Ford Motor Co. announced today it will begin selling its Lincoln brand in China later this year, bringing five new vehicles to the country by 2016.
The brand will kick off its entry this fall with the MKZ, a midsize luxury sedan, and MKC, a small luxury utility vehicle. The China lineup — which will eventually include a midsize luxury SUV, a full-size luxury sedan, and a large luxury SUV — will cover more than 80 percent of the luxury auto segment in China.
“Our extensive study of the new luxury customer in China revealed that they are underserved in the luxury auto market,” says Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service, and Lincoln. “As a new brand entering the market in China, Lincoln has the perfect opportunity to differentiate itself by creating a new way of purchasing and owning a luxury vehicle that meets the personal needs of today’s new luxury customer.”
Farley says the new business model, called The Lincoln Way, “completely shifts luxury automotive ownership from a sales and service transaction model to an experience model.” It will be available through an independent network of 60 dealers in 50 cities across China by 2016, starting this fall with eight dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu.
Dealerships will aim to provide a personalized experience for each customer, officials say. Facility interiors will offer a warm environment, likened to a family living room or a five-star hotel lobby. Likewise, every Lincoln dealership will feature license plate recognition technology, which will allow staff members to recognize the Lincoln owner who has arrived. Customers can design their desired vehicle in the dealership’s personalization studio, where they can view a life-size image of the vehicle both inside and out before making their decision.
“The Lincoln Way is rooted in Lincoln’s heritage of personal service,” says Robert Parker, president of Lincoln China. “It is based on our understanding of today’s evolving Chinese luxury customer and our recognition that every man or woman who walks through our doors is a unique individual, with his or her own deeply personal definition of luxury.”
All Lincoln vehicles sold in China will be imported from North America.