers in China want more than international credentials, they demand a heritage of excellence.
And Lincoln certainly has its heritage and history. The car maker got its namesake from President Abraham Lincoln for starters. They were bought by Ford in 1922 and went on to provide luxury vehicles for the wealthy and the famous alike. For several decades a Lincoln was the symbol of status and used by everyone from gangsters to presidents as a daily ride.
This is an aggressive expansion effort by Ford and with good reason considering the fast rapidly evolving economic growth of China. For hopes to have 15 new vehicles and 20 different powertrain options available for the Chinese by 2015. The Ford Motor Company is in the process of building five new production plants in China. This will include a second plant in the city of Chongqing that already houses the largest Ford manufacturing plant next to their plant in southeast Michigan. When these five plants are complete they will double Ford’s production capacity for China at 1.2 million passenger vehicles per year. This is Ford’s most aggressive and largest expansion in 50 years and it’s projected it will boost Ford’s annual sales to roughly 8 million annually by 2015. Not all of that will be luxury vehicles of course. But it allows for substantial growth for Ford in the Asian market. And with the Chinese appetite for the extremely impressive Citroen DS9 Lincoln certainly will have its work cut out.
All of this bodes well not only for Ford but the for the auto industry in general. It’s interesting that 50 years ago it would have been considered not only sacrilege but down right treason for an American company like Ford to provide luxury cars to the likes of Chinese political figures. Never mind the same Lincoln Continental the President of the USA was driving. But economic shifts tend to change political propensities. And so Lincoln goes to China.