Auto blogTue, 26 Aug 2014 16:16:00 EST
Remember when we used to talk about how close Lincoln was to being axed and how it seemed any day now the Grim Reaper would use it as a car service back to the grave? Last time we did it was, oh, not even a month ago. What a difference 27 days makes: Ford and Lincoln are trumpeting a $129M investment in the Louisville Assembly Plant that builds the MKC.
In July the MKC was the third-best-selling Lincoln of the brand's six offerings, beat by the MKZ and - by a much smaller margin - the MKX. It has sold 2,895 units in the two months it's been on sale, which is more than half the year-to-date sales of the MKS, MKT and Navigator. It's already important, is what we're trying to say, and this is before the Chinese market gets a crack at it later this year.
The money headed to Kentucky will be joined by 300 new workers, another marker in Ford's march to create 12,000 hourly jobs in the US by next year. You can read more about it in the press release below.
Alright, alright, alright. Easygoing Texan Matthew McConaughey has enjoyed a career renaissance recently with critically acclaimed roles in Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, and the actor has just signed a multi-year deal with Lincoln to become the luxury brand's spokesperson. The first ads starring McConaughey should hit televisions and the internet soon.
McConaughey's campaign has his pitching starting out with the company's pivotal new 2015 Lincoln MKC compact crossover. "Lincoln is an iconic, American brand and I like where they are heading with their transformation," he said in the announcement of the deal. The appears to be really throwing some money into these ads, too. Not only has it hired A-list talent in front of the camera, Nicolas Winding Refn, best known for Drive, is directing the spots.
Of course, this won't be McConaughey's first noteworthy ride in a Lincoln. Back in 2011, he starred in The Lincoln Lawyer, a legal thriller about at attorney would did business out of a 1980s Town Car. The MKC should certainly prove to be a much better driver than that.
The Navigator is not only Lincoln's longest-serving nameplate - dating back to 1998 when the final Town Car was introduced - but it's also the oldest model still in the brand's portfolio. The current Navigator arrived on the market in 2007, and underwent a refresh just a few months ago for the 2015 model year. The updates were subtle, but if you're waiting for an all-new model, it's just a couple of years down the road.
According to Automotive News, Lincoln is already working on an all-new replacement for the current, long-serving Navigator, which will be revealed two years from now in the middle of 2016 as a 2017 model. At that point, we're expecting it could switch (alongside the Expedition) to the new aluminum architecture introduced on the Ford F-150, seeing as how the current model is based on the old F-150.
In the meantime, the refreshed Navigator ditches the big 5.4-liter Triton V8 in favor of a more economical 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and wages war in two wheelbase lengths against the V8-powered competition in the form of the Cadillac Escalade (and Escalade ESV), the Land Cruiser-based Lexus LX and the Infiniti QX80, which is based on the overseas Nissan Patrol.
Recalls! 2014 will be forever remembered as the year that automakers went recall crazy, with millions and millions of vehicles adding up to crush previous recall records well before the end of the year. Adding to that tally is Ford, which announced a call-back for 163,000 vehicles.
Leading that charge are the 2.0-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder engines of the Ford Focus ST and Ford Escape. 160,000 of the 2013 and 2014 models have bad wiring harnesses that can disrupt the signals traveling to the powertrain control module. That, in turn, could lead to a check engine light, reduced power and stalling. Notably, Ford hasn't recalled any other vehicles that feature the 2.0 EcoBoost, such as the Fusion, Taurus or Explorer.
While the Focus ST and Escape constitute the vast majority of recalled vehicles, they aren't the only problem children in the Ford family. 1,300 Transit passenger vans from model year 2015 were recalled due to brake fluid leaks, while another 600 Transit cargo variants were recalled after Ford discovered the windowless sliding doors could come open in the event of a side-impact crash. Dealers will replace the sealing washers on the passenger variants and add a reinforcement plate on the cargo models, The Detroit News reports.
Lincoln has a scent. But unlike those from Mustang, Lamborghini or even Shark by Tara, you can't buy it and you have to visit a Lincoln dealership to inhale its notes of jasmine hedione, mate tea leaves and tonka beans. Essence of Lincoln - that's what it's called - is being piped through the ventilation systems at some showrooms to help "create an emotional connection between the luxury brand and its customers," and olfactorily promote the idea of "luxury and warmth." Where it's not run through the ducts, visitors can sample it on scent cards.
Master perfumer Rene Morgenthaler worked with aroma house SensoryMax to design Essence of Lincoln. Also including traces of Earl Grey bergamot and green tea, whenever you encounter it you're meant to enjoy "a feeling of belonging to an exclusive, forward-thinking group that values style and success." And then buy an MKC. There's a press release below with details and an image to explain more, if you're still having a little trouble smelling the orange blossoms.
Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have issued a recall for some 83,250 vehicles in the US, for an issue with halfshafts. More specifically a "halfshaft retention circlip" might not have been properly installed on affected vehicles, with the result being halfshafts that may move improperly or disengage completely from the linkshaft while driving. The NHTSA release also notes that the issue may occur "without prior warning" which obviously factors in to the timeliness of getting this checked.
Should the halfshaft disengage, a few troubling things could happen. If it occurs while driving, power from the engine will no longer be transmitted to the wheels. And, if the vehicle is parked without the parking brake applied after disengagement of the circlip, vehicles may roll away even if they're transmissions have been placed in "Park."
Affected vehicles are as follows: Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers from model years 2012 to 2014; Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans from model years 2013 to 2014; Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT vehicles from model years 2013 to 2014.
These days, when you buy a new car, it's not unreasonable to expect a certain period of free maintenance to come along as well. Sometimes this is through the life of the warranty, in other cases a little less. But Ford Motor Company is going beyond those deals for at least one part of its cars. As of now, if you buy a set of Motorcraft brake pads for a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury model, you get free replacements for as long as you own the vehicle. The offer is good at Ford or Lincoln dealers and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers.
"We will replace the pads for as long as you own the vehicle," said Elizabeth Weigandt to Autoblog. She did clarify that the Motorcraft pads are generally for models from the '90s or newer. Also, to take advantage of this program, a person must return to the same dealer each time to get the free parts.
Of course, Ford isn't just handing out brake pads to anyone who walks by; there are certain stipulations. First, the components have to be worn down to less than three millimeters to be eligible, and the buyer still has to pay for the labor to install them. If the model is used as a fleet vehicle for commercial purposes like as a taxi or limousine, this offer also doesn't apply; the same thing for racecars. On the plus side, if you recently bought a set of pads from one of the participating locations, you're still in luck. The deal covers parts purchased as of July 1.
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:01:00 EST
Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
Ford Motor Company is announcing a major personnel shakeup that could have a dramatic effect on the future of the Lincoln division. Kumar Galhotra (pictured above), currently vice president of engineering at Ford for all of its vehicles worldwide, is taking over as the president of the luxury brand on September 1, replacing Jim Farley. The automaker is also hiring a new head of advanced engineering.
Galhotra has a huge job ahead of him as the new boss of Lincoln worldwide, overseeing product development, marketing, sales and service. His task is to turn the luxury division into a world-class brand as quickly as possible, and he reports directly to Ford President and CEO Mark Fields.
"These changes underscore our commitment to build on the success of our One Ford plan by accelerating our pace of progress. They also make clear we are serious about Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand and that product excellence and innovation are what will deliver growth and define our entire company going forward," said Fields in the company's announcement.
Ford is announcing six separate recalls for a variety of issues affecting a dozen models and a total of 100,610 vehicles in North America. However, according to Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker, "None of them have caused accidents or injuries." Half of them cover fewer than 1,000 cars.
The largest recall covers 92,022 North American examples (about 83,250 in the US) of some models of the Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, Ford Interceptor, Flex and Lincoln MKT from the 2013 and 2014 model years; the 2012-2014 Edge and the 2014 Lincoln MKX. All of them have a potential issue with the halfshaft on the right side that might not be fully seated and could move outward over time. If it shifts too far, the models may no longer be able to drive, and the condition could also allow the vehicles to roll away, even when in Park. Dealers will inspect the shaft to make sure it's seated and will replace the part if necessary.
The next-largest recall covers 5,264 North American examples (4,867 in the US) of the Ford F59 Commercial Stripped Chassis from the 2011-2014 model years. It's possible that an electrical junction box can corrode in areas with salty roads and short circuit. The problem could potentially cause a fire. Dealers will replace the box with an improved design.