到底需要花上多长时间和金钱，才能将林肯（Lincoln）重新塑造成为一个具有竞争力的奢侈品牌？福特汽车公司（Ford Motor Company）的高管们心里清楚得很。
但是福特也期望，直到自己准备好用全新车型来一次彻底的品牌重建之前，黑标能为福特赢得一些时间，同时增加经销商的利润。他们最近在加利福尼亚的圆石滩汽车巡展（Concourse d'Elegance in Pebble Beach）上发布了这款概念车型。
福特表示，黑标的顾客在购买林肯汽车和安排日程时还享有专门的定制服务，但它价格目前尚未公布。拉夫•劳伦（Ralph Lauren）和美国运通（American Express）等美国公司也已经使用“黑标”主题来建立自身品牌内部的高端品牌。
Ford Motor Company executives know how long it will take -- and the billions it will cost -- to turn Lincoln into a competitive luxury brand.
And they know that offering three "Black Label" ultra-luxury versions of today's Lincoln models with premium materials is a Band-Aid, a first small step on a very long road.
But Ford (F) is counting on Black Label to buy it some time and to improve dealer profits until the automaker is prepared to commit to a thorough revamping with new models and brand building. The initiative was announced last week at the Concourse d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.
The only Detroit automaker that escaped the last recession without declaring bankruptcy, Ford said it intends to increase its capital spending through mid-decade -- which could mean an accelerated makeover for Lincoln, including new models and expansion into overseas markets.
"Ford is way behind its competition in transforming Lincoln, so it is trying to do what it can to enhance profits and boost sales as it revamps the entire line, which is going to take several years," said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for Edmunds.com in an email. "The jury is very much out on whether Ford will be successful at this Lincoln transformation."
General Motors' (GM) Cadillac luxury division, which was surpassed by Lexus (TM) and German automakers Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, began a decade ago to offer new models like the CTS. Cadillac, with several new models since, is on the upswing, its sales this year reaching nearly 70,000, up 39% from the previous year.
Lincoln's revitalization is in its infancy, and it has so far sold only 30,819 vehicles in 2013, down more than 10% from the same period last year. For now, Black Label denotes three fancier design themes for the vehicle's interior: Modern Heritage, Indulgence, and Center Stage, featuring special colors and materials.
Ford said Black Label customers will also receive dedicated, personalized service when shopping for Lincoln vehicles and scheduling service; the price hasn't been disclosed. Ralph Lauren (RL) and American Express (AXP) are among the U.S. companies that have used a "black label" theme to create a higher-level brand within a brand.
Ford was fortunate in 2006 when it decided to mortgage itself to raise the capital it needed to build new models. When credit markets froze two years later, GM and Chrysler were caught short of cash and unable to borrow. Both companies filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the direction of the U.S. Treasury.
A weakened Ford struggled, too, only recently regaining investment-grade rating for its securities. Now, the company can raise capital at competitive interest rates.