Lincoln Motor Company, the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, is bringing its products and the Lincoln customer experience to Chinese luxury customers. Lincoln is one of the latest automotive brands to enter China. Lincoln vehicles will be sold through an independent network of 60 dealers in 50 cities across China by 2016. The first eight dealers will open in seven cities this autumn.
Designed specifically for China customers, the brand has created The Lincoln Way – an innovative new model that shifts luxury automotive ownership from a sales-and-service transaction model to a relationship-based experience model.
“Our extensive study of the new luxury customer in China revealed that they are underserved in the luxury auto market,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president, 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.”
The research showed that today’s Chinese luxury customers are quickly evolving. They are no longer satisfied with luxury as an overt statement of their personal net worth.
Instead, they are increasingly seeking luxury as a way to express their individuality. They want luxury brands that can meet their personal needs and reflect who they are as an individual. As a result, they also want to build a personal relationship with brands whose culture and values they can identify with.
“Success in China is key to our efforts to build Lincoln into a global luxury automotive brand,” Farley said. “The needs of today’s luxury auto customer in China have been fundamental to Lincoln’s brand rejuvenation globally.”
The Lincoln team even took the unprecedented step of building a fully functioning prototype dealer facility in Shanghai to research, test and refine every aspect of the Lincoln customer journey throughout the purchase and ownership process.
The result of this extensive work is The Lincoln Way – an innovative new model for luxury automotive ownership designed to create lasting relationships through personally crafted experiences that make a connection with customers. Key elements of The Lincoln Way include a distinct, welcoming home-like environment featuring a relaxing tea room; intuitive personalized technology, with an exclusive Personalization Studio; and complete sales and service transparency.
At the core of The Lincoln Way is The Lincoln Team, led by the Host, the Master and the Craftsman, team members specially chosen and rigorously trained by The Lincoln Institute. Together they help deliver a unique Lincoln experience tailored to each customer’s individual needs throughout the automotive ownership experience.
The Host tailors the customer’s experience and maintains the customer relationship throughout the ownership process. If more detailed information is desired, the Host introduces the customer to the Master.
The Master serves as the customer’s trusted resource throughout the sales process, providing information, advice and recommendations based on the customer’s needs. The sequence of information and level of detail is tailored to the guest’s needs and interests.
The Master further aids the customer’s vehicle selection process through the Personalization Studio, which uses an electronic touch-screen table, similar to a tablet but much larger, to build, price and configure the vehicle. The selections are projected at life size so the customer can better understand his or her choice. As selections are made, the guest can see the configuration, options and features in real-time. Private test drives and choice of routes can be arranged as well.
The Master tunes the car to customer preference and guides the customer through vehicle handover.
Lincoln will start in China with a new breed of vehicles developed with today’s Chinese luxury auto customers in mind. By 2016, Lincoln will bring five new vehicles to China. The brand will launch this autumn in the largest and fastest-growing segments with Lincoln MKZ, a midsize luxury sedan, and Lincoln MKC, a small luxury utility vehicle. Lincoln MKZ and MKC represent the brand’s new direction on both style and substance to appeal to today’s young and progressive Chinese luxury auto customers.
The two vehicles will be followed by a midsize luxury SUV, an all-new full-size luxury sedan and a large luxury SUV – Lincoln Navigator. Together, these products will cover more than 80 percent of the luxury auto segment in China. All Lincoln vehicles sold in China will be imported from North America, announced the company.