Lincoln Launches in China; Unique Offering for Today’s Chinese Luxury Auto Customers

  Lincoln Launches in China; Unique Offering for Today’s Chinese Luxury Auto
  Customers

Business Wire

BEIJING -- April 17, 2014

The Lincoln Motor Company:

Lincoln officially introduces its brand to China today, offering an innovative
ownership experience ...

Lincoln officially introduces its brand to China today, offering an innovative
ownership experience unlike any other to meet the evolving needs of today's
Chinese luxury auto customer. Making the announcement are (left to right) Alan
Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company; Jim Farley, executive vice
president, Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln; and Robert
Parker, president, Lincoln China. (Photo: Business Wire)

>Lincoln officially introduces its brand to China today, offering an
innovative ownership experience unlike any other to meet the evolving needs of
today’s Chinese luxury auto customer

>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

>Lincoln will bring to China a new breed of global vehicles developed with
today’s Chinese luxury auto customer in mind. By 2016, Lincoln will bring five
new vehicles to China, starting this autumn with Lincoln MKZ, a midsize luxury
sedan, and Lincoln MKC, a small luxury utility vehicle. 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

>To demonstrate its unique offering to media and customers, the brand has
taken up residence at The Lincoln Space in Beijing, a bespoke environment
designed to bring to life the personally crafted dealership experiences
Chinese luxury customers can expect from Lincoln

>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

Lincoln, an iconic luxury automotive brand for discerning individuals with a
heritage linked to presidents, royalty and movie stars, begins a new chapter
in its nearly 100-year history today by bringing a completely new approach to
luxury automotive ownership in China.

Marking its official launch in China, Lincoln is showcasing to media and the
public the transformational products and innovative hospitality approach to
ownership it will provide to luxury car buyers there when its first
dealerships open this autumn.

“Throughout its history, the Lincoln brand has stood for meticulous
craftsmanship, fantastic breakthrough designs and a warm, welcoming personal
touch,” said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “We are
excited to bring Lincoln products and the Lincoln customer experience to
Chinese luxury customers. It is an important part of our One Ford plan and
demonstrates our commitment to China and to the success of Lincoln globally.”

Connecting with the new luxury customer in China

The Lincoln team spent the last three years gaining a deep understanding of
the new luxury automotive customer in China. This included extensive
quantitative and qualitative deep-dives into luxury customer segmentations, as
well as behavior models and expectations. The team used a variety of tools,
including customer focus groups, mystery shopping studies, data mining and
benchmarking of luxury goods and services in auto and non-auto industries.

“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.

“Bringing Lincoln to China allows us to innovate, to do something never done
before in the automotive ownership experience,” Farley said. “Our Lincoln
customers in China will not only get the very best when it comes to product,
but also when it comes to the experience they get from their dealer.”

The Lincoln Way – a dealership experience unlike any other

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.

“The Lincoln Way captures how Lincoln sells and services its vehicles and how
Lincoln customers experience the brand,” Farley said. “It completely shifts
luxury automotive ownership from a sales and service transaction model to an
experience model. It was designed in China based on the unmet expectations of
luxury customers here, and it will launch here first.”

“The Lincoln Way is rooted in Lincoln’s heritage of personal service,” said
Robert Parker, president, 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.

“The Lincoln Way is our vision to treat every customer with the same level of
care and attention that Lincoln brings to the design of its vehicles.”

The shift from transaction focus to relationship focus has a profound impact
on how a dealership facility is designed and how the customer experience is
defined.

Compared with other dealership facilities that are built around the products
and are often cold, impersonal and cavernous, a Lincoln dealership is built
around the customer, using clean, elegant designs, harmonious colors and
quality materials.

The overall effect is a warm, inviting environment that customers associate
with the living room of a home or a five-star hotel lobby. Different zones and
pavilions feature seating clusters where customers can relax with their family
and friends.

In line with this customer-centric dealership environment is a sales and
service experience that aims to surprise and delight. Different from a
traditional transaction-model dealership that is all about making the sale,
the purchase experience at the Lincoln dealership is designed around building
a relationship with the customer and understanding his or her needs. Attentive
and intuitive staff gauge when to allow for self-exploration and when to
provide assistance.

The key difference is Lincoln’s commitment to a “one size fits one” experience
versus the “one size fits all” approach of other brands. In many dealerships
today, a sales consultant helps a customer through the sales process, after
which the customer is turned over to the service department with no one
specifically dedicated to meet his or her needs.

At Lincoln dealerships, each customer has a dedicated team to ensure
personalized service tailored to the person’s individual needs and
consistently delivered throughout the ownership of the vehicle.

The personalized experience begins at arrival. Every Lincoln dealership will
feature license plate recognition technology that allows the Lincoln Team to
instantly recognize the Lincoln owner who has arrived.

An important part of The Lincoln Way is the Personalization Studio. In
traditional dealerships, customers are shown what is in stock, or they sift
through brochures before moving on to negotiations. In every Lincoln
dealership throughout China, the Personalization Studio will allow customers
to visually explore the entire array of models, colors and features, configure
their desired vehicle, and view a life-size image of the vehicle both inside
and out with family and friends before making a selection.

When it comes to the vehicle maintenance process, The Lincoln Way subverts the
traditional model, which customers in China mistrust. Feedback from luxury
auto buyers raised concerns about being charged for unnecessary repairs, the
amount of time required to complete maintenance and repair work, as well as
the care given to the vehicles throughout the process.

Lincoln customers will have complete transparency throughout the process,
including write-up, diagnosis and parts change. Customers can watch their
vehicles serviced real-time, from the comfort of the Lincoln dealership Star
Lounge, through cameras positioned in the service bays. In addition, every
dealership in China will offer extended service hours and provide Lincoln
loaner vehicles for repairs taking more than two hours.

In many luxury automotive dealerships today, test drives of a specific desired
model are often not available. Lincoln guests will be able to make test drive
appointments of a specific model and available powertrain online or at any
Lincoln dealership. Test drive routes also will be tailored to each guest’s
personal needs.

Lincoln will deliver The Lincoln Way through an independent network of 60
dealers in 50 cities across China by 2016, starting this autumn with eight
dedicated dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an, Guangzhou,
Hangzhou and Chengdu. Per feedback from luxury automotive buyers, the
dealerships will be located in areas with excellent access and visibility, as
well as alongside other luxury auto brands to allow for convenient comparison
shopping.

Dealers have been selected based on a combination of criteria, including
proven track record of excellence in customer service, business capabilities,
and employee retention and development, as well as their motivation to partner
with Lincoln to deliver a completely new customer experience.

“We are ahead of our schedule for dealer recruitment, with three more dealers
opening this autumn than originally planned,” said Parker. “We have a terrific
dealer network plan for Lincoln China, timed with our product introduction
cadence. However, our No. 1 priority in the next few years is to deliver on
our promise of providing personally crafted experiences in every single
Lincoln dealership and to firmly establish The Lincoln Way.”

Financing also will be an important part of the Lincoln difference. Lincoln
Automotive Financial Services, a financing organization dedicated to serving
Lincoln customers and dealers in China, will be launched this autumn.

The Lincoln Team

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.

Working with the Host and Master, the Craftsman serves as the customer’s
personal contact for service and maintenance. The Craftsman maintains a full
record of the vehicle and thoroughly explains any maintenance process. If
requested, used parts are returned, packaged in a Lincoln box and tagged with
a label, extraction date and the name of a service technician.

“From our first interaction, we will make it a point to know and understand
our guests and their needs,” Parker said. “Throughout the ownership journey,
as our knowledge of a guest grows, we will continuously anticipate and better
serve his or her needs.”

Five all-new Lincoln products for China

Lincoln will start in China with a new breed of vehicles developed with
today’s Chinese luxury auto customers in mind. This family of global vehicles
has been researched extensively in China to ensure consumers’ needs have been
prioritized in the vehicle development process.

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.

In addition, Lincoln’s full vehicle lineup in China will be equipped with
award-winning, fuel-efficient EcoBoost^® engines, offering customers the
impressive performance expected in a luxury automobile while at the same time
offering improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Lincoln products will feature the brand’s world-class technologies. For
example, the MKZ and MKC use continuously controlled damping. Drivers can
select from sport, comfort and normal drive modes to cater to their driving
mood. Continuously controlled damping constantly monitors the road; the
suspension reacts on average within 20 milliseconds, providing a smooth ride
with enhanced handling.

Lincoln also will offer the Lincoln Presidential Series – the highest
expression of the brand, epitomizing Lincoln pillars of quality, design and
personal service. The hallmarks of the Lincoln Presidential Series will be
exclusive design themes, ultra-premium materials, meticulous craftsmanship and
an unmatched level of personalized service.

The Lincoln Space

The brand is celebrating its launch in China at The Lincoln Space. This
bespoke environment was specially created for the occasion at The Place, in
Beijing’s thriving Central Business District.

As Lincoln’s brand launch platform, The Lincoln Space provides a taste of the
personalized luxury vehicle ownership experience Lincoln will bring to Chinese
luxury customers in its dealerships to open this autumn.

The Lincoln Space will be available for the public to experience in Beijing,
April 19-26, before it embarks on a tour to Shanghai, Nanjing, Xi’an,
Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

About The Lincoln Motor Company

The Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor
Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional
ownership experience to match. The Lincoln Motor Company is in the process of
introducing four all-new vehicles through 2016. For more information about The
Lincoln Motor Company, please visit media.lincoln.com or www.lincoln.com.
Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/lincoln.

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Contact:

The Lincoln Motor Company
Stéphane Cesareo, 313.323.8917
scesareo@lincoln.com
or
Debbie Chennells, 313.323.9708
dchennel@lincoln.com
 
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