No More Laughing at Lincoln

Lincoln MKZ concept

The gaping waterfall grille is gone, people, gone. In its place we have the wings of an eagle, inspired by the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr, says Ford. It’s a good change.

And the new Lincoln MKZ concept has earned a lot of praise from those who have viewed it live in Detroit. From the pix we have seen, the car is a stunning departure from the bad old days that Lincoln has been suffering.

It is no longer a rebadged Fusion, but an entirely new car — built on the new Fusion’s platform, yes, but with a different shape, different detailing, different style. The arched roofline and full-length retractable sunroof give the Lincoln an open, airy look. The trunk is truncated; the rear restrained yet Lincolnesque.

I sound like an over-enthusiastic car flack, right? Yet I’ve been one of Lincoln’s harshest critics, and so has mi compadre tgriffith. But the folks at Ford have at last seen the light, read the harsh handwriting on the wall and given us hope.

The MKZ concept is actually going into production “later this year.” Ford chief Alan Mulally noted the car was “very close to what you will see in the showroom.”

Lincoln MKZ concept, rearMulally also called it a “reinvention” of the brand and a way for Ford finally to get serious about the luxury market. Lincoln sales

peaked at nearly 232,000 vehicles in 1990 and have been on a long downward slide—dipping below 86,000 last year. It trailed every volume luxury brand but Volvo last year and had only about a third of the sales of BMW, the biggest seller of upscale vehicles in the U.S.

Lincoln MKZ concept, interiorFord has a good marketing team, and now it will have something unique to sell. It sounds, however, like the company is putting pressure on dealers to shape up and spend money on developing showrooms with… class. A couple of ideas were suggested:

One goal is to place cameras in all dealer service bays so owners can track the progress of repair work.

The process, as Lincoln envisions it, will begin the moment a customer walks into the showroom, with two employees designated to greet anyone who enters.

If I may suggest: 1. Owners of luxury cars are not that interested in watching the repair work take place. 2. No one wants two salespeople bearing down on them when they come in. That is used-car-lot behavior.

Study the practice of Mercedes-Benz dealerships, where the staff is well-dressed, courteous and willing to help—or leave you alone. Now Lincoln has a car that will be sufficiently different from the German stuff to, maybe, start selling.

Are you impressed with the Lincoln MKZ concept’s design features? Which ones?

—jgoods

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4 Comments

  1. As soon as I saw the shots from the detroit auto show I liked it, and as much as I disliked the previous hocky-stick grill. It’s really starting to look more like a very upscale European sports-luxury car. While it may never be an Aston Martin, it is much posher looking than Cadillac.

  2. I applaud Ford! This car looks good. Agree with Bryce, though. The naming convention at Lincoln needs to change.

  3. Have to admit its an improvement,Now when are they going to sort out the names instead of the stupid Mc Donalds crap they have now numbering or letters may work for BMW but its stupid and confusing and MK type cars were some of the worst crap made.

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