Lincoln aims for clean start in China image

Ford, which has become a rising star in China’s very competitive automotive market, is having big change at making a good impression – it’s bringing for the first time there the Lincoln premium brand.

China, which is the world’s largest automotive market, is still growing strongly – even amid mounting concerns in regards to the air pollution levels – and a big driver for the growth are premium cars and the SUV segment. And Lincoln, with models in both segments, now wants a share of the pie.

As the Asian country looks set to outgrow the US as the biggest market for luxury cars as well in the next few years, Matt VanDyke, global director of Lincoln, foresees the brand to also sell more cars there than in its home market – where it’s currently struggling with a long sales slip.

“It’s good for any brand to have a clean slate and be able to evaluate and figure out where you can make things better,” said Stephanie Brinley, analyst with IHS Automotive.

As executives survey the Lincoln dealerships, the candidates need to set up standard but very expensive and luxurious designs, while the staff is expected to have a very strict customer service training. The brand will make its presence felt on the market since this fall, with initial sales concentrated on the MKZ midsize sedan and new MKC compact crossover.