Lincoln makes a move with the MKS

It’s now or never for Lincoln to make it’s comeback and the redesigned MKS will help the revival. We’re looking forward to test driving the Lincoln MKS to see the future ride and handling of the Lincoln brand.

From the Detroit News:

Lincoln took another step in its self-described journey back toward luxury car credibility Friday when it allowed the motoring press its first chance to drive the refreshed 2013 MKS.

The full-size sedan has received more than a cosmetic makeover. Lincoln’s flagship got major suspension improvements, including a continuously controlled damping system that had the big car dancing Friday on the undulating roads of Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds.

The new, more refined styling and interior of the 2013 MKS were revealed in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The MKS remains first a luxury car, quiet and well-appointed with all the latest electronic infotainment offerings.

More powerful engines, more efficient brakes and touch-of-a-button suspension adjustments that offer “normal,” “sport” and “comfort” settings put the MKS closer to its competition.

Read the full article here.

  

The limo and private car business will soon be changing

Lincoln_TownCar_01

Every business person is familiar with the Lincoln Town Car, as practically every car service uses it as its base auto. The plush leather seats, roomy trunk and interior and super-smooth ride makes it a familiar oasis for trips through traffic.

This familiarity is about to be disrupted as Ford has decided to discontinue the Lincoln Town Car and the Ford Grand Marquis, another staple in fleet sales.

The Ford Crown Victoria served as the mainstay of taxi and police fleets. Its close cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, could reliably be found idling outside Lincoln Center or waiting to whisk a Wall Street type home for the evening.

But in a little more than a year, both models will go the way of the Checker cab. Ford Motor Company plans to shutter the Canadian plant that manufactures the cars and discontinue the recognizably bulky frame that gives them their shape.

That means the end for vehicles that have come to symbolize the full spectrum of New York life, from private black sedans purring on Park Avenue to the ubiquitous sight of the yellow cab, great equalizer of the varied urban tribe.

“These cars are a facet of people’s everyday experience,” said David Yassky, the city’s taxi commissioner. “Whatever takes their place will have a real and tangible influence on the city’s aesthetic.”

Passengers should prepare for a bumpier, more cramped ride. Forget roomy trunks that fit a French-door refrigerator; the older models are yielding to smaller gas-and-electric hybrid vehicles with knee-bumping back seats and flimsier frames.

The article might be overstating things a bit. Of course, the taxi business is changing rapidly in New York, and some of the new options are certainly more cramped. That said, the process of finding a new vehicle that’s roomy and offers better fuel efficiency should yield a solid replacement for the Crown Vic.

As for the luxury fleet car market, there should be plenty of options. The Lincoln Navigator has plenty of room as a large SUV, and there are plenty of larger luxury sedans that can be substituted for the Town Car. The new Lincoln MKS is a beast of an automobile, for example.

That said, we’re definitely seeing an end of an era. Ford wants to change the image of Lincoln, and they’ll never be able to do that by selling old Town Cars.

  

Lincoln goes after Generation X demo

2010-Lincoln-MKT

As a proud Lincoln owner, I know that they’ve been making great cars for years. The LS was a great vehicle, and the new MKZ is a great sedan as well. The MKS, the new flagship vehicle, is a beast that would satisfy most Lexus buyers with its styling and performance. Now they’ve added the new MKT crossover (pictured above) to the mix.

The marketing message is also starting to sharpen as well, as Lincoln targets buyers in their 30’s and 40’s – the Gen X market.

Generation X, often referred to as the “slacker generation,” has shed that stereotype and now is a coveted consumer group at the top of its earning potential, Ford Motor Co. officials say.

With pockets flush with cash, consumers born between 1965 and 1976 are the target of Ford’s Lincoln brand, which is trying to reinvent itself after years of giving ground in the profitable luxury segment.

“We have an aging owner body, and we have the ability to move it in the right direction and get younger,” Matt VanDyke-marketing communications director, tells Ward’s at a recent media event here.

“To think we could flip over and get young 20-somethings into a luxury product at this point and consider Lincoln is something that I think is too much of a stretch,” he says.

Lincoln brass spent considerable time determining the unique makeup of Gen Xers, which VanDyke defines as being in their mid-30s to mid-40s. Unlike traditional luxury buyers, these consumers don’t want to appear “ostentatious.” Rather, they are “folks that are time-starved and look at luxury as something that makes their life simple and easier.”

How are they approaching this? One is an emphasis on technology. The design of the cars evokes a high-tech feeling that bears little resemblance to older Lincolns, yet it’s not as edgy as the recent Cadillac designs so boomer buyers should feel comfortable as well. The other part of the strategy involves music. The campaign’s TV spots feature music that the Gen X group finds nostalgic. The ad for the Lincoln MKS features a remake of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” while the ad for the Lincoln MKT uses a version of the 1980s classic “Under the Milky Way,” by Australian alternative rock band The Church. Check out a clip of the video below.

The strategy makes sense. I remember the Cadillac ad several years ago featuring the Led Zeppelin song. Music can help to reposition a brand, so Lincoln seems to be on the right track.

  

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