Give luxury role models a reason to choose Lincoln
The day of October 23rd, 2014 should be remembered by Lincoln. On this day, Lincoln will launch brand new models – MKC, a mid-size luxury SUV, and MKZ, a mid-size luxury sedan in Shanghai. From this moment, Lincoln will fully start their new chapter in China.
Although Lincoln has just taken its first step in the Chinese market, and was a truly “successor” in the luxury car market, the shining “Lincoln Star” is no stranger to Chinese customers.
“We have done some research on the Chinese luxury marketplace and found out that many Chinese customers have deep impression of Lincoln,” said Robert Parker, president of Lincoln China, ”for example, people know about it is for presidents and were the first choice of many celebrities and nobilities in history. This character is in the DNA of Lincoln cars.”
In Parker’s eyes, this is not only a recognition of Lincoln’s quality, excellent production technology and design, but also set a very high standard for its competitors.
It is no doubt an “endorsement” for Lincoln to have served American Presidents in history. On the other hand, can the glory help promote its sales in private car marketplace?
“Serving president is in our history. On the basis of this good gene, we should introduce car models that are more fashionable, popular and customer-friendly, thus creating a fashion-oriented brand image. ” Parker has a sobering recognition instead of being lost in the past glory. “Considering profits, feasibility and other aspects, we will enter the more popular market, and choose the hottest and fastest-growing niche market.”
He further explained that Lincoln’s survey showed that middle and high-end sedan market and mid-size SUV market are very hot. With this in mind, Lincoln chose to enter the Chinese market with its brand new MKC- a mid-sized luxury SUV, and MKZ – a mid-size luxury sedan to play roles as pioneers at this very moment.
In addition, the arrangement has close relation with how Lincoln positions its target customers. “We targeted ‘luxury role models’ as our customer groups.” These people who value personal consuming experiences prefer car models such as MKZ and MKC.?[detail]
Grégoire OLIVIER
Robert Parker: President, Lincoln China. Prior to being named to this position in March, 2014, Parker was general manager, southeast market area Ford Motor Company, where he oversaw the sales and marketing teams in selling and servicing both Ford and Lincoln brands in the Southeast Market Area.
  Parker started his career with Ford in 1989 and held a variety of positions in the Ford Customer Service Division before joining the product marketing group in Germany as Mondeo Product Marketing Manager in 1998. In 2006 Parker assumed the role of car marketing manager responsible for launching and marketing cars and crossovers in North America. In 2008 Parker was named director of product communications where he was responsible for launching new products and technology for the Ford and Lincoln brands to the media. In 2010 he became group marketing manager of Ford.
Give luxury role models a reason to choose Lincoln


Riding is a healthy way to travel which enables people to enjoy the journey. Abicycle with a set of cycling equipment is enough for people to go. Riders can meet challenges in continuous difficulties, enjoy sceneriesin remote areas, and feel fulfilled at the terminal.
A newcomer not afraid of challenges
Brand legacy from history, precise positioning of the target consumers and niche market strategy can provide opportunities for Lincoln to succeed in China. It is also true that, as a “successor”, Lincoln will face many challenges in China.
In the Chinese market, high profit and huge demand for upgrading cars provide room for luxury car. It cannot be denied that the Chinese market has lost its advantage and the growth in sales of luxury cars is also shrinking. In this context, ABB (Audi, BMW and Benz), as first tier luxury brands, have irreplaceable roles in China’s luxury marketplace. In recent years, marketplace for second-tier brands has become a battlefield. How to earn itself a place in China is an urgent problem to be solved by Lincoln.
Parker, who has taken the position of president for half a year told the reporter that both the personal experience and the result of survey showed that compared to the United States, China has larger cities and more sever traffic congestions. As a result, Chinese customers have greater demand on comfort and fuel efficiency.
For this purpose, Lincoln MKC, different with former models with larger displacements, carried a 2L Ecoboost 4-cylindar turbo supercharged in-line engine in order to strike the right balance between horsepower and fuel consumption, which is to save fuel as much as possible while providing strong horsepower. Additionally, Lincoln has also adjusted its interior decoration, seating comfort, and scent inside cars to be more China-oriented.
Apart from these adjustments of products, Lincoln has also changed its marketing strategy. Parker said that he was not “quite satisfied” with the marketing strategy in China. In his eyes, although China is a developing country, it’s like a big factory market due to huge demand in purchasing cars. “Customers are pushed into factories with fast yet terrible services. This may be borrowed from the mature market. I think customers deserve to be well-treated.”
In terms of service experiences, Parker said that Lincoln would provide Chinese customers with “revolutionary and completely unique” service experiences, which are different from the traditional ones in the current market. To this end, Lincoln will introduce to China the “Lincoln Way” that has been applied in the U.S. for many years. This means customers will have a brand new special experience with Lincoln through the whole process - first encounter with a Lincoln, buying a Lincoln and after buying a Lincoln.
Parker emphasized repeatedly that Lincoln would not boost sales by increasing the number of dealers, which was different with its competitors. “We like to see an increase of sales due to promotion of the whole brand image by carrying out excellent Lincoln customer experiences to protect our dealers and customers rather than building more dealerships.”
As for the layout of dealers’ net, Parker introduced to Tencent Auto their latest scheme. According to him, by the end of 2016, Lincoln is expected to build 60 dealerships in 50 cities. By the end of this year, Lincoln will complete 8 dealerships in 6 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Qingdao, among which Shanghai and Beijing has two respectively.
Parker has never worked in China before, so he is still not very familiar with the Chinese market. However, as a “veteran” with 25 years’ experience, he is an expert in automobile industry and has his own perception about luxury car market. He pointed out that compared to the United States and Europe, Chinese luxury market was very different. In the U.S. and Europe, a family’s loyalty to a car brand or a car model will be extended to the next generation.
Parker told the reporter a personal story. He was born in a family that was in deep love with Ford – all his family members drove Ford cars. He could not imagine replacing it with another brand. However, the customers in China are relatively young with their own preferences. How to build a group of loyal fans of Lincoln in China? How to avoid being impacted by the ups and downs in the market and the industry to launch Lincoln in China perfectly with his own team? These are the challenges a decision maker for Lincoln has to meet in China.
The burden for Parker is heavy and the challenges are difficult. While talking about these problems, Parker showed no sense of fear. “This is a new marketplace for me. I will observe the market closely and not be intimidated by any challenges,” he said. [detail]
Robert Parker Robert Parker Robert Parker Robert Parker


In Parker’s life, he has had a great passion for cars since he was born. As a car enthusiast, Parker is fond of repairing vintage cars that was made from 1960s to 1970s. In his eyes, being a fan can help a people to understand a brand, such as its history and its future development.
  • 1

    Tencent Auto: How do you define the brand image of Lincoln? Whatkind of brand image is Lincoln trying to build in China?

    Robert Parker: Many Chinese customers have deep impressions of Lincoln before Lincoln entered the Chinese market, for example, people know it has served presidents and were the first choice of many celebrities and nobilities in history. This character is in the DNA of Lincoln cars. On the basis of this good gene, we should introduce car models that are more fashionable, popular and customer-friendly, thus creating a fashion-oriented brand image. ”
  • 2

    Tencent Auto: How do you position the Chinese market in Lincoln’s global brand strategy?How does Lincoln see the Chinese market?

    Robert Parker: We believe China is the largest market for luxury cars for the moment and it will grow faster in the future in a speed beyond our imagination. In order to become an “international competitor in luxury brands”, Lincoln has to become stronger in China. For this purpose, we will reintroduce Lincoln in China. I believe we will take steady steps forward after our China Launch, which will also be a great opportunity for us to expand our market internationally.
  • 3

    Tencent Auto: What is your focus in the Chinese market in the future? What is the priority?

    Robert Parker: The priority in the short term is to launch Lincoln in China perfectly. I myself is a perfectionist, so I want to make sure every detail is as perfect as possible. I believe through the efforts of whole Lincoln team in China, Lincoln will land in China in a perfect way.
  • 4

    Tencent Auto: What makes you serve a company for 25 years? Do you have any impressive stories that you can share with us?

    Robert Parker: The reason for my loyalty is my deep and close feelings towards a brand. I grew up in a family that was in love with Ford – all my family members drove Ford cars. My affection toward Ford has made me a representative of this brand, and I cannot imagine replacing it with a different one.”


Car Enthusiast



Brand loyalty

Sports lover



  • Robert Parker
  • Robert Parker
  • Robert Parker
  • Robert Parker
Frankly speaking, before the interview, I was a little bit worried and didn’t know whether Mr. Parker would act like a big boss. However, this feeling did not last long. The time I walked into his office, it disappeared completely. His office looked very casual and sweet, which made me feel like I’m talking with a friend at my own home.
  The topics of the interview were also very easy and casual – his career was the first one of them. He told me he was destined to be tied with cars and the Ford family. Since he was born, he has been a huge car enthusiast – from toy cars in his childhood, through the car he drove in his teens to vintage cars he loves to repair – and cars seems to be his fate. He hopes to put his passion for cars into his work. In fact, he is doing such. He has devoted almost his whole career to cars, to be more specific, to the Ford family. He has never left since he joined this company in 1989, which is 25 years ago. What will be a person like who can serve a company for as long as 25 years? In his own words, he grew up in a family that was in love with Ford – all his family members drove Ford cars, “my affection towards Ford made me a representative of this brand, and I cannot imagine replacing it with a different one.”
  As the president of Lincoln, China, Parker’s short term goal is to ensure the prefect landing and launch of Lincoln in China. By coincidence, Lincoln MKC and MKZ were launched in Shanghai the day before this article is published. The double launch of two car models help Lincoln take a steady step in China. What will be Parker and Lincoln’s next move in China? Let us wait and see.
Translator:Liz (LiXu)
Webpage maker:jichaojiang
Any questions or suggestions, please call or send an e-mail to us.
Mail:beckyliu#tencent.com(replace # with @)