Chinese approach to luxury shapes Ford Lincoln overhaul
China's demand for luxury cars is expected to exceed that of the US auto market by 2020. There are many parallels in the tastes of both markets, but consumers in China favor wider headlights, more symmetrical design and a larger backseat.
"The 'face' is very important to the vehicle to the Chinese," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's former head of Asian and African operations, said on Monday. "It's very important that the face not have negativity, not have a scowl or a frown."
The design changes for China illustrates Ford's changing approach to a region that represents Lincoln's best chance to reinvent itself. It also shows how much China and its growing number of luxury buyers are shaping the brand's overhaul.
On Monday, Ford showed a concept version of its Lincoln MKC crossover during a media preview of the Detroit auto show. The MKC will compete in one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. and Chinese auto markets.
Ford is betting that a strong showing in the burgeoning crossover segment may stem Lincoln's two-decade sales decline. The MKC is the second of four core models that Lincoln will pitch to a growing group of buyers who appreciate warmth and "discreet luxury" and avoid overt symbols of wealth.
Ford declined to
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