LOS ANGELES - Ford Motor Co. has refined the missions for each of its Premier Automotive Group luxury brands.
Some ambitious ideas - such as a Jaguar sport-utility or Volvo performance car - have been deleted from future product plans, said Vic Doolan, executive director for North American marketing and distribution strategy for Premier.
'Jaguar can be the quintessential epitome of art and performance, which doesn't need sport-utilities and estate wagons. That's Volvo's job. We are going to clearly demarcate who does what. Duplication and substitution will be eliminated,' Doolan said.
Speaking last week in Los Angeles, Doolan said executives led by Premier boss Wolfgang Reitzle are looking closely at how vehicles fit the brand promise. They are also examining whether the vehicles fit every regional market.
However, that doesn't mean that sharing of platforms and component sets between the different marques is out of the question. And that means future Volvos might ride on Ford Motor platforms. Ford also will share component sets that the customer should not notice, such as wiring harnesses.
'Platform sharing allows us to have a Jaguar two-seat open car, a Volvo four-seat open car, and a Lincoln large open car like the '63 Continental. We can cover the whole market without diluting the brands,' Doolan said. 'But the styling, chassis and powertrains should be unique.'
In trying to fill the customer's garage with every type of luxury vehicle, Mercedes-Benz is stretching its engineering talent too thin, he said.
Volkswagen has shared too many platforms and components with too many brands, and as a result has 'blurred the brands,' Doolan said.
While not saying outright that Lincoln will expand outside North America, Doolan said the brand has the potential for such expansion. Ford has been indecisive as to whether Lincoln will become a global brand. But Doolan's comments would indicate that Lincoln is looking to move to Europe soon, branding itself as 'American luxury.'