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Showrooms in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou mark the first of 60 dealerships planned by Lincoln to capitalize on the burgeoning appetite for luxury cars in China. Starting with the MKZ midsize sedan and MKC midsize crossover SUV, Ford’s upscale brand hopes to attract young, affluent Chinese customers with The Lincoln Way, a buying experience that emphasizes individualization in outfitting a new vehicle.
Poised to capitalize on a rapidly growing economy, Lincoln announced over the summer that the automaker opened the first three stores in China. Lincoln has entered the bustling Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou markets by officially introducing to Chinese consumers the concept of The Lincoln Way. Lincoln opens first stores in China to promote the unique luxury automobile ownership experience that Chinese consumers have never enjoyed. The American car manufacturer plans to feature the Lincoln MKZ midsize premium sedan and Lincoln MKC small premium utility vehicle
Lincoln opens first stores in China is only the start of what Lincoln expects to be an enduring relationship with Chinese consumers. The automaker expects to open five more stores by the end of 2014, with 60 stores in 50 cities planned for openings slated by the end of 2016. Lincoln’s aggressive expansion goal coincides with the company’s introduction of The Lincoln Way in each of the 50 cities.
What is The Lincoln Way?
According to Kumar Galhotra, President of Lincoln, The Lincoln Way attracts younger Chinese consumers who want luxury features that promote individuality. The Lincoln Way fosters a more engaging buying and ownership experience by placing most of the model decisions in the hands of consumers. “The Lincoln Way demonstrates how a storied brand with a nearly 100-year history is innovating for our Chinese customers while staying true to our roots of personal service. Our Lincoln customers will not only get the very best when it comes to product, but also when it comes to the entire ownership experience,” Galhotra said during the store openings announcement.
Why China is Right for Lincoln
The Lincoln management and engineering team spent three exhaustive years developing a rich understanding of the rising luxury car market in China. Data demonstrated to the Lincoln team that the average Chinese consumer income climbed steadily during the first decade of the new millennium, as China’s economy boomed due to a dramatic expansion of the country’s manufacturing base. Lincoln devised behavioral and expectation models premised on the Chinese economy eventually transitioning to more of an information technology based economy. The transformation should quickly expand the Chinese luxury car market.
In addition to quantitative research, the Lincoln team also conducted qualitative assessment of Chinese consumers. The results matched the primary message of The Lincoln Way. Chinese luxury consumers want more than just a luxury car that presents a statement of their net worth. They also want a luxury car that allows them to express their unique personalities. Based on the research results, Lincoln built a dealership prototype near Shanghai to test and enhance every facet of the Lincoln buying process. The intensive research refined rough edges of The Lincoln Way to transform the car-buying theme into a highly practical method for attracting Chinese customers to the company’s line of luxury vehicles.