Report: Lincoln ‘not true luxury’ yet, says Ford design chief

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Lincoln, Design/Style, Luxury

2013 Lincoln MKZ front three-quarters

Lincoln is “not true luxury,” according to Ford’s design boss, J Mays. His statements come from a story in The Detroit News that saw candid language on the issues facing Ford’s troubled premium brand. Notably, there’s a need for a strong character, with Mays saying, “Every brand needs to have a DNA and a unique selling point and things in the vehicle that make you think, ‘That’s that particular brand.'”

With a range of rebadged Fords, it’s not hard to see why that DNA is missing. Mays hinted that a full recovery for Lincoln will be a ten-year process, that’s been kicked off with the MKZ sedan. While that car is still largely a Ford Fusion under its extremely pretty wrapper, it’s the first Lincoln in some time to inject its own unique take both through the exterior styling and through interior features, such as the vertical, pushbutton gear selection.

Some analysts weren’t so certain about Mays’ 10-year estimate. Jim Hall of 2953 Analytics thinks it’ll be more like 30 years before Lincoln can show a true return to form. The issue, as Hall explains it, is that, “luxury has a degree of exclusivity,” that Lincoln just doesn’t have. Michelle Krebs from Edmunds adds, “it’s definitely a wanna-be luxury brand,” comparing the troubled American brand with Infiniti and Acura, two other brands that have struggled to find their place in the luxury market.

From the language Mays is using, though, it seems that Ford is still rather committed to Lincoln. The MKZ, while plagued by production issues, has been a steady seller, although not enough to prevent an overall drop in 2013 sales for the brand. The eventual arrival of the Ford Escape-based MKC could be a boon to the brand, provided its as unique as the MKZ. Lincoln is also preparing to go on sale in China, a market that has traditionally loved brands unloved by Americans (see Buick), so while Ford’s luxury brand might be down, it’s probably nowhere close to out.

Lincoln ‘not true luxury’ yet, says Ford design chief originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Lincoln ‘not true luxury’ yet, says Ford design chief”

Report: Next Lincoln MKS to get 2.9L EcoBoost, nine-speed transmission?

Filed under: Sedan, Lincoln, Rumormill, Luxury

2013 Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

Lincoln is in serious need of some relevant products, and it looks like help is on the way. In addition to the MKC crossover, which we are almost certain to see in production form this auto show season, Ford’s luxury arm is also working on the next-gen MKS sedan to go on sale in 2015 for the 2016 model year.

According to Car and Driver, the 2016 Lincoln MKS will go on sale in late 2015, and it will receive notable powertrain enhancements like a nine-speed automatic transmission (a product of the joint venture between Ford and General Motors) and a new 2.9-liter EcoBoost V6 to replace the current base engine, the 3.7-liter V6. Not much is known about this new engine other than it is codenamed “Nano” and it could put out around 300 horsepower; the optional 3.5-liter EcoBoost is said to be receiving a bump in power, too. When it comes to styling, we expect a major departure from the current MKS (shown above), and the Car and Driver article has some renderings of the 2016 MKS along with some recent spy shots of MKS test mules.

Next Lincoln MKS to get 2.9L EcoBoost, nine-speed transmission? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Next Lincoln MKS to get 2.9L EcoBoost, nine-speed transmission?”

Report: Lincoln poised to double MKZ Hybrid production

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Plants/Manufacturing, Lincoln

2014 Lincoln MKZ - front three-quarter view, maroon

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has been something of a hit for Ford since the beginning, exceeding the company’s modest projected 15-percent take rate for more than two years (we say “modest” because that still means an overwhelming majority of Lincoln customers are passing up on the gas-electric powertrain even though it costs the same as the standard model). Either way, Lincoln builds 700 MKZ Hybrids at its plant in Mexico each month, but has sold 715 of them in each of the past three months. That’s why, according to a report in The Detroit News, when the restyled 2014 MKZ Hybrid arrives (non-hybrid pictured), Ford is doubling production compared to 2013. Instead of the hybrid model being 20 percent of production, the new hybrid will make up 40 percent.

Ford is doing well with hybrids in general – its portion of the electrified vehicle segment jumping 12 points in a single year to 16 percent. Assuming Ford doesn’t change the pricing strategy (along with the changes Ford is making to calibration to improve fuel economy), the sedan could continue to “[show] other luxury hybrids how it’s done” when it goes on sale later this year.

Lincoln poised to double MKZ Hybrid production originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Jul 2013 14:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Lincoln poised to double MKZ Hybrid production”

Autoblog Podcast #228: Lamborghini Aventador, Lincoln performance, Chrysler profit and loan payback

Filed under: Podcasts, Acura, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Lincoln, Earnings/Financials

Click above for the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes, RSS or listen now!

Podcast Team number one – Chris Shunk, Dan Roth and Zach Bowman – kick it for Autoblog Podcast #228. The crew mulls our First Drive of the Lamborghini Aventador, a Lincoln performance sect, Chrysler’s profit and loan payback and the Forbes worst car list. Your feedback and questions finish it off, and we’ve re-posted the Q&A at the bottom of this post so you can play along at home, too. Thanks for listening, we’ll see you next week!

Autoblog Podcast #228: Lamborghini Aventador, Lincoln performance, Chrysler profit and loan payback

  • 2012 Lamborghini Aventador First Drive
  • Lincoln performance divison rumors
  • Chrysler profit and accelerated loan payback
  • Forbes’ Worst cars on the Road List

In the Autoblog Garage:

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible V6
2011 Ford Fiesta SE Hatchback
2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

Hosts: Dan Roth, Chris Shunk, Zach Bowman
Runtime: 01:26:24


Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes
[RSS] Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly

Feedback:
Email: Podcast at Autoblog dot com
Voicemail: 734-288-8POD (734-288-8763)

Review the show in iTunes and take our survey

Autoblog Podcast #228: Lamborghini Aventador, Lincoln performance, Chrysler profit and loan payback originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 May 2011 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Autoblog Podcast #228: Lamborghini Aventador, Lincoln performance, Chrysler profit and loan payback”

All-wheel drive finds favor with Lincoln buyers

Filed under: Car Buying, Lincoln

2011 lincoln mkz

Audi may be the king when it comes to premium vehicles fitted with all-wheel drive. Lincoln, however, must be taking notes because its customers prefer their luxified-Fords with the four-wheel motion as well. Every model in the automaker’s current lineup is available with all-wheel drive, and lots of folks are checking that particular box on the order form.

It seems 2011 will go down as Lincoln’s assault on four powered wheels. So far this year, 72 percent of MKT customers have opted for AWD while 62 percent of those purchasing the MKX have done the same. Of course, as you move into the automaker’s sedans these numbers begin to fall, which is to be expected. Still, 46 percent of MKS shoppers choose the all-wheel-drive version and a quarter of MKZ sedans purchased are prepped for bad-weather driving.

Let’s not forget the Navigator (yep, they still make it), which gets all-wheel drive 62 percent of the time.

Lincoln is enjoying this shift in consumer desire, as all-wheel-drive vehicles command anywhere from $1,850 to $6,890 extra when compared to their non-AWD counterparts. Full press release from Lincoln after the jump.

[Source: Lincoln]

Continue reading All-wheel drive finds favor with Lincoln buyers

All-wheel drive finds favor with Lincoln buyers originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Apr 2011 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “All-wheel drive finds favor with Lincoln buyers”

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales exceeding Ford’s expectations

Filed under: Car Buying, Hybrid, Sedan, Lincoln, Luxury

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Given that the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is little more than a gussied-up Ford Fusion Hybrid, it’s not surprising that the gas-electric MKZ achieves the same 41 miles per gallon city and 36 mpg highway rating. Admittedly, we were a bit shocked when Lincoln announced that the MKZ Hybrid starts at $35,180 (including destination and delivery) – the same price as a gas-only front-wheel-drive 3.5-liter V6 model. Perhaps that’s why buyers are snatching up the MKZ Hybrid at a rate that even Ford didn’t expect.

Initially, Ford targeted the hybrid version to account for approximately 15 percent of total MKZ sales. However, the numbers show that the MKZ Hybrid’s take rate has averaged between 22 and 23 percent since January of 2011. Ford says that March’s numbers look similar. Through the end of February, Lincoln sold a total of 3,343 MKZ sedans, 762 of which were hybrids. With no premium price tag and gas prices soaring, perhaps nobody should be surprised by the MKZ Hybrid’s take rate. Perhaps the better question would be, is the hybrid model profitable?

Gallery: 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid: First Drive

Photos copyright (C)2010 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Ford]

Continue reading Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales exceeding Ford’s expectations

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales exceeding Ford’s expectations originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Mar 2011 14:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sales exceeding Ford’s expectations”

JD Power’s 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study names Lincoln best brand, Toyota wins most segments

Filed under: Car Buying

JD Power 2011 Dependability Study

J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual Vehicle Dependability Study for 2011, and there are a few surprises in store for those who religiously keep track of who outperforms who on the automotive reliability front. For the first time ever, Lincoln, with 101 problems per 100 vehicles, leads the chart, followed by Lexus with a score of 109.

Number three on the list is also something of a surprise: Jaguar, who’s score of 112 problems per 100 vehicles seemingly proves not all leaping kitties leave unwanted presents outside the confines of their litter boxes. Porsche (114) and Toyota (122) round out the top five. The industry average comes in at 151 problems per 100 vehicles, which of course means that some brands perform rather poorly in J.D. Power’s rankings.

Bringing up the rear in this year’s study is Mini, with 221 problems per 100 vehicles. That’s not good. BMW’s smallest brand is followed by Jeep (214), Land Rover (212), Dodge (206) and Chrysler (202). The study also ranks individual models in each category, and Toyota’s seven individual segment victories gives the Japanese automaker more individual victories than any other brand.

A brief explanation of how this particular study is compiled: J.D. Power polled 43,700 original owners on problems experienced during the past 12 months on 2008 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. As such, this study is not ranking the latest vehicles by any given manufacturer, but is instead intended to help consumers predict the durability of a potential automobile purchase.

There’s lots more detail in the press release and graphs found after the break, so click here and put your number-crunching hats on.

[Source: J.D. Power and Associates]

Continue reading JD Power’s 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study names Lincoln best brand, Toyota wins most segments

JD Power’s 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study names Lincoln best brand, Toyota wins most segments originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “JD Power’s 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study names Lincoln best brand, Toyota wins most segments”

Spy Shots: Lincoln MKT limo does its best private jet imitation

Filed under: Spy Photos, Crossover, Lincoln, Specialty

Lincoln MKT Stretch Limo

Lincoln MKT Stretch Limo spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

Following the death of the Town Car, Lincoln will be prepping its MKT crossover for a variety of livery duties in the coming years. We recently spied an MKT Hearse doing its first rounds of testing, and now our men in the trees have snapped this stretch limousine version of the luxury crossover.

Ford says that its upcoming livery products will be powered by the automaker’s 3.7-liter V6 – the base engine in the standard MKT – with both front- and all-wheel drive configurations available. Obviously, this stretched MKT’s middle body panels are simply in place for the purpose of powertrain and chassis testing, and we have no doubts that the finalized limousine will be nothing short of ultra-luxurious.

Now, let’s just hope Ford offers some sort of panoramic moonroof so glammed-up high school girls have no problem standing up and waving to their friends on prom night. See all three high-res spy photos of the MKT limo in our image gallery below.

Gallery: Lincoln MKT Stretch Limo: Spy Shots

Lincoln MKT Stretch Limo: Spy ShotsLincoln MKT Stretch Limo: Spy ShotsLincoln MKT Stretch Limo: Spy Shots

[Images: Chris Doane/Brenda Priddy & Company]

Spy Shots: Lincoln MKT limo does its best private jet imitation originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Mar 2011 11:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Spy Shots: Lincoln MKT limo does its best private jet imitation”

Report: D.C. council’s Kwame Brown embroiled in Lincoln Navigator scandal

Filed under: SUV, Etc., Government/Legal, Lincoln, Celebrities, Luxury

Kwame R. BrownWashington D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown finds himself in hot water over his choice of a work vehicle. According to The Washington Post, Brown ordered up a fully-loaded Lincoln Navigator L on the district’s dime ahead of his January 2 inauguration, and more than a few eyebrows have been raised at the luxury SUV’s $1,900 per month lease payment. Like most localities, our nation’s capital is facing a sizeable budget shortfall this year – currently hovering at around $400 million.

But it gets worse from there. Brown reportedly demanded a black-on-black Navigator L for his personal use, and when the first vehicle showed up with a gray interior, he insisted the problem be rectified. As a result, Washington D.C. is currently paying to lease two Navigator L models at $1,900 month each, and the one with the gray cabin apparently can’t be returned until October. Additionally, a dealer had to drive the inauguration vehicle from Coldwater, Michigan to Washington, D.C. at a cost of $1,500.

Brown, meanwhile, says that he never intended for the vehicle to be a fully loaded luxury SUV, and that he merely requested a black-on-black model. But The Washington Post reports that emails acquired via Freedom of Information Act requests show that the fully-loaded vehicle was sought per Brown’s specifications. Thanks for the tip, Brady!

[Source: Washington Post | Image: Kris Connor/Getty Images]

Report: D.C. council’s Kwame Brown embroiled in Lincoln Navigator scandal originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Feb 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: D.C. council’s Kwame Brown embroiled in Lincoln Navigator scandal”

Lincoln debuts new MKT Town Car and Limousine

Filed under: Crossover, Ford, Lincoln, Specialty

Lincoln MKT Town Car interior

Lincoln MKT Town Car – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Lincoln Town Car is a the ride of choice for limousine companies and car services around the world. One problem, we’re rapidly approaching the official death knell of the panther platform, and that means that soon enough no more new Town Cars are going to be built. Lincoln is ready to fill that upcoming void and is using the 2011 Internation Limousine, Charter and Tour Show as a platform to debut its MKT Town Car and Limousine.

Comfort is the name of the game with livery operators, so Lincoln has pushed the rear seats of the MKT further back to add 1.5-inches of legroom. The rear seats can also recline and the right rear can access even more legroom by controlling the front passenger seat.

Cargo room is improved compared to the outgoing Town Car. The MKT Town Car offers 39.6 cubic feet of space, which means passengers can cram in more luggage, golf clubs or cases of cheap beer for post prom-night activities.

In addition to the MKT Town Car, Lincoln has an MKT ready to do serious limo duty thanks to a a heavy-duty chassis that can be streched up to an additional 10 feet in length. The MKT Town Car is available with either front or all-wheel drive while all-wheel drive comes standard on the MKT Limo.

Read more about both versions in the full press release after the jump. You can also check out photos of the MKT Town Car’s interior in the gallery below.

Gallery: Lincoln MKT Town Car

Lincoln MKT Town CarLincoln MKT Town CarLincoln MKT Town CarLincoln MKT Town CarLincoln MKT Town Car

[Source: Lincoln]

Continue reading Lincoln debuts new MKT Town Car and Limousine

Lincoln debuts new MKT Town Car and Limousine originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Feb 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Lincoln debuts new MKT Town Car and Limousine”