|2013 Lincoln MKZ - Concept|
Lincoln was America’s best-selling luxury brand a dozen years ago (when the brand offered the popular Navigator SUV, the newly restyled Town Car sedan, and the all new Jaguar-influenced LS sport sedans), but has recently fallen in sales and market penetration. During this fall from grace, Lincoln has became the symbol of the senior citizen crowd, which has nearly tarnished the brand beyond repair.
“I don’t think we’re relevant to the core luxury customer,” the head of Ford's marketing department said of the Lincoln brand.
As a result of that damaged perception, Ford nearly discontinued the brand. After all, simply closing the division would have been far simpler than returning it to its former glory. However, Ford is now fully committed to Lincoln, and has vowed that the brand will eventually rival the likes of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Ford is going all-in on its Lincoln luxury brand with seven new models by 2015, but Ford executives could elect to fold the luxury marque if this latest attempt at its reincarnation fails.
The new plan for Lincoln couples "elegant" style, outstanding build quality, and embracing high technology, using the new MKZ hybrid as a case in point. The brand new MKZ hybrid will get 41 mpg on the EPA city cycle, features the My Lincoln Touch infotainment system (think the standard Ford Sync system on steroids), and has unique styling (which is debatable) - although the MKZ (see official Lincoln photos above and below) shares the same front wheel drive platform as the European Ford Mondeo and its virtual clone, the new Ford Fusion that was just released in North America. Not to beat a dead horse, but what Lincoln truly needs is a inspirational "halo" vehicle - a front engined, long wheelbase rear wheel drive sedan - think of something like the timeless 1961 Continental - something that urban music artists and wealthy country-club types both yearn to own.
Otherwise, I think Ford should perform a mercy-killing of the Lincoln brand.
|2013 Lincoln MKZ (Concept) - Official Lincoln Photo|