The company aims to transform the luxury purchasing experience, presenting the brand in a “relationship-based experience” model — taking inspiration from ultra-luxury brands — rather than the traditional sales-and-service approach that would be familiar to Lincoln buyers in the US and other markets.
Showrooms will be designed as inviting spaces that attempt to evoke the feeling of a living room or luxury hotel lobby. Several seating zones and pavilions will provide space for customers to relax with family.
Ford already has a strong presence in China, with Focus sales surpassing 400,000 units to take the title of top-selling nameplate in the country. Despite the achievement, the company lacks the segment diversity of General Motors in the market.
To the surprise of buyers in the US, GM’s Buick badge has consistently proven wildly popular with Chinese customers — easily surpassing Chevrolet shipments. The company sold four Buicks in the Chinese market for every one that left a US showroom in 2013.
Lincoln will begin its foray with five new vehicles by 2016, starting off with the MKZ sedan and MKC compact SUV. An unnamed midsize SUV, all-new full-size sedan and the Navigator full-size SUV will follow.
“Our extensive study of the new luxury customer in China revealed that they are underserved in the luxury auto market,” said Ford global marketing head Jim Farley. “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 luxury offerings will be sold through an independent network of 60 dealers in 50 cities by 2016, including seven primary cities this fall.