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Ford CEO: Luxury Market Has Room For Lincoln

Mulally: We're not in a hurry. The dealers are in place. We make a reasonable return on the Lincoln vehicles. It's not like anybody's panicking.

AP: Ford recalled the Escape four times after it went on sale for various safety issues. The Lincoln launches will have to be flawless. How do you ensure that?

Mulally: I would say that your comment is absolutely right. It has to be, across Ford and Lincoln. Ford is so excited on one hand. You know how many years these companies have been declining. We've turned that corner. We were the first ones to turn it. We're growing now. The growth is spectacular, here and around the world. So now we're turning the corner, adding production, adding third shifts, second shifts, and last June we weren't able to keep up with the demand. And then we have all these launches, because we made a commitment that we are going to have the best-in-class quality, fuel efficiency and safety. So every time we don't, then we're going to stop just like we did. We'll come pick them up, we'll do whatever it takes. We'll get it right for you right away. I think the most important thing is our commitment to quality. But it's an exhilarating time.

AP: You just changed Lincoln's name to the Lincoln Motor Co. and began a new ad campaign. What impact are you seeing?

Farley: More important to me than how is it affecting demand for Lincoln vehicles is that more and more people are talking about Lincoln. We're getting more online discussion. A lot more people are saying, "Lincoln. What is that? Who are they? What are they doing?" That is good. That was very much part of the initiative of the Lincoln Motor Co. When I talk to Gucci and Burberry, brands that were very big in the '70s and then recommitted themselves, they all said the same thing to me: "Jim, make sure that you start a conversation around Lincoln." And that's part of our expectation for the Super Bowl.

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