Lincoln marketer O'Donnell is reassigned to handle Ford EV efforts
O’Donnell was instrumental in launching Lincoln’s reinvention after the demise of the Mercury brand at the beginning of 2011.
DETROIT -- C.J. O’Donnell, Lincoln’s group marketing manager since 2010, has been reassigned to supervise the marketing of Ford’s electric vehicles.
The switch happens at a crucial time for Lincoln and for Ford’s growing fleet of electric vehicles. Lincoln is in the middle of a brand reinvention built around the redesigned 2013 MKZ sedan, due to arrive in dealerships in November.
O’Donnell, 49, has been a key architect of that reinvention, which is built around a new vision for customer service. And the Ford brand is launching a broad electric vehicle offensive aimed at Toyota, the industry leader in hybrids.
Those vehicles include a new nameplate, the Ford C-Max, which is hybrid-only. The C-Max Hybrid, a gasoline-electric hybrid, has just gone on sale. Ford will follow in late December with the C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid. Ford also is launching two hybrid versions of the redesigned 2013 Fusion sedan: the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi. The Fusion Hybrid is already on sale. The Energi goes on sale in early 2013. Earlier this year, Ford began selling the Focus Electric, a battery-electric version of the Focus compact.
“I’ve had a lot of experience launching new products and establishing new nameplates in the market,” O’Donnell said in a statement. “This is a fresh start. We’ve been given a blank piece of paper with the objective of establishing Ford’s range of electrified products.”
Ford has kicked off a distinctive multimedia ad campaign for the C-Max Hybrid. The ads feature white-line silhouettes of the C-Max and Toyota Prius drawn on a blue background along with the La Linea character, who is nameless and doesn't speak.
O'Donnell is replacing Wesley Liu, who is now working for Ford in China as general manager of sales, a Ford spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
Tom Kowaleski, Lincoln spokesman, said O’Donnell’s position will be filled, though he did not give a timetable.
O’Donnell was instrumental in launching Lincoln’s reinvention after the demise of the Mercury brand at the beginning of 2011. Lincoln has introduced a new vision of customer service designed to pamper luxury customers. Lincoln is developing a new curriculum for dealers’ service in cooperation with Les Clefs d’Or, the international association of hotel concierges.
O’Donnell has had a number of sales, marketing and product development jobs with Ford, Mazda, Lincoln and Mercury. In addition, he did a two-year stint as executive vice president of marketing and sales for Jaguar North America and also worked in Great Britain as Jaguar’s global marketing manager.
The Detroit Free Press reported the move earlier today.
You can reach Bradford Wernle at email@example.com.