Lincoln dons the Black LabelMon, 17 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST
Lincoln is launching a Black Label service and customization program in December at 32 dealerships across the country in a bid to attract new and more upscale customers.
"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms." – Paul Bucek
The Black Label program will be available on the MKC crossover and the MKZ sedan for $5,995 on top of the purchase price. It includes custom design themes – with colors and materials only available through Black Label – plus free routine service and car washes for four years or 50,000 miles. It will be offered through dealerships in California, Michigan, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Black Label was originally previewed during the week of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Lincoln said it would take more than a year to get the program launched. Though that seemed like a lengthy lead time, Lincoln said it had to upgrade dealerships, train employees and has added more choices to the program.
Lincoln plans to expand Black Label to more dealerships in more states, though they weren't initially announced. The program will also be rolled out across other models, though the price will vary by the vehicle.
The goal is to make buying and owning a Lincoln easier, executives say. The maintenance program includes coverage for shocks, engine belts and hoses, brake pads and linings, wiper blades and spark plugs. Customers will receive a free rental while their car is being fixed. They can also avoid the dealership experience altogether, and elect to have their cars picked up and returned by a remote service when maintenance is needed. Owners can also have their cars washed for free anytime at a dealership.
"We're really trying to simplify for the customer on their terms," said Paul Bucek, Black Label operations manager.
Additionally, customers get a "culinary collection" membership and receive access to a list of 14 selected restaurants in the launch states where chefs will provide a specially tailored dining experience. More restaurants will be added next year.
MKC and MKS buyers can choose from four themes to outfit their cars. Indulgence uses a chocolate color scheme; Center Stage features a jet-black cabin with red accents; Modern Heritage provides a traditional black-and-white setting; and Oasis employs a softer, spa-like color palette. More themes will be introduced as the Black Label program expands.
The cabins will have a custom "Venetian" leather sourced from supplier Eagle Ottawa that will be used for the instrument panels, insides of the doors and center consoles. The leather is different from the kinds used in other Lincolns, and along with the color themes, is meant to differentiate Black Label cars.
"When you get into Black Label vehicles, it most definitely feels more plush, luxurious and upgraded," said Janet Seymour, Lincoln color and materials design manager.
The maintenance program will be extended to future customers who buy a used Black Label car that's still under the four-year, 50,000-mile mark, and Lincoln is mulling over if it will transition the other benefits.
"When you get into Black Label vehicles, it most definitely feels more plush, luxurious and upgraded." – Janet Seymour
"We do expect there to be some kind of privilege for a CPO (certified pre-owned car)," said Andrew Frick, Lincoln's group marketing manager.
The addition of the Black Label program comes as Lincoln prepares to launch new vehicles in 2015 and 2016 under a new leader, Kumar Galhotra, who was appointed president of the brand September 1. Though Lincoln's sales trail segment leaders like BMW and Mercedes, it has increased 14.5 percent this year through October to 76,671 units.
Lincoln Black Label Elevates Craftsmanship, Quality, Service with Unique Luxury Offerings
– The Lincoln Motor Company introduces Lincoln Black Label for customers who desire the ultimate in personal service and luxuriously appointed vehicles
– Lincoln Black Label versions of MKZ and MKC will feature one of four unique interior design themes, showcasing the use of premium materials such as Venetian leather, Alcantara® and designer wood trim
– Thirty-two Lincoln dealerships in six states will be Black Label-certified, providing an elevated Lincoln customer experience
– Lincoln Black Label will provide personalized shopping and special privileges with dedicated personnel in the showroom, online or in locations more convenient for customers.
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 17, 2014 – Redefining what it means to shop for, purchase and own a luxury automobile, The Lincoln Motor Company is delivering Lincoln Black Label.
Unveiling details of a dealer network that offers personalized service as exceptional as the vehicles it sells, Lincoln announced its plan to provide an enhanced shopping and service experience to complement luxuriously appointed Black Label vehicles that surround occupants in premium materials.
When the program launches in December, 32 dedicated Lincoln Black Label dealers in six states will provide showroom space dedicated to serving Black Label customers. Lincoln plans to expand the network nationwide in late 2015.
At launch, Black Label will be offered on the 2015 Lincoln MKZ midsize premium sedan and the 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility. Ultimately, Black Label versions of all new Lincoln vehicles will be available in the U.S. Black Label will be launched in China later in 2015 under the name Presidential.
"Black Label represents a new level of Lincoln luxury in terms of product execution and personal service," said Matt VanDyke, director, global Lincoln. "This combination of elevated service, materials and execution will set Lincoln Black Label apart."
Premium materials meet exquisite craftsmanship
The first generation of Lincoln Black Label design themes drew inspiration from a variety of sources – from fashion and food, to luxury travel and architecture. Each was created to make driving a Lincoln a more personal, emotive experience. Set to debut on the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKC are Indulgence, Center Stage, Modern Heritage and Oasis.
All four interior themes showcase some of the finest automotive materials, including Alcantara®-wrapped headliner, pillars, package tray and accent details; Venetian leather on the seating surfaces, armrests and doors; fully leather-wrapped and stitched instrument panel, console and doors; subtle branding elements with unique Lincoln perforation designs; and elegant trims of crafted woods or woods rare to the automotive industry.
"Our goal is to provide an ultimate sensory experience by creating luxurious environments with a variety of unique color themes that resonate with customers," said Janet Seymour, Lincoln color and materials design manager. "We achieve this by using the most premium materials with meticulous attention to detail."
Eagle Ottawa created Venetian leather specifically for use in Black Label vehicles. Less than 1 percent of raw hides worldwide meet the stringent softness and durability requirements for becoming Venetian leather, making it an exclusive Black Label offering.
Venetian leather, unique for its lightly finished, fine-grained texture, is produced to reveal the natural characteristics of the hide. Its use in Black Label design themes signals a renewed emphasis on the hand-crafted elegance that has long defined the Lincoln brand.
Alcantara is a soft, premium material favored in a wide spectrum of luxury industries including fashion, aviation and marine for its aesthetic and sensory qualities.
Designer woods – which appear on the instrument panel and doors with all Black Label themes – include Black Stripe (Center Stage Lincoln MKC), Onyx (Center Stage Lincoln MKZ) and Argento (Modern Heritage).
All were uniquely created for use in Black Label, with color accents and patterns that complement the design theme. Ziricote, used in Indulgence, is an exotic wood from South America featuring beautiful natural grain, pattern and coloration with no added dyes or stains. Open-pore American Walnut Burl has a natural authentic beauty that harmonizes with the soothing, tonal interior colors of Oasis.
Lincoln Black Label exteriors: Understated elegance
While delivering sumptuous interior luxury, Lincoln Black Label vehicles will feature understated exterior cues.
Customers can choose from a palette of standard exterior colors exclusive to Black Label: Black Tie, Confidential White and Crystal Silver are core colors, and are offered with all interior design themes. Other standard exterior color choices are Chroma Flame, a deep red; Chroma Couture, a rich brown; and Notorious, a vibrant blue.
Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKC Black Label models come standard with 19-inch painted aluminum wheels. MKZ owners can upgrade to 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, while MKC buyers can upgrade to 20-inch polished multi-piece aluminum wheels with premium-painted pockets accented with bright chrome inserts.
All Black Label wheels feature a unique Lincoln insignia on the center of the rim. Unique badging at the rear serves as a subtle callout. A bold, high-gloss black with a chrome "Z" or "C" distinguishes vehicles in the Black Label family.
"The Black Label exterior is purposely understated," VanDyke said. "From the outside, few people might recognize that it is a Black Label vehicle. It's all about comfort on the inside, creating a luxurious experience for the driver and passengers."
Four exclusive Lincoln Black Label design themes
While there are subtle design variances between Lincoln MKC and Lincoln MKZ Black Label themes tied to unique vehicle architecture, Lincoln color and materials designers worked from the same color and material palettes for consistency.
Black Label design themes available on the MKZ and MKC are:
– Indulgence: Inspired by the allure of rich, sumptuous chocolate, Indulgence is defined by Truffle-colored Venetian leather featuring an antiquing process to infuse richness and depth on the seats, doors and armrests. Ganache-colored Alcantara extends the richness to the headliner, pillars and package tray.
Seat leather features an elegant linking-L perforation pattern with black accent stitching. Ziricote wood trim, a material typically reserved for use in yachts and classical instruments, adds an elegant touch on the instrument panel and doors.
– Center Stage: Inspired by the drama of theater arts and fashion, Center Stage includes a Jet Black cabin with Foxfire Red accent stitching on the doors and seats. Jet Black Alcantara headliner, pillars and package tray surround Jet Black Venetian leather seats that feature a diamond-L perforation pattern.
Onyx wood trim in the Lincoln MKZ and Black Stripe wood trim in the Lincoln MKC are equally stunning accents.
– Modern Heritage: Offering a fresh take on a classic black-and-white color theme, Modern Heritage features Jet Black upper door panels with Vianca white Venetian leather seats and center console.
Seat leather is accentuated by an exclusive diamond-L perforation pattern. Subtle Crimson Red accents and Black Argento wood trim on the instrument panel and doors add a dash of elegance.
– Oasis: Inspired by the warmth and serenity of a spa, Oasis leans on Far East influences to create a peaceful escape. The interior features the colors of Oasis and Island for a soft, harmonious environment. Venetian leather seats in the soft Oasis color are accented by a darker Island-colored instrument panel and center console. Oasis-colored Alcantara covers the headliner, pillars and package tray.
American Walnut Burl wood trim appliqués with a natural open-pore finish continue the earth-tone theme on the instrument panel and doors.
A more elegant car-buying, car-owning experience
Lincoln Black Label will provide personalized shopping with dedicated personnel in the showroom, online or in locations more convenient for customers.
A specially trained Black Label experience liaison will meet prospective clients at their home, office or anywhere within 30 miles of the showroom to begin the experience. Acting as a personal shopping assistant, the liaison will help customers identify their ideal vehicle by sharing paint samples, material swatches and wood trim samples.
In addition to these tangible samples, a detailed tablet presentation allows customers to fully understand all that is unique about each of the four Black Label offerings.
"The Lincoln Black Label dealer network is designed to cater to our customers on an individual level," said Kevin Cour, director of sales and service, Lincoln. "The 32 dealers participating at launch have committed to providing a level of service that is as unique as the vehicles they'll be selling."
Lincoln Black Label owners will enjoy special privileges, such as:
• Four years or 50,000-mile extended premium service and maintenance coverage on wear items such as shock absorbers, engine belts and hoses, brake pads and linings, wiper blades and spark plugs
• No-cost rental vehicle while any covered maintenance is performed
• Remote service that lets Lincoln Black Label customers have their vehicle picked up and returned (within a 30-mile radius) while maintenance is performed
• Annual vehicle detailing
• Anytime car washes
• Culinary Collection membership: Black Label customers enjoy access to a curated list of restaurants from coast to coast, with noted chefs who will provide an at-your-service dining experience.
Black Label privileges, upgraded materials and design themes are priced at $5,995.
Building the Lincoln Black Label dealer network
The program launches in dedicated showrooms in December, with Black Label versions of the Lincoln MKZ and Lincoln MKC available for sale. Thirty-two dealerships in Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Florida, California and Texas will have space dedicated to Lincoln Black Label customers.
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About The Lincoln Motor Company The Lincoln Motor Company is the luxury automotive brand of Ford Motor Company, committed to creating compelling vehicles with an exceptional ownership experience to match. The Lincoln Motor Company is in the process of introducing four all-new vehicles through 2016. For more information about The Lincoln Motor Company, please visit media.lincoln.com or www.lincoln.com. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/lincoln.
By Greg Migliore
See also: Ford announces bevy of recalls, 2 of which are recalls on recalls, Ford recalling 205k Edge and Lincoln MKX units for possible corrosion, Autoblog Podcast #403.