Ford Motor Company President Alan Mulally has announced that the automaker will begin marketing its premium Lincoln brand in China starting sometime during the second half of 2014. The division is currently undergoing a well-publicized major revitalization effort here in the U.S. that includes a comprehensive revamping of its product offerings coupled with efforts to greatly enhance the total ownership experience.
According to Mulally, the decision is strategic in nature and one that will serve to strengthen the position of Ford Motor Company in China while reaching out to a new group of affluent buyers. "Introducing Lincoln in China marks the next step in our expansion in Asia and our commitment to serving customers in the luxury market. We recognize the growth potential for Lincoln in China, building on the growing appeal of our new Lincoln products and unique, personalized customer experience in North America."
China's luxury vehicle market is currently experiencing a major growth spurt, having reached nearly 1 million total units in 2011. Sales in that segment are projected to more than double - from six percent to nearly nine percent -- by the end of the decade, and the volume numbers are expected to exceed those in the U.S. by 2020.
"Globally, we're seeing a new generation of luxury clients who value more individualistic and tailored options," notes Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing Sales and Service, Ford Motor Company. "In China, the emerging luxury buyers are younger and fast-changing, and they have a strong desire to understand and appreciate the heritage of a brand -- the origins of its real values such as timeless elegance, sophistication and craftsmanship in Lincoln."
According to Farley, the efforts also will seek to leverage the longstanding design history of the division that was established in 1922 specifically to cater to the tastes of upscale car buyers. "Research shows that for luxury consumers in China, international credentials are not enough; heritage and excellence are also expected."