Ford is again rejuvenating the ailing luxury brand Lincoln, pouring billions of dollars into its development and turning it hip with ads that star actor Matthew McConaughey or luring younger, more affluent drivers with perks such as Venetian leather cockpits and personal services.
Lincoln has taken a page from the world’s greatest reservoir of luxury ideas – the fashion business – with the so-called Black Label trim level mirroring Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label line for high-end men’s clothing. According to Andrew Frick, the brand’s group marketing manager, the top of the line variants would make their presence felt next month in six states and go national in late 2015. After it peaked back in the 1990s, Lincoln has been continuously losing market share and sales, partly because of its dusty image of brand for old people and for the business travelers that use airport shuttles.
Back in September, Ford’s new chief executive officer, Mark Fields, pledged to invest $2.5 billion in Lincoln over the next five years as it makes its first foray into China (the world’s second-largest luxury market and the biggest overall) and introduces eight new vehicles. After back in August the brand called Oscar winner McConaughey to become its ambassador and on the strength of rising deliveries of the new MKC crossover, Lincoln grew sales by 25% in October.