NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ford (F) - Get Report is driving its Lincoln luxury brand into China because the market there is "just on fire," Matt VanDyke, director of global Lincoln marketing, told TheStreet TV.
Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show, VanDyke told TheStreet's Ruben Ramirez that just this month the automaker opened dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. So far, the operation is "going great," he said.
Ford isn't the first automaker into the Chinese market, following the road driven by BMW, Volkswagen (VLKAY) and General Motors (GM) - Get Report , among others. So VanDyke says Lincoln has to "be different" to compete.
Consumers have been receptive to the new MKC crossover/SUV vehicle and the MKZ. Lincoln is making "big bets" on a luxury experience for the Chinese customer, he said.
As for the U.S. customer, VanDyke said new products should continue to boost sales. This year, the company introduced the MKC, which is a smaller SUV to the larger MKX. Lincoln also introduced the refreshed Navigator, the automaker's large SUV, he said. In 2015, Lincoln will introduce a refreshed MKX.
But will actor Matthew McConaughey show up in Lincoln's advertisements in China, too? VanDyke was mum on whether the automaker was currently working with McConaughey but acknowledged that "expanding that partnership, we think, could be a good idea."
-- Written by Bret Kenwell