Ford's Mulally Out to Make Lincoln World Class Brand

When Ford CEO Alan Mulally joined me on "Squawk Box" Friday for an extended conversation about where the Blue Oval is today and where it's headed, he didn't shy away from proclaiming the Lincoln brand must provide a true world class experience for buyers.

Mulally's said this before and he'll say again. But it was clear from talking with him that he not only knows just what Lincoln has to do but the reason why thinks it will eventually get there.

First, Mulally is aware Lincoln is trailing its competition. It's the #7 luxury brand in terms of sales this year.

When I told him that I've talked many in the industry who scoff at the idea of Lincoln becoming every bit as competitive as Lexus and BMW, Mulally gave me his trademark smile that masks what he's truly thinking: Just you wait and see what we're going to build with Lincoln. Using technology and continued refinement in styling and interiors, Mulally expects Lincoln to continue improving.

Ford's Road Ahead
Ford's Road Ahead   

Mulally told me, "Lincoln has a great brand. It has never been damaged to a place where it cant come back. So again, one more time, when you start seeing these Lincolns come out we absolutely can make them a premium brand."

Just as important, Mulally knows Lincoln has to provide a world class ownership experience. That means Lincoln dealerships that are as refined and that pampers customers as much as Lexus or Cadillac dealerships.

In others words, they need to get with the times. There are many Lincoln dealers who have top notch dealerships. There are also many other that need to pick it up. In short, if Lincoln is gonna win over luxury buyers it will have to do more. A lot more.

Mulally says, ""we absolutely are going to provide a premium experience"

With the job Mulally has done turning around Ford and and the job global product chief Derek Kuzak has done breathing life into Lincoln, they've earned the right for us to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Lincoln can become a hit in the luxury market.

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