Ford, itself a latecomer on the world’s largest car market, has just recently introduced its premium Lincoln brand to Chinese consumers, but in order to become successful needs to rethink its way it pays attention to details.
The United States and China are two widely different cultures, a trait that is obvious even when it comes to cars, but gets a particular significance when we take into consideration the strides of a premium brand.
Lincoln, a 100-year-old marque, which just started to conquer China, introducing prototype dealerships in Shanghai and later on in other seven cities, has been doing three years of research on the motives of Chinese luxury consumers.
“China is still a very young market, with a few key brands that are well-established and some that have entered and not done well,” says Matt Van Dyke, the global brand director at Lincoln. “Some of these new luxury customers don’t necessarily want to own the car that the first luxury adopters bought into. They don’t want a luxury badge as a sign of their wealth—they’re looking for something different.”
Lincoln needs a break overseas, as sales in its home region show signs of weakness – in 2013 it dropped slightly from 2012, while other luxury rivals saw double-digit increases in the same period. The US brand introduces in China a program called “The Lincoln Way,” aimed at securing a long-lasting relationship with the customer, making him return to the brand for a second purchase.