Business Case Studies, Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study, Ford, Re-branding Strategies

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Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study

Case Title:

Ford's Lincoln: The Re-branding Strategies

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Kalyani, Nusrath Jahan Maldar

Industry: Automobiles


Case Code: BBP0034

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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At the time when Peter Drucker termed the automobile industry as the 'Industry of Industries', it was dominated by three big automobile manufacturers from the US; General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Known as the 'Big Three', they controlled more than 85% of the US' automobile market at one point of time. Their supremacy started declining in the 1970s when foreign carmakers, especially Japanese, offered better models at lesser price to the US consumers. As the industry witnessed a transition from mass production to mass customization, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler increasingly lost market share to their foreign counterparts who better understood the pulse of the US consumers. Ford was the worst hit amongst the Big Three. It faced falling sales and profit due to a bloated product line, which was out of sync with the market. As part of its plan to regain its former eminence, Ford initiated the re-branding of its Lincoln luxury-car brand. Lincoln, once the most popular luxury car in the US, had since fallen into decline. The re-branding primarily centred around the re-naming of the Lincoln cars with alphanumeric names.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the reasons underlying the competitive advantage enjoyed by the Japanese automobile manufacturers over their American counterparts in the US market
  • To discuss why the Big Three failed to win customers in the era of mass customisation
  • To discuss whether Ford's product profile is out of sync with the market
  • To discuss the concepts of brand, brand image and brand loyalty in the context of Ford
  • To highlight the re-branding of the Lincoln brand and to discuss the reasons for its likely success or failure.

Keywords : US automobile industry, Detroit's Big Three, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Industry lifecycle, Brands & Branding Case Study, Lincoln, Mass production, Mass customisation, Alphanumeric naming, Re-branding strategies, Market segmentation targeting positioning (STP), Customer loyalty, Competitive advantage


  • The US Automobile Industry: The Competition
  • Ford's Product Profile: Out of Sync with Market?
  • Ford Brands
  • Ford's Growing Family
  • Birth of Lincoln and the Re-branding Strategies
  • Awards and Honors of Lincoln Town Car

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