Ford launches ad blitz to revive Lincoln sales

Updated 04 December 2012
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Ford launches ad blitz to revive Lincoln sales

DETROIT: Ford Motor Co. will try to generate interest in its upscale Lincoln vehicles with an ad campaign that draws on the brand’s heritage and includes its first-ever Super Bowl spot.
The campaign features a 60-second TV commercial that opens with an image of an actor playing Abraham Lincoln, the US president after whom the brand is named.
The second-largest US automaker is also relaunching the brand under its original name, the Lincoln Motor Co.
“This is how Lincoln started. This is how we will become great again,” the automaker says in print advertizements that will appear in major newspapers and online media.
Chief Executive Alan Mulally as well as Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing chief and new head of Lincoln, will mark the launch at an event in New York’s Lincoln Center Plaza on Monday.
Two decades ago, Lincoln was the top-selling luxury nameplate in the United States. But in 2011, its vehicle sales were just 85,643 — less than half the amount sold by Lexus, Toyota Motor Co’s upscale brand.
Ford is determined to show a different side to a brand that has developed a musty image over time. The goal is to attract younger, more progressive buyers by offering more personalized service, glossier showrooms and fresh designs.
By the end of the month, dealers will receive the 2013 MKZ sedan, the first of seven new or refreshed Lincoln models that will be launched by 2015. Ford is also laying the groundwork to launch the brand in China, to take advantage of a growing appetite for luxury cars in the world’s largest car market.
The automaker is reworking the service standards for its roughly 325 US Lincoln dealers, taking cues from boutique hotels as inspiration. Ford is providing perks such as “date nights” to people who test-drive a Lincoln car.
The MKZ competes with Cadillac’s CTS and the Lexus ES.
Initially, Ford sought to set Lincoln apart from the Ford brand in its US marketing strategy, not unlike the distinction between Volkswagen AG and its top-tier Audi brand. But Ford’s successful turnaround under Mulally could revive interest in the brand, executives said.

“Traditionally, in North America, you try to hide your mainstream brand, but every wealthy person in America knows what happened to Ford,” Farley said in an interview in Beijing in August. He took on charge of the Lincoln brand on Dec. 1.
“That’s not to say we’re going to make Ford a huge part of the marketing, but we’re also not going to hide it,” he said.
Some analysts and executives have expressed skepticism about the brand’s prospects. In an interview with The Detroit News last year, General Motors Co. Chief Executive Dan Akerson said Ford “might as well sprinkle holy water” over the brand.
But Ford’s smaller rival, Chrysler Group LLC, has benefited from its iconic Super Bowl ad in 2011 that featured the tag line “Imported from Detroit.”
The 2013 Super Bowl game, the most heavily watched annual event on US television, will be broadcast by CBS Corp, which is selling 30-second ads for as much as $ 4 million.
Ford decided not to advertize during the 2012 National Football League championship game, although its rivals GM and Chrysler did.


Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

Updated 21 May 2018
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Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

AMMAN: Jordan’s cabinet on Monday approved major IMF-guided proposals that aim to double the income tax base, as a key part of reforms to boost the finances of a debt-burdened economy hit by regional conflict.
“When only 4 percent of Jordanians pay (personal) income tax, this may not be the right thing,” Finance Minister Omar Malhas said in remarks after the cabinet meeting, adding the goal was to push that to eight percent. The draft legislation was submitted to parliament.
The IMF’s three-year Extended Fund Facility program aims to generate more state revenue to gradually bring down public debt to 77 percent of GDP in 2021, from a record 95 percent.
A few months ago Jordan raised levies on hundreds of food and consumer items by unifying general sales tax (GST) to 16 percent — removing exemptions on many basic goods.
In January subsidies on bread were ended, doubling some prices in a country with rising unemployment and poverty among its eight million people.
The income tax move and the GST reforms will bring an estimated 840 million dinars ($1.2 billion) in extra annual tax revenue that will help reduce chronic budget shortfalls normally covered by foreign aid, officials say.
Corporate income tax on banks, financial institutions and insurance companies will be pushed to 40 percent from 30 percent. Taxes on Jordan’s phosphate and potash mining industry will be raised to 30 percent from 24.
The government argues the reforms will reduce social disparities by progressively taxing high earners while leaving low-paid public sector employees largely untouched.
“This is a fair tax law not an unfair one,” said Malhas, who shrugged off criticism the law is lenient on many businesses connected to politicians whose transactions are not subject to tax scrutiny.
Husam Abu Ali, the head of the Income and Sales Tax Department, said a proposed IMF-recommended Financial Crime Investigations Unit will stiffen penalties for tax evaders. Critics say it will not tackle pervasive corruption in state institutions.
Abu Ali said the government could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars through tax evasion, which is as high as 80 percent in some companies.
The amendments lower the income tax threshold and raise tax rates. Unions said the government was caving in to IMF demands and squeezing more from the same taxpayers.
“It is penalizing a group that has long paid what it owes the state,” the unions syndicate said in a statement.
“It imposes injustice on employees whose salaries have barely coped with price hikes rising madly in recent years.”